During Term Three 2014, Years 4, 5 and 6 implemented the ‘Design Thinking Process’ into the teaching of a Unit of work in Religious Education incorporating Immersion, Synthesis, Ideation, Prototyping, Feedback and Feedforward. Students and teachers participated in active discussions, purposeful research, exploration and rich learning experiences. The construction of each grade’s Learning Wall was developmental, building as the enquiry process unfolded. Students became a group of learners, discovering, recalling, remembering, recollecting and reconnecting what they had experienced and learnt together. They continually had the opportunity to scaffold their thinking, refine what they had been exploring, use hexagons to connect their ideas and create relationships between elements of what they have learnt and experienced together. Students framed a “How might we…” question that was worth exploring further, something authentic and purposeful where they could apply their learning to make a difference. It was an authentic opportunity to apply what had been learnt to purposeful enquiry.
In reviewing the units of work after 5 weeks of implementation, the staff agreed that the ‘Design Thinking’ process had led to increased levels of student engagement in Religious Education. There was also consensus amongst the Teachers that deep learning had occurred, as evidenced by student interviews and the depth of their questions and answers. It has brought Religious Education alive for the students at Bankstown.
In 2015, the Religious Education program will draw on the Design Thinking Process from K-6, whilst still being faithful to the requirements of the Sydney Religious Education Curriculum. The Design Thinking Process engages the students in an authentic learning experience that enhances student engagement. It draws upon contemporary methods of teaching and where appropriate, other subjects might draw upon the richness of the Religious Education Program. It promises to be an exciting year at St Felix.
Religious Education Coordinator
St Felix Catholic Primary School