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Title: How children design : observational study of children's design process
Authors: Lo, Kwok Yin Angelina
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2020
Abstract: Educators and parents have met obstacles and challenges in nurturing creativity in children after almost two decades of education reform. There is a missing link between adult expectations and children's motivation. To address this missing link, this study started with interviews with twelve visual art teachers and school principals who identified obstacles and challenges to children's creativity. The obstacles lie not only in the discrepancy between education policy and practice but an overemphasis on product over process during which children create and design. By process, the researcher refers to children's understanding and identification of problems, ideation, materials exploration and externalization of ideas, typically found in the act of design and make. The focus of this research study is on such a design process. For a comprehensive investigation, the study conducted firstly, a review on relevant theoretical and conceptual research around different views of a 'child', children's roles in the design process, children's design ability and literacy, and design processes of adults and children. Secondly, a mixed method research approach was adopted for a three-part empirical study that explored how children conceived design (1057 research subjects); children's design process as co-experienced and reported by their parents (10 families); and children in action as they undertook an adult-non-directed Design Task (nine 9-year-old children). The literature review was synthesized into a Conceptual Framework and an Observation Framework. The verbal, visual and textual data gathered through qualitative and quantitative tools offered multiple angles to answer the research question of 'How children design?' Findings reveal that most children conceptualize design as a process and/or a product that is motivated by human intentions and efforts to alter, add and anticipate changes for desired results. During an adult-non-directed design process, although children differ in their problem identification, starting strategies, ideation, sequences of actions, choice of materials and ways to externalize or evaluate ideas, findings reveal some common characteristics in their observable behaviours. Their design processes are non-linear, non¬≠procedural, concurrent and improvised with "think-while-tinker" behaviours. Ideation through three-dimensional model construction with materials, not drawing or sketching, is the intuitive and dominant way among the children in the design process. The significance of this study is a closer and deeper understanding of children's design process that has implications for future teaching strategies in children's creative learning. There is a need for a shift in adults' directive role to a designer's role to shape learning experience and environment that foster children's design ability and literacy. This study opens potential opportunities for future observations and longitudinal studies of children's design process in other sociocultural contexts, genders and age levels.
Subjects: Creative ability in children
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Pages: xx, 330, [66] pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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