Using design thinking to explore teaching problems in Chilean schools

Bravo, Úrsula; Cortés, Catalina; Lloyd, Peter and Jones, Derek (2023). Using design thinking to explore teaching problems in Chilean schools. Reflective Practice, 24(6) pp. 784–805.



Educational systems face increasingly complex demands, confronting teachers with multidimensional people-centred problems rarely solved by linear or standardised solutions. Nevertheless, teachers must juggle multiple variables simultaneously in their daily work. This can lead to routine and unreflective decisions that do not consider unique situations. Considering that designers’ abductive reasoning could support problem-framing skills, this article discusses how a design thinking approach can contribute to developing reflective teaching practice. This case study explores how 20 Chilean teachers define, frame, and re-frame their pedagogical problems in a design-based teacher professional development programme. Findings revealed three problem-framing triggers that support teachers’ reflection: (a) collaborative discussions, (b) aware- ness of people and their context, and (c) visualising, making, and testing ideas. Combined, they articulate action and promote reflection, demonstrating the value of a design thinking approach in supporting teachers’ pedagogical decisions.

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