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Design and technology developing critical and creative thinking

03 Mar 2019

Albert Einstein once said that: “Creativity is intelligence having fun”. Our goal at Huili is to give our pupils the necessary technical knowledge, practical design skills and a better understanding of the working world around them, while still allowing them every opportunity to develop their creative instincts by having fun with art and design. Huili approach to teaching art and design revolves around a “design cycle” of developing both practical and creative skills and aptitudes. This way, pupils are always improving their ability to look at any proposed project or subject material in a practical, critical manner while at the same time remaining excited about the creative opportunities it offers. We feel that this kind of critical thinking is essential for helping pupils become adaptive to new problems and opportunities that they encounter, which is a skill that is extremely useful for their future academic and professional lives. Both the art and design elements of the curriculum encourage pupils to communicate their ideas, thoughts, and feelings through the creation of engaging pieces of work that are meaningful to them. They experiment with a range of media, materials, and techniques, as well as new media and technologies.

We believe that exposing pupils to this variety of media and stimuli helps them to develop imaginative, creative and personal responses, leading to highly expressive and accomplished pieces. The Elements of Design and Technology Design at Huili is split into three distinct elements, all of which inspire individual pupils in different ways. The way we have designed the curriculum allows for each pupil to engage with each of these elements to see what inspires them to think both critically and creatively. These elements are: 1Resistant Materials Resistant Materials provides a practical understanding of materials such as woods, metals, plastics and smart materials.  The aim of this part of the course is to allow pupils to extend and master their understanding of the physical world, which will lead them to creating exciting products of their own, such as furniture, jewellery, and even replica buildings.

2Graphics Graphics develops an awareness of the importance of communicating and modelling. This is essential for helping pupils understand how to explain, illustrate and promote their ideas for a concept or product. This in turn builds an awareness of how such skills can be employed in careers associated with developing industries like digital marketing and advertising, game design and graphic design.

3Systems and Control Systems and Control has three areas of knowledge:

  • Structures – Exploring the physics and structural elements of design.  This enables pupils to progress in fields such as civil engineering.
  • Mechanisms – Understanding the basis for allowing complex mechanism to work. This opens up the exploration of robotics and mechanical engineering.
  • Electronics – Investigating the control elements for a computer-based system to interact in the physical world.  This can lead to areas such as biometrics and electrical engineering.

A sneak peak of our current projects Every project and practical piece of art and design work that the pupils undertake is directly linked to the required skills and standards they will need to attain in order to succeed at IGCSE. Again, we aim to marry practical knowledge with creativity and fun, so that our pupils are truly inspired by the idea of designing and creating something for themselves.
  • Grade 4 project – Sensational: Pupils will be creating works of art that will have elements that utilise the senses making Art inclusive and help pupils to understand how we can build a better experience of persons which are disadvantaged.
  • Grade 5 project – Sustainability: Pupils will be understanding how to apply the 6R’s of sustainability and how this can impact upon their immediate environment causing a positive change and become leaders in the environmental revolution.
  • Grade 6 project – Origami clocks: Pupils will be learning about the different types of plastics and understand how they impact upon the environment.  They are then to create clocks which modernises the traditional method of origami.  They will be using a commercial production methods.
  • Grade 6 project – Bacteria: Pupils will be visualising bacteria in a beautiful way as demonstrated by Charles Clary.  We will be using tools and colours to decorate the Science department and present the feeling of grown and beauty.
These are just a couple of the many different projects which are designed to spark an interest in design learning and manufacture. The employment of kinaesthetic activities are crucial in developing a healthy creative, competent mind. Combining critical and creative thinking in art and design Every element of Huili’s art and design curriculum is designed to give pupils sufficient scope to think critically and creatively about each project and task that we set them. We want our pupils to be instantly excited by the prospect of creating something that is both unique and entirely meaningful to them. By providing them with the chance to explore art and design in this manner, we believe that they are also exploring themselves – an invaluable process which will hopefully inform their creative process and enable them to weigh their future career options with increased confidence and success.