A niche graduate degree program called Designing Education jointly developed by Miriam College (MC) and Goldsmiths, University of London under the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)-UK linkage was formally launched recently at the Miriam College-Henry Sy Sr. Innovation Center.
Niche program for Filipinos
Designing Education is a unique dual awards graduate degree program made possible by the efforts of CHED and the British Council as they brought together Philippine and British school institutions to develop niche programs that otherwise would not be available for Filipinos in the country.
Designing Education fuses education and the theory of design thinking—a design process that uses empathy, ideation, and experimentation to come up with human-centered solutions to complex problems.
Sofia De Guzman, one of the students of the program who is also currently teaching Senior High School students at Miriam College, shared how, several weeks into the program, she experienced "productive failure" which led to developing a designer's mindset.
"We have learned more about empathy, optimism, and ambiguity from the activities. The program does not simply push us to attain another degree in graduate school but is designed to guide us in finding inspirations and ideas so we could create prototypes that will truly have an impact on teaching and learning," De Guzman said.
She belongs to the first cohort of students taking up the niche program. She, along with 11 others—mostly teachers, are set to leave for London in May for a study tour.
The program has two components, a Master of Arts in Designing Education or MADE, and a requisite Philippine-based post-graduate Certificate in Designing Education or PGCERT that will be taken up at Miriam College.
Part of the unique learning context of the program is a 10-day London-based field study and expert mentoring, 60 credits of recognition towards a full British master’s degree, and a three-month immersion in the UK while pursuing the master’s degree.
Developing a culture of design thinking
"We want to cultivate a culture of design thinking among teacher education institutions that will directly influence the practice of education in schools and, ultimately, in Philippine society," said Miriam College President, Dr. Rosario O. Lapus.
"We have chosen to partner with Goldsmiths University of London because we have a common vision of education - one that puts creativity, wonder, and initiative at the heart of the learning process. The program is called Designing Education, for the soul of the program lies in human design: it brings the focus of education back to the learner," Lapus said.
The venture is anchored on both institutions’ shared culture of teacher education; Goldsmiths, in its expertise in fusing design and education, and in Miriam College’s 93 years of expertise in the area of education, as well as on its recognition as a CHED-designated Center of Excellence in Teacher Education.
Apart from the Designing Education program, the two schools are also partners in SOAP or the Summer Overseas Attachment Program.
Miriam College is now on its third year of sending select high school students to Goldsmiths where they can truly immerse themselves in design thinking-based projects and learning activities and use it as a framework for understanding innovation and developing creativity. The program allows them to visit various industries in the UK that implement the framework.
"We hope that this exciting partnership will help inspire and equip teachers looking to introduce design thinking into the K-12 curriculum. Alongside our partners at Miriam College, we look forward to providing Filipino educators with resources and pedagogies that support risk-taking and creativity through a design-led approach to learning," said Patrick Loughrey, warden of Goldsmiths, University of London.
Goldsmiths is one of the world’s leading institutions for Arts and Humanities in the UK and has a rich heritage of producing alumni that have had a huge impact on the "creative industries." Its roster of esteemed alumni include fashion designers Mary Quant and Vivienne Westwood, filmmaker Steve McQueen, composer Adrian Sutton, and artist Damien Hirst.
The goal of Designing Education is to innovate the way schools and institutions design their programs, curriculum, instruction, and learning spaces among others and the way they educate students. It aims to rethink, re-design, and revitalize education so that it addresses the individual needs of the students, and at the same time prepare them for any challenges that they will face as they enter the fourth industrial revolution where technology breakthroughs may disrupt existing practices.