Design Thinking in Teacher Education: Preparing Engineering Students for Teaching at Vocational Schools
Abstract: The paper discusses design thinking as a conceptual framework and methodological approach for empowering the teaching agency of STEM students who are preparing for a career as vocational school teachers. Our pilot study, a workshop on curriculum development, lesson planning and instructional techniques with engineering students, reflects the specific traits and current challenges of vocational education in the German dual mode system. We analyze and reflect upon the conceptual development, facilitation and evaluation of the workshop. We give a detailed overview of workshop concept, workshop results and workshop evaluation data. Practitioners and researchers alike will find this article a valuable source for contemplating the effectiveness of design thinking in teacher education. While our case study is situated in the particular context of preparing future vocational school teachers within the German education system, the resulting concepts are applicable to other populations. Design thinking can enrich teacher education by allowing students with little prior teaching experience and career changers to experience their agency as inventors in the classroom laboratory, thus creating both excitement and appreciation for the art of teaching.