As the curriculum coordinator and dean of faculty at Flint Hill School in Oakton, Emily Sanderson has been hearing buzz about a popular new approach to learning called design thinking.
The course, which has origins at Stanford Business School, made sense to Sanderson to teach at the high school level.
"Everyone needs to be able to research and think critically," said Sanderson.
Design thinking is "a process of creative and critical thinking that allows information and ideas to be organized, decisions to be made, situations to be improved and knowledge to be gained," said Charles Burnette, design educator and a founder of design thinking.
Sanderson's course, which will be taught for the first time this year at Flint Hill School, is available for students in the upper school, grades nine - 12.
She will take a model of design thinking as a way to approach the world and open innovative ideas. "In a high school age life, their real life problems can be in our building," Sanderson said. "So we can take a physical space such as the library and apply design thinking."
The library, as a space, helps expand their understanding of the school: How do you look to other people? What does it look like for other students? Learning can happen anywhere, but what does it need to look like to meet the work flow needs of our school?
The students in Sanderson's class this coming semester will collect data and figure out what to do with the space, ultimately communicating their findings to the administration and board of trustees.
"This could all be an intellectual exercise, but it empowers students to tackle something that is real life," Sanderson said.
Flint Hill School, a private school for grades K - 12, is located at 3320 Jermantown Rd, Oakton. 703-584-2300