Joseph Albers and Education

Folding paper has led to my discovery of Joseph Albers and his ideas about teaching. The more I read about him the more I like him. The article Experimentation, Not Replication by Oliver Barker is a great article that clearly articulates the teaching philosophy of Joseph Albers.

“For me education is not first giving answers, but giving questions. And if a student comes to me with a question, I consider if very carefully whether I should answer him or not. When I give him the answer to an execution, then I take away from him the opportunity to invent it himself and discover it himself.”-Josef Albers

As a design educator I have been trying to decide how to educate the next generation of designers in a world that is requiring a higher and wider level of skill within the limits of a four year degree. One solution that is often suggested is to make the degree longer but I have come to the conclusion that a degree is not a point of arrival, it is just a push start. There is no way to provide all the skills and information that a student seemingly needs and so instead of delivering a fixed set of skills, the delivery needs to develop students with an adequate set of skills and the ability/flexibility to gain the skills as they need them.

Design education cannot be a series of “paint by number” projects that produce artifacts without understanding.

Design education cannot be a series of “paint by number” projects that produce artifacts without understanding. As a teacher I need to be open to student solutions that I have never seen.

What do you think about the current state of design education? What is necessary for a graduate to create a successful career in todays world?

This entry was posted in Design Education. Bookmark the permalink.