About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6693-6700
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain

BUILDING KNOWLEDGE AS AN ANTIDOTE TO ORIENTALISM. THE EXPERIENCE OF A COURSE OF HISTORY AND THEORY OF DESIGN AT THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF SHARJAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

M. Jaime

ALHOSN University (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
The course "History and Theory of Interior Design: Regional Issues" of Spring 2013 (IDE 224_S13) had never been given before at the American University of Sharjah. For this first time there were three main problems that had to be overcome: One scientific, one pedagogic and one cultural.

1) Scientific. The first and biggest problem was that the matter knowledge is not consolidated yet: there is no specific Middle Eastern history and theory of design, as design is a quite recent discipline and it has been studied mainly stressing its western roots and development. Thus the class, formed by students from the region, started researching on their own experience (local traditions, dwellings, dressing, ornament, rituals, domestic issues, etc.) Simultaneously, a series of lectures, workshops and readings covered Iran’s "modernization" during 20th century and the changes in regional domesticity through the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries in cities like Cairo, Tehran and Istanbul. This triple side strategy gave a quite comprehensive view of regional issues related to current design.

2) Pedagogic. The second difficulty of IDE 224 was that students did not have enough formal research skills. For this it was implemented a workshop on scientific research skills intertwined with normal class sessions. These workshops focused on the students course projects.

3) Cultural. Dualism is the worst enemy of reflexive learning (DEWEY), and Orientalism (SAID) is noting but dualism applied to global culture. A critique of Orientalism (a notion unheard by all IDE 224_S13 students) helped to overcome the natural tendency to think that history is already written. The evidence of the misrepresentation of their own lives and realities in conventional western historiography was an incentive for IDE 224 students to write their own history and to theorize about their lives and works.

Following the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) a wide variety of methodologies were used in the course: Internet navigation, lectures, workshops, collaborative learning, peer assessment, class presentations, interviews, problem solving, discussions, videos, class reading, invited lecturers. The experience was evaluated by the students both qualitative and quantitatively, making clear that the outcomes of the course had been accomplished and even surpassed: not only precedents were discovered as a source of inspiration and the diversity of roles and cultural dimension of design were understood, but the relationship between personal work and historical traditions and the application of precedents got concrete examples on students' works that transferred knowledge from this “theoretical” course to their practical design studio project. This sort of transference is what defines, in Ken Bain’s opinion, truly deep learning. In the work of Ken Bain (founder director of the Centre for Teaching of Vanderbilt University) we can find explanation for the great results of this course: intrinsic motivation (and not grades and careers aspirations) was the fuel of the beautiful and academic useful works developed by the students of IDE 224_S13 at the American University of Sharjah.
@InProceedings{JAIME2014BUI,
author = {Jaime, M.},
title = {BUILDING KNOWLEDGE AS AN ANTIDOTE TO ORIENTALISM. THE EXPERIENCE OF A COURSE OF HISTORY AND THEORY OF DESIGN AT THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF SHARJAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES},
series = {6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN14 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-0557-3},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {7-9 July, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {6693-6700}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Jaime
TI - BUILDING KNOWLEDGE AS AN ANTIDOTE TO ORIENTALISM. THE EXPERIENCE OF A COURSE OF HISTORY AND THEORY OF DESIGN AT THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF SHARJAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
SN - 978-84-617-0557-3/2340-1117
PY - 2014
Y1 - 7-9 July, 2014
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN14 Proceedings
SP - 6693
EP - 6700
ER -
M. Jaime (2014) BUILDING KNOWLEDGE AS AN ANTIDOTE TO ORIENTALISM. THE EXPERIENCE OF A COURSE OF HISTORY AND THEORY OF DESIGN AT THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF SHARJAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, EDULEARN14 Proceedings, pp. 6693-6700.
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