K. Woolley, E. Granberg

Virginia Commonwealth University (QATAR)
How do you teach a subject that is both artistically complex and conventional? Helping a student communicate complex design solutions requires teachers who can assess competencies, plan instruction, and blend investigative techniques with conventional standard-based decisions. This paper describes the relationships between teaching strategies that adapt to students’ performance of architectural drafting techniques while expanding the notion of ‘exploring’ and ‘investigating’ in order to gain a deeper understanding of real-world applications. Utilizing a constructive theory approach, we ask teachers to discard normalized habits of mind and become more critical of their ingrained assumptions concerning:
1) How we introduce the task,
2) How we adapt teaching modules to fit student behavior, and
3) What expectations we have for content mastery.

In an architectural drafting course for second-year interior design students at an international university in Qatar, we utilized a teaching method with a feedback loop strategy which emphasized mastery of essential concepts rather than merely focusing on completing class assignments. Lesson plans were analyzed and calibrated to respond to students’ individual learning abilities and supplemented with classroom activities of videos, tutorials, invited guests, and motivational discussions. The result was a course tailored to the explicit proficiencies of the student; one not only taught from a mastering competencies approach but also from an exploratory method. It allowed the freedom to be “content flexible” and draw upon the diverse knowledge and experience of both instructors and students.