I used to laugh at how many products used to use football as a theme for their advertising when it was completely unrelated. As a fan, sometimes it helps to use such a great sport as a way of teaching!
Whilst travelling up to York this weekend I attempted to tune in Talksport radio station to catch up on the pre match chat and started to think about the frustrating life of a football fan. For some, it is more frustrating than others, for those that regularly witness success, to those that carry on attending each week paying to watch their side get a kicking! Anyway, many things go through my mind during long journeys and I got to thinking about how I tune in each time an England game is on, how much I enjoy the hype in a build up to a tournament and then they fail to deliver. As I appear to have a childlike brain sometimes, my thoughts were swiftly interrupted and off in a different direction. I started to think about design, teaching and the current state of the subject.
To warn you, I am going to continually switch between the two topics, I'll probably be slammed for it being poorly written but these are just the ramblings of somebody who likes to think they have a little common sense and logic...
England has always been a big player at a world level, we complain that we don't perform nowadays due to too many international players at our clubs, yet will still pay an extortionate amount of money for them. Our governing bodies want us to be number 1, want us to compete on the world stage yet explain that it is a problem at grass roots level and the only solution is to invest more into promoting and developing our younger players, better facilities, management, opportunities and support.
Supporting a team can be like being involved in a department, you're only as good as the motivation, management, team work, ability to take risks and support structures in place. Some years you have a 'blinder' and some you won't but the best results come through enjoying what you're doing, bettering your knowledge, ability and of course experimentation. You want to best prepare your 'players' for the national game (their futures) yet quite often nowadays, the expectations are that the players are not best prepared or ready to perform at that level.
Our governing body wants our country to be number one in design and creative industries, naturally, a similar solution of investing at grass roots level would be the obvious solution. Things will not change over night, in a week, month or year. Supporting design and creative subjects and teachers with promotion of importance, need, development, facilities, access and training is surely the most obvious way forward.
To me, the same principles and methods should be applied to both? Does that not make sense? Is that not the obvious solution that stares you in the face?
Imagine our Olympic athletes, footballers, rugby players etc being expected to become number one, in the world, by reducing time for training, removing facilities due to cost, removing experienced support, sending money away to invest in other countries training and production, forcing other professionals into a position where they feel the need to slam and talk down the importance?
Anyway, as I said, ramblings....
I love my job, I love teaching children to avoid fixation, to spot and solve problems, improve accuracy, apply maths, science and other subjects. I enjoy teaching them about patience and an iterative design cycle. I love seeing the reaction and satisfaction to overcoming nerves and learning new practical skills and processes. In one of the only subjects that evolves every minute, I love to be a learner too, experiencing new technologies and techniques, trying to 'keep up', seeing the look that I imagine was on my face, when children first witness 3D printing, laser cutting, vinyl cutting, or rotation of a 3D CAD model! I feel fortunate that I am teaching and learning at a time where social media has enabled me to network, share ideas, solve problems, travel nationally and internationally, and even meet many, many professionals within design.
If I'm honest, I don't think the problems are at a grass roots level in design, they are way up high by those that control education, those that are so far removed from education that I'm surprised they can even see us! To become the driving force, which I believe we have the potential to do, will take a little common sense and a massive change of approach from above. Who says my subject is not 'important'? Who is it not 'important' to exactly?