Developing Pedagogical Solutions to Linguistic and Cultural Barriers in Design Education

Developing Pedagogical Solutions to Linguistic and Cultural Barriers in Design Education Supporting Asian Architecture Students

Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) Innovation and Development Grant

2016 - 2018: Gu, N. (Chief Investigator), Lee, J.H., Ostwald, M.J., Taylor, M., Burry, J., Tucker, R. and Drogemuller, R.

Project Summary:

As international students form a large part of the student cohort in the globalised tertiary education system, design educators face complex linguistic and cultural challenges in their studios and critique systems. To advance learning and teaching in this context, this project aims to improve understanding of the needs of Asian design students, focusing on the impact of language in design, and to develop systems, protocols or information to better support international students’ learning.

The project conducted series of design experiments and focus group interviews with key stakeholders across five Australian universities. Findings from the design experiments and interview data generated new knowledge about design students’ design communication and cognition in the studio, which are influenced by their native language and culture. The findings were then combined to shape the advice in the Good practice guide. A four-part framework for supporting linguistic and cultural diversity in architectural and design education was used to develop the guide through a series of national and international workshops. The guide contributes to the development of design curriculum and studio assessment that take into consideration linguistic and cultural differences with the purpose of effectively supporting the learning of design students. The adoption and extension of the project outcomes in Australian architectural and design schools is facilitated by the project team and their network, and further reinforced with the support of professional bodies and submission to accreditation standards. The pedagogical reforms can be considered to better prepare the Australian design education sector for internationalisation and increasing global collaboration.