2009 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., April 21, 2009
HUB Ballroom

Session Description



Constructive discontent: Using Creative Thinking Methods to Teach Interdisciplinary Courses

Amy Lambert (College of Forest Resources, UW Botanic Gardens)

“…it was challenging and difficult but it really changed the way I think about what people say and things I see, social and political ideas I took for granted.”

What happens when a student struggles, confronted with unfamiliar concepts or difficult subject matter? Some students are like deer caught in the headlights of oncoming traffic, frozen, unable to move. This moment of hesitation is particularly pertinent in courses that emphasize interdisciplinary study across multiple fields and practices. Students who find themselves stuck are also quick to judge their capacity to understand new or alternative disciplinary perspectives. How can the feeling of discontent, struggle, being stuck, also be constructive? Teaching practices that incorporate creative thinking methods can help students suspend judgment about their ability to learn and provide them with strategies for integrating interdisciplinary knowledge.

I will be presenting a conceptual framework for using creative thinking methods based on several interdisciplinary courses that I designed and taught as a graduate fellow in UW Bothell's Project for Interdisciplinary Pedagogy. I will be drawing from examples of students work in courses such as Public Art and Ecological Restoration, Feminist Art and Global Climate Change and Drawing from Life.



Index of Symposium Presenters