Design Thinking in Schools: I need your problems

If you could solve one problem facing education what would it be?


Take whatever comes to mind first or take a moment to ponder, then subject your problem to “the 5 Whys”. Here is an example.

Problem: There is not enough time for teachers to do their job properly

  1. Why do teachers not get their job done in the time they have? Because doing everything required by the school takes longer than there are hours in the day
  2. Why does the school require teachers to do so much? Because they feel under pressure to increase exam results.
  3. Why do schools feel under pressure to focus on exam results? Because that is what they are measured and judged on.
  4. Why are schools measured on exam results? Because other measures are difficult to gauge and compare.
  5. Why are other measures not developed?

First problem: Teacher Time

Real problem: How schools are measured


This process is better when someone else asks the why questions, if you can take your initial problem to someone else and get them to quiz you, please do. You may need to back up a couple of times to get through 5 whys, once you have I would be delighted if you could add it here.

What now?

Solutions will be posted to you within 5 working days… If only! Education tends to tweak what it already has and look for marginal gains, not least after the British Cycling team inspired the use of that phrase in 2012. In the spirit of moonshot thinking, what if we stopped looking for 10% (I know, you wish! But stay with me, think outside of exam results) improvements and looked for 10x improvements in education? Time to throw aside the status quo and start from the beginning.

This can only work if you start from a really huge worthwhile problem, hence I am farming them from you. Finding the real problem is not easy or something that everyone does naturally. We take immediate problems we encounter at face value, this is both genetic and in our nature. Why stick around to find out why someone is angrily charging at you? Some schools are moving past the superficial problems and taking root problems. Schools with a laser focus on curriculum design, designed for learners not inspectors, design by teachers, not civil servants would be one example that comes to mind first. I see a place for inspectors and civil servants in the education space too.

How might government and regulatory authorities incentivise long-term planning and innovation in schools?

I want to gather together education problems, real problems, because understanding these makes ideas much easier to develop. I want to gather together these problems to feed into sessions we run with schools on the use of educational technology. I want these problems so I can reflect on who is best places to solve them.

I also wouldn’t mind writing them up into a follow up to this post too.

Please post your problems, real problems! to this link

Thanks for reading/sharing