the skills of listening to others becomes as important as making clear statements/ the good listener has to respond to intent, to suggestion, for the conversation to keep moving forward/ the difference between the two terms is not a matter of either/or. the heart of it all lies in picking up on concrete details, on specifics, to drive a conversation forward. Bad listeners bounce back in generalities when they respond; they are not attending to those small phrases, facial gestures or silences which open up a discussion.

Dialectic: the verbal play of opposites should gradually build up to a synthesis (…) the Aristotelian notion that although we use the same words, we cannot say we are speaking of the same things (..) the aim is to come to a mutual understanding (…) the listener elaborates the assumption by putting it into words (…) in the Socratic notion, the echo is actually a displacement

Dialogic: first coined by Mikhail Bakhtin to name a discussion which does not resolve itself by finding a common ground (…) though no shared agreements may be reached, through the process of exchange people may become more aware of their own views and expand their understanding of one another (..) knitted together but divergent exchange (…) a dialogic conversation can be ruined by too much identification with the other person.

Excerpts from Richard Sennett’s book, Together: The Rituals & Politics of Cooperation, 2012, London: Penguin Books (pages 18-20)

Image available here

Unraveling the relationship between learning and reflection


a deep approach is where the intention of the learner is to understand the meaning of the material/ a surface approach to learning is where a learner is concerned to memorise the material for what it is/ between the two there is a continuum with an hierarchy of stages:

  • noticing: representation is reproduction
  • making sense: representation is coherent reproduction
  • making meaning: representation is of ideas that are integrated and well linked (beginnings of deeper approach)
  • working with meaning: representation is reflective, well structured and demonstrates the linking of material with other ideas which may change as a result
  • transformative learning: representation demonstrates strong restructuring of ideas and ability to evaluate the processes of reaching that learning

REFLECTION has a role in the deeper approaches/ we learn from representing learning/ we upgrade learning/ Reflection:

  • slows down activity, giving the learner time to process
  • helps the learners to develop greater ownership of the learning material
  • it encourages meta-cognition
  • works with materials that are complicated and ill structured and helps students improve their cognitive ability



Moon, J., 2001. PDP Working Paper 4: Reflection in Higher Education Learning. In LTSN Generic Centre, full article available here

Image is Kolb’s circle Experiential Learning concept (1984) available here

Profiling teachers in the DS



  • experienced designers but only rarely expert educators
  • teachers are not trained as teachers and rarely receive thorough, relevant feedback regarding their teaching performance/ design teachers, like other educators in academic institutions, are appointed on the basis of their professional knowledge and skills and receive all but no training as teachers
  • they bring knowledge, professional skills, theory in use, personalities, values and their understanding of their role
  • Quayle classification: instructor as source of authority/ as facilitator/ as “buddy”
  • Webster classification
  • Uluoglu reports that 47% of the design teachers in several schools consider their educational (pedagogic) capacity to be the single most important factor in their work
  • Schon: the studio master tries to figure out what the student understands/ constructs a dialogue in the media of words and performance/ tries to make interventions matched to the student’s understanding

Using linkography*, Goldschmidt examines three cases of teacher-student interaction during a crit. Her conclusions are that the teachers:

  • must navigate among categorical action priorities that suit the student’s needs and his or her own tendencies
  • must raise issues and sustain ideas at both a general and a specific level preferably while demonstrating and modeling for the student what can be done and how
  • must do everything without making the students feel that the teachers are designing their project for them
  • issues raised must be made relevant to students by tying them to students’ concepts
  • must give examples
  • must not put pressure on students to come up with “correct” notions
  • must not let the student feel that they know sth the students don’t have access to
  • coaching seems to be the most fruitful strategy in this sample of investigation



Goldschmidt, G., Hochman, H., Dafmi, I., 2010. The design studio “crit”: Teacher-student communication. In Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Deisgn, Analysis and Manufacturing, 24, pp. 285-302, doi:10.1017/S089006041000020X

Image available here

Linkography: is a notation and analysis system that treats links among protocol units. It is based on the premise that the proportion and distribution of links among units, and in particular, units that are highly interlinked with other units, are indicative of the quality of important characteristics of the situation under scrutiny

Theory of Man-Environment Relations, by Irwin Altman


Four philosophical models of the human:

  1. mechanistic model: the human as a task-oriented organism, understood and described only in relation to the task at hand/ human as a passive agent merely enacting the designer’s plan of use and having no agency
  2. perceptual-cognitive-motivational model: the human as an ‘internal processing organism’ with subjective traits
  3. behaviorist model: this focused on external human actions in the environment instead of internal thoughts and feelings and intentions. (it does not identify however with Skinner’s operant psychology)/ Altman classifies here all action-centric and interactionalist descriptions of human engagements with the environment without excluding intentions and motivational states
  4. ecological model: declared human behavior and environment a mutually constituting, dynamic ensemble/ Behavior itself, in other words, resided in the relation between the human and social and material contexts/ this model promoted an agentive understanding of the human/ Altman also emphasized its model’s utility for establishing a common ground among social scientists and designers thus cultivating the conditions of interdisciplinary collaboration/ it offered a reconciliatory mechanism between the unit and the whole, the small and the large scale, analysis and synthesis, thus urging scientists and practitioners to “surpass the provincialism of their parent professions”



Vardouli, Th., 2016. User Design: Constructions of the “user” in the history of design research. In 2016 Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference, 27-30 June 2016, Brighton, UK

Image available here

Integral approach to education

Four QUADRANTS: behaviors (reading, writing etc)/ experiences (imagination, intuition, insights) / cultures (shared meaning, group values) / systems (program curriculum, rubrics, policies). They can also be seen as the various modes of interaction and ways of knowing the world


twelve commitments of IE


twelve ways of knowing

Four LEVELS: four general levels of altitude that occur in each of the quadrants (traditional, modern, postmodern, integral)


Wilber’s color chart

It is important for Integral educators to continually ask themselves how to teach in a way that could help their students transform vertically toward post-rational modes of being.

Kegan: five developmental levels: 2-6, 6-teens and teens & beyond, self-authoring, integral (being able to synthesize many different value systems)

Four LINES: While there are lines of development in all the quadrants, there are at least four main developmental lines within an individual’s interior that Integral Education should take into consideration: cognitive (objective reals, sensory input, perspective talking, interconnections between phenomena), emotional (subjective realm, feelings and impulses, sensations, phenomenological awareness), moral (intersubjective realm, interpersonal obligations, duty, compassion), and kinesthetic (somatic and physical realm, physical sensations, hand-eye coordination, bodily movement)

Four STATES: By working actively with various states, the transformative space of the classroom can be increased dramatically. gross-waking states that take physical reality as its object; subtle-dream states that takes the subtle realm as its object; causal-formless states that takes vast openness as its object. The fourth category is witnessing states, which can take any state as its object and witness it

Four TYPESsensory styles of learning/ personality styles of learning/ gender styles of learning/ preferred narrative styles of writing



Esbjörn-Hargens, S., 2007. Integral Teacher, Integral Students, Integral Classroom: Applying Integral Theory to Education. In AQAL: Journal of Integral Theory and Practice Vol 2, No. 2., pp. 72-103.

Image 01 available here, Image 02 available here, Image 03 available here

Integral Theory


Integral Theory

  • is a post-metaphysical approach to knowledge synthesis that is based on the AQAL (all-quadrant, all-level) framework, its five elements (quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types), and Integral Methodological Pluralism
  • provides a comprehensive means of integrating the four dimension-perspectives of objectivity, interobjectivity, subjectivity, and intersubjectivity with the major methodological families in such a way that avoids postulating pre-existing ontological structures/ IT assigns no ontological or epistemological priority to any of these elements because they co-arise and “tetra-mesh” simultaneously
  • is interested in the participatory relationship through which multiple ways of knowing the myriad dimensions of reality occurs through various methods of inquiry
  • is designed to offer an effective means to combine the best of both conventional and alternative approaches in a particular form of Integral Education/ it claims that if an approach to education excludes any of the following components, it falls short of a truly integral approach.
  • provides an effective template to design pedagogy, classroom activities, evaluations, courses and curriculum

ALL QUADRANTS: basic perspectives an individual can take on reality/ ALL LEVELS: occurrence of complexity within each dimension/ ALL LINES: the various distinct capacities that develop through each of these levels of complexity/ ALL STATES: temporary occurrence of any aspect of reality within the four quadrants/ ALL TYPES: refers to the variety of styles that aspects of reality assume in various domains.


References + Image

Esbjörn-Hargens, S., 2007. Integral Teacher, Integral Students, Integral Classroom: Applying Integral Theory to Education. In AQAL: Journal of Integral Theory and Practice Vol 2, No. 2., pp. 72-103.