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Learning to Design

A halfway there update on the 14000hours Catalyst Program

· taking action
The 14000hours Catalys Cohort 1

The 14000hours Catalysts workshop follows the principles of design thinking. We aim to tackle real-world problems, connect with parents and educators across the United States, and always bias towards action.

Design thinking is about empathy. It’s about asking questions, listening, ideating, and prototyping. According to Stanford’s d-school, it’s also rooted in a belief: Everyone has the capacity to create. We agree.

Uncovering the Roots of Anxiety

After a brainstorm of concrete examples of what stress and anxiety look like in the lives of kids, we mapped the symptoms and causes against Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs. We aimed to identify the triggers that lead to anxiety in our schools. 

Learning Design Thinking

Design starts with a problem statement. Our group shared a common constraint. All have limited hours to work with students. So we identified a relevant problem statement: how might we design a program for K-12 adults who have limited student contact time so that they can help reduce stress and anxiety for students?

How might we design a program for K-12 adults who

have limited student contact time so that they can help

reduce stress and anxiety for students?

We learned the design process (see the key phases in the graphic below.) We interviewed each other, empathized with different perspectives, and practiced ideation. We also heard from two inspiring individuals: Linda Inlay and Rebecca Coda.

Shared Ah Ha’s

Our guest presenter Rebecca Coda shared her philosophy: ask the student. Rebecca acknowledges the power that comes from understanding what students want and asks them: “How can I help you?” She wrote a book on listening to student voices.

Sarah Wintermeyer is a teacher and the founder of a different type of SAT/ACT prep company: Trio Prep. She starts every conversation with a student acknowledging the purpose of tutoring but asking the student to go deeper. “I know your parents may have asked you to do this, but what do you want to get out of our time together?” She wants the student to find their own why and own their aspiration to go to college.

Rebecca and Sarah play different roles in students lives, and live in different cities. But they both focus on putting the student first. They ask: how can I help you? This is just the tip of the iceberg; a few ideas amongst many emerging from our first cohort of problem solvers aiming to reduce anxiety in schools. 

With Gratitude

We are so appreciative of our inspiring cohort of parents, teachers, entrepreneurs, and administrators. In eight hours they have uncovered roots of anxiety in children and practiced the principles of design thinking. Next week, we’ll prototype solutions.

We’d love to stay in touch. Please subscribe to our newsletter for more reflections, ideas, and opportunities to get involved. There will be another cohort of 14000hours Catalyst this fall, too!

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