chapter  9
Fundamental Skills
Developing Social Literacy Through Practice-Based Learning
WithLee Davis, Mike Weikert
Pages 4

The principles, processes, and skills required for public interest design go beyond those of any particular design discipline and differ based upon several variables, including context and the nature and scale of social problems. Public interest design education therefore needs to be contextual, empathic, flexible, fluid, reflective, responsive, and open to exploration, risk-taking, and constant iteration. However, across the myriad of public interest design programs (including those explored in this chapter) there are common themes, universal sensibilities, mindsets, and experiences that are critical for students to be exposed to and to integrate into their practice. There may be no single correct or comprehensive list of “core competencies,” but all public interest design pedagogy needs to be guided by at least two fundamental principles: (1) developing among students a deeper social literacy for understanding the social world as well as a framework and set of tools for thinking critically about the complexity of social problems and social change; and (2) exposing students to real-world problems in real contexts with real people through an authentic and immersive practice-based learning experience.