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The Year 9 DTM class - a new way of learning and thinking


This year we have begun a Year 9 course that approaches learning in quite a different way. The 9DTM class aims for students to experience learning in all their core and chosen subjects, and to also experience learning using the Design Thinking Framework focusing on future focused skills and learning to learn.

This learning class and the teachers focus on coming up with solutions to problems and challenges that impact others using the Design Thinking framework, a framework that places people and their experiences at the centre of a solution. They do this on a Tuesday, “DTM Tuesday”, when they have a time tabled day to work through these challenges.

“I have been inspired and challenged as a teacher by the connections I have made with the staff in other learning areas. Both teaching and learning are enriched when we work this closely with others. We all truly are developing our growth mindsets and learning so much in this class!”

This term our focus has been on understanding what empathising with the people who are most affected by the problem or challenge means and looks like. Olivia shared:

“It’s hard to remember to word your questions right and not make assumptions. The empathising stage is hard, you really have to put yourself in someone else's shoes.”  

As a team, we’ve also worked to make connections with other learning and the UN Sustainable Goals.

The DTM Tuesdays have allowed us to head out into the community. We used the Kollective building to explore different perspectives, learnt to take notice of our surroundings and empathise with others, and our community. As well as this, the class have worked together to repurpose filing cabinets to hold their work, prototyped designs for a new class layout, explored ways the school pool could be better utilised by the whole community, tackled the challenge of having the DTM course represented on the school website, the challenge of creating our own sustainable goal around Language, Culture and Identity and the challenge of designing what Term Two will look like for this class. These challenges and possible solutions have all been worked through by the students themselves.

There have been struggles as we all learn how to collaborate together and, as learners, the girls have had challenging moments. The framework was initially foreign to them and learning to understand it was hard. Their resilience, curiosity and honesty in these challenging moments has been fantastic to watch. 

 “Not giving up has been a challenge,” says Ella, “but we keep going.”

Jess sums her term up by saying:

“When I started [the DTM class] I was really nervous about what I was doing; stepping out of the ordinary scared me. I like the new way of thinking. I am learning everything everyone else is plus more everyday. These skills, such as empathising, are setting me up for the future.”