In order to save both the planet and the human race, society needs to take action and adopt sustainable practices and approaches. The embedded modes of operations and encultured human behavioral patterns are under attack and radical changes are required, to ensure a future that provides sustainable living conditions. Through employing various teaching and learning strategies, educators aim to convert the student’s approach and encourage personal awareness that would stimulate responsible sustainability thinking and design. This paper explains how behavioral patterns can be changed through our teaching and learning approach thus contributing towards an environmentally responsible design culture and society.
The paper will reflect on a green design project, introduced to third year interior design students over the past three years. This project aimed to fulfill three objectives – inform students of the sustainability agenda, promote environmentally responsible actions and encourage sustainable thinking practices in design. The teaching and learning strategy employed for the project, focused on a student-centered approach. This approach was considered most suited since it aimed to change or transform not only the student’s daily behavioral patterns but also the attitude of the community in which they operate as citizens. This response was possible if the students could experience a deeper learning process, personal growth, a degree of flexibility and an opportunity for personal reflection.
The paper will include feedback from the students and describe the wider impact that the project had on the immediate student and university community. The critical reflection will further discuss both successes and shortcomings of the project and contemplate the project’s contributions to shaping a young designer’s understanding, actions and design approach.