Transformation issues in the teaching of architectural design



Architecture & Built Environment


  • vulnerable groups, thinking skills


As a teacher of architectural design in the first year of the Bachelor of Architectural Studies degree at the University of the Witwatersrand, I found that the attrition amongst certain groups of "previously disadvantaged" students was noticeably higher than amongst white students. It became my focus to empirically adapt my teaching to try to facilitate the potential for a successful outcome for all students.

This paper describes the course before 2009, the pedagogical interventions that were made from 2009 to 2011 and the course outcomes. The interventions mainly consisted of practical reorganization, building up cognitive skills and academic behaviours. Current research should reveal whether or which interventions may have influenced the improved throughput.

DEFSA conferences

DEFSA promotes relevant research with the focus on design + education through its biennial conferences, to promote professionalism, accountability and ethics in the education of young designers. Our next conference is a hybrid event. See above for details.

Critical skills endorsement

Professional Members in good standing can receive a certificate of membership, but DEFSA cannot provide confirmation or endorsement of skills whatsoever. DEFSA only confirm membership of DEFSA which is a NPO for Design Education in South Africa (