For five years (2017 - 2021) I taught Human Centred Design at the Academy of Design in Sri Lanka. First it started as Language of Design, and I changed the curriculum to reflect what the true language of design is - empathy.
The first semester is about analysing yourself. Second semester is looking outwards to understand others. They are meant to do deep research, find insights, create concepts, and then execute an idea. Over the years, they have created books, candles, board games, campaigns, and posters based on these two briefs.
There is a certain set of rules when I teach a class:
Don't talk when I'm talking - I will either glare or throw things at them (never to injure).
Don't be late - If you are going to be late, let me or classmates know.
Do the work.
Find out things I've said or did that my former students remember.
I teach them:
When to say 'no' and when to say 'yes'.
How not to be an asshole.
To always base your actions, thoughts, and words on kindness.
To listen to POVs that don't agree with.
How to relate to themselves (empathise) when I show different POVs.
To always remember that the stubborn ones, the rebellious ones, the assholes, and the ones you just don't like have a story. They're people too.
Setting the environment:
I create a community within the classroom based on non-judgement and trust.
I don't show surprise or shock in my face when they reveal something sensitive.
Things I remember saying:
Kill your darling.
Make money out of your pain.
I encourage them to:
Think beyond the normal.