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  • Writer's pictureMaggie

Lessons Learned

Updated: Jul 15, 2019

What students say about Design Thinking and Civic Change:

Collected from students' responses in Maggie Favretti's high school public policy class, called "City 2.0 : Redesign for Equity, Sustainability, and Resilience" These students were seniors.

Students' favorite quotes of the year: “Leaders who don’t listen will soon be surrounded by people who have nothing to say,” and "it's much easier to fill a need than to create one"

Learning about learning :

*Trust Your Process! I learned that it’s important not to jump on a solution idea right away. That it is important to observe and be mindful before having your heart or mind set in an idea. --Rothberg '16

*Get started right away, but don't jump into a solution before you know the problem!  You need time to fit everything into your schedule and still be able to change your ideas.   Everything is a process, and if you skip a step you will get cluttered and then everything is a struggle.  --Nicholas   '17

*I love ideation.  You think it is silly, but it really gets you to think outside of the box.  Now I use it to solve all kinds of problems.   –Marini  ‘16

*It wasn’t until I started drawing things out and building that many of my ideas came out. I did not know that I was so visual before.   --Cohen  '17

*Failure has always been a fear of mine. During this process, I came to realize that failure is a stepping stone to success, and to embrace it. I also learned that creating with my hands is an effective way for me to brainstorm.  --Gee  '17

*I am learning that I am not as patient as I thought I was. I have never really had a project go completely wrong, especially after weeks of planning the project and having everything ready to go. It is a weird feeling that I have not experienced before and it is hard to accept it.  

--Esteves '15

*I learned that even though a project might not start off how you would like it to in the beginning, you still have to give it time and be patient. I learned not to let one setback ruin my motivation to keep working.      --'16 Segale

*If I were starting over knowing what I know now, I would say, ‘enjoy the mistakes.’  I made so many, but that was when I really learned.      --Coard  '16

*It’s amazing how one little insight can change the whole direction of a project.   --Coard

*I usually felt overwhelmed by the big projects this year, but found that if I just broke it down and did a little of the process at a time, I could handle it.      --Zurkow   '15

*Seeing how happy the kids were looking at their creations made me feel accomplished on my part. I hope to help others in the future.   --Segale '15

*Now i go around in my daily life thinking of design and saying “oh but what would happen if we do something differently here?” and in my head i visualize something changing and i think about this. --Rodriguez '17

*I feel like I would have gotten more out of the experience if I just calmed down and focused myself on the present. --Sonnenfeld '15

*In this project I learned that I like myself better when I get involved. It may be scary and uncomfortable to put yourself out there, but it feels great when you take a chance and it pays off; better than not taking a chance at all. With this project I learned that community participation is key to making change and a city without participation or involvement from its citizens will have a difficult time implementing new ideas or innovating new plans to better the community. -- Selber '16

*I grew after hearing a negative review of my idea from Ms. Yokana.  It was hard to hear, but made me realize that I needed to understand how things work in the real environment.

–-Barlow ‘16

*I am a much more innovative thinker now.  I did not think it was possible to change the way you think.  -–Wasserberger  ‘16

Learning in the "Real" World:

*We learned that choosing the "right person" to approach for an interview on the street doesn’t exist. Everyone who lives in New York can express their opinions and has a unique view on every issue. The ideal person to interview is whoever is sitting next to you.    

--Behar '15

*I never realized that so many people eating in soup kitchens are not ‘homeless and crazy.’ Once I started to really listen to them instead of my stereotypes, it totally inspired me to work harder on the project.     --Coard  '15

*Our global allies gave us the idea for the lighting when they said that, “although security is not a problem, they also have lots of lights in their parks.”     --Nicholas   '16

*When interacting with the real adult world, I have learned that they expect a different kind of courtesy and respect from kids or our teachers. I still need to learn to give the adult nearly constant eye contact during an interview. After high school, I will use this skill for job interviews because being polite can really impact someone’s decision.    --Kass '16

*If I could give myself advice for this project, I would say to do as much field research as possible and interview many people because although John Herrold gave us useful information, we only had one opinion for a while after our interview with him. I would also tell myself to ask more questions    --Kass  '16

*...we did not seek as much community participation as we should have done, and our project was much weaker than it could have been. We really learned the hard way that it is much easier to fulfill a need than to create one. That’s a very good business lesson going forward.

--Johnson '17

*I think I should be more careful about the time I take to get back to people for example with Josh Surgeon I missed my window for his help and had to find another expert opinion.

--Lionti '17

On Teamwork and Collaboration:

*The only way to find out if you have a talent for something is to try it first hand, and allowing your group members to step outside of their comfort zone and try something may help them find a new talent they never thought they had.  This is what my group did for me. --DeNelsky '18

*You just can’t go halfway in this class and expect someone else to pick up your slack.  ….I no longer want to work in groups with my friends.  I now prefer to work with kids with whom I can be friendly but have no outside of school social connection.  It gets rid of the personal relationship problems, expecting others to pick up your slack, and makes you more independent. -- Kutik  '17

*My team taught me that there are a lot of ways to look at things—not just mine.

Sometimes you just have to work hard and see what happens….I did not know him at the time, but I was paired up with Mike.  I would have preferred to be paired with someone I knew, but it was out of my control. That was one of the best things that happened to me this year, because I made an amazing friend that I will stay in touch with beyond high school.  --Johnson '16

*I learned leadership in this class that I didn’t know I had, and now I use it in other classes and situations, too.  –Schepis  ‘16

I learned that I work well with others, especially if I haven't met them before.  

--Takashima   '17

*...if I instead encourage other people to come up with the plan or first idea, projects could head in directions that are unexpected for me. This would open my mind, increase my creativity, and make a more exciting workspace.  --Cohen '17  

Have fun!!  Learn a lot!!  Change the world around you!  'Bye

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