Blog Post #5: Design Perspectives (Week 7 Assessment EDDL 5111)

This week, I’ve been asked to consider how I might incorporate a different theoretical lens or worldview in my design practice. Are there any changes or adaptions I need to make to my way of thinking?

I really enjoyed reading the different persepctives this week, but for this week’s post I wanted to focus on LaFever’s (2016) article “Using the medicine wheel for curriculum design in intercultural communication.”

I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical when I started the article, my Eurocentric bias crept into my brain and pushed the thought, “how could the medicine wheel be as important as Bloom’s taxonomy?” Boy, was I wrong! LaFever interweaved the concept of the medicine wheel into a format similar to what I’ve worked with before using Bloom’s taxonomy and after I finished reading it, I was convinced that the traditional taxonomy that I use (and many post secondary school systems) is lacking a very important fourth part: spirituality.

When I first read, “spirituality,” my mind immediately went to “religion,” which I believe isn’t a pillar that belongs in public education systems. LaFever’s definition of spirituality in terms of education made a lot more sense and I realized that I do a lot of it already in my classroom – I just didn’t have the terminology to talk about it.

These are three quotes that I found very insightful in the article:

  • “Learning is about being aware and in sync with these rhythms
    and pace rather than trying to force change” (LaFever, 2016).

    • This made me think about the importance I place on metacognition in my design practice. I believe that it is important to dedicate time and space in learning to sit and think about what it is you are learning. 
  • “Therefore in post-secondary education this might mean paying attention to internal feelings of well-being and attention to finding life’s purpose, rather than only to getting a high grade point average” (LaFever, 2016)
    • This was the terminology for spirituality that I felt I was missing in my design practice even though it permeates through my teaching philosophy. I think it’s extremely important to use learning as a tool to reflect on an individuals greater purpose. When I teach my Happiness Unit with my English 12s, I reiterate often that the purpose of this unit is for students to reflect on what actually makes people happy and use that to guide their plans for after high school. 
  • “the concept of honouring is about being present and aware of one’s own thoughts and feelings without making judgements about being right or wrong, as well as being open to learning from new experiences” (LaFever, 2016)
    • This I feel is such an important idea, especially in higher learning and especially in the current social climate. Ken Robinson makes a fantastic remark in one of his TED talks about how children have this wonderful trait of never being afraid to be wrong and that belief is drilled out of us by the time we get to secondary school. He says, “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” Incorporating spirituality into our design practice may be a way to deconstruct this learned habit of fearing failure. 


LaFever, M. (2016). Using the medicine wheel for curriculum design in intercultural communication: Rethinking learning outcomesPromoting Intercultural Communication Competencies in Higher Education [link to]

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Thanks Anna! I focused on this article as well and found myself very appreciative at Lafever’s ability to reconcile traditional western thought with traditional Indigenous thought. This, to me, demonstrates a clear path for Indigenizing content and goes a long way in the process of educational reconciliation. I too will focus on spirituality in my content design. I appreciate your honesty regarding your skepticism and euro centricism!


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