OLT Innovation and Development Grant:

Developing pedagogical solutions to linguistic and cultural barriers in design education supporting Asian architecture students

Office for Learning and Teaching, Austrian Government, 2015-2017

Students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds contribute significantly to Australia’s social diversity and economic prosperity. However, the modes of teaching and assessment used in architecture and design may not be meeting the needs of these students. The assumption that design is a universal language has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years. Despite the efforts of architectural educators to accommodate linguistic differences, very little is known about the way in which languages shape the thought processes that occur during design. The research aims to develop an understanding of how linguistic characteristics correlate to design activities. In addition, the project aims to improve our understanding of the specific needs of Asian design students, focusing on the impact of language and associated embedded cultural and value structures in design.

Language, as a system, is a reflection of the way we think and of our sociocultural values, both of which are central to the process of design. Hence, the architecture student’s experience of design is mediated by language.