DTS, Professional Development of Teachers to promote Design Thinking Skills and Academic Success of Students


The Professional Development of Teachers to promote Design Thinking Skills and Academic Success of Students project aims to increase the academic success of students, support the professional development of educators, and empower teachers/trainers/educators with resources used to teach design thinking skills.

Design thinking is a learning approach that focuses on developing students' creative confidence. Design thinking includes many elements such as thinking, developing empathy, promoting action-oriented prejudices, directing thinking, developing meta-cognitive awareness, being active, problem-solving, and using your imagination. The design-oriented thinking process begins with the definition of a problem. It involves researching and ranking often-competing priorities. It tests how applicable multiple solutions are with prototypes and ends by socially evaluating objects (Davis, 1998). Considering that the most important factor in individuals' lives is creative problem solving, design thinking is a highly functional approach to finding innovative solutions to complex problems.

Design thinking supports students' critical thinking, social development, teamwork skills, and academic performance. It increases students' academic performance by contributing to students' understanding, identification, and analysis processes.

Many studies found that low academic levels and grades are strong predictors of school drop-outs. According to the data obtained from the European Commission, over 46 % of young people are at risk of social exclusion since the education system has not successfully prepared teachers and trainers with high performance to provide their learners with practical and authentic skills.

To correspond with this, learners lack guidance and applicable life context skills, which are creative thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration skills, so they are left with few options like early school drop-out. Low academic success is one of the variables that can predict school drop-out alone. Low academic success leading to school drop-out damages individuals’ self-esteem and creates a loss of control.

In line with all these requirements and the data (COE), there is clearly a gap in teachers' academic success in preventing early school leaving by providing their learners with applicable skills and guidance. This project will bridge this gap through training modules based on design thinking skills.

The project aims to increase teachers’ academic success by supporting the professional development of educators, empowering teachers/trainers/educators with resources to teach design thinking skills, equipping teachers with a design thinking mindset, facilitating the adoption of design thinking educational practices, strengthening the capacity of educational authorities, policymakers, and decision-makers to promote and mainstream design-thinking educational practices, and decreasing early school drop-out.

Basic information

Country: Bulgaria, Italy, Portugal, Turkey

Coordinator: ISTANBUL MILLI EGITIM MUDURLUGU, http://istanbul.meb.gov.tr

Programme: Erasmus+

Project Acronym:

Target groups: primary school students, secondary school students, teachers

Topic: Education

Start year: 2021

End year: 2023

Url: https://dts4teachers.eu/

Contact person: Michela Tramonti, m.tramonti (at) eu-track.eu

The research activity focused on defining the project's theoretical framework, aiming to develop a sound methodological basis for building design thinking skills among teachers and students in primary and secondary education.

The aim was to draw up the instructional support content targeted at the educators and provide the necessary how-to good practice instructions to allow them to integrate the proposed learning methodologies and tools into their already well-developed instructional practices.

This supports educators in bringing design thinking into the classroom and helping them adapt project solutions to formal and non-formal learning activities.

The project activities aim specifically to:

  • help instructors understand the benefits of design thinking for learners and teachers;
  • facilitate the smooth adoption of the proposed design thinking educational practices into secondary education activities;
  • build awareness of the effects of design thinking skills on early school leaving and dropouts;
  • act as a reference library of text and video-based content for the project’s digital services and tools.


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