Why graphic design learning is important stems from my own disassociation to English and Math learning, particularly in high school where traditional classroom instruction provided no option for students like me. I need alternate pathways to learn. It was only by chance in college where I learned to connect to my own extended communication toolkit and by chance because the intended outcomes for the program was not for students to link graphic design to learning. Realistically, all my peers were in the program to design cool CD covers (this was in the late 80s) and to get good jobs in design studios after they graduated. I am now in a faculty of Design and can tell you that these intentions of a graphic design program haven’t changed except now students want to design cool websites.
For me, graphic design revealed a language beyond plain text, a learning environment where text can be visual but also combined with pictures as a language of learning, to the great benefit of the learner. Now, in my school-based work, I coach teachers to hone their natural instincts embedding graphic design literacy into their practice. Acting as their critical friend, I look with a teacher together with their own graphic design. I probe for and observe innate capacities and tendencies and build on them. My goal is to elevate what can be perceived as ubiquitous unimportant forms in the high school classroom environment — into a more significant and relevant part of a teacher’s visual literacy.