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Just about two weeks ago I wrapped up my third year of teaching Visualization III at Wentworth Institute of Technology. Every professor in the design department has their own style, their own unique take on teaching the numerous skills needed to succeed in the world of design. Mine has evolved into a combination of bad jokes and critiques—so many critiques.

The students in Viz III, as we call it, are second semester sophomores. I've come to love teaching this particular course because the students are almost universally at a pivotal point in their academic career. If they put the time in, the second semester of their sophomore year is when they can truly start becoming designers: sketching, thinking, and talking like professionals.

The talking, to me, is oh-so important. At their cores, designers have got to be masterful communicators. If a person can't talk about their work and why they made the decisions they made, the 'real world' quickly becomes a daunting, difficult place.

So we critique.

I push and pull answers out of my class with questions like, 'what's working here?' and 'what would you change?' They start with monosyllabic retorts, to which I always always volley back a resounding, 'why?'

When pushed even further, we, as a class, enter compelling territory. Drawing—typically highly subjective—gets broken down into bits and pieces and becomes ever more objective. Students get feedback from each other and learn how to learn, even when a designated 'teacher' isn't around.

brand board demo: bodum