This conceptual article explores teaching as design work, arguing that a critical thing teachers do is design systems that enable their students to learn. Designing occurs when teachers generate new learning activities or modify curricular programs to create coherence for themselves and their students. Nonetheless, few teacher education programs include instruction in learning how to engage in design thinking. Here, designing is explored as a means to help pre-service teachers develop their facility for adaptive teaching practice by incorporating design thinking at an early stage in their teacher education programs. Literature is drawn from traditional design fields to articulate design capacities and to describe design studio pedagogy practices often used in the education of designers. As an illustrative example is presented of such practices were incorporated throughout one 15-week educational psychology course embedded in an undergraduate elementary-education program to support pre-service teachers development of design thinking. The goal was not to prepare students to use particular instructional innovations, but to collaboratively design such innovations themselves.
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