October 07, 2008

Teaching Someone Else's Design

I have a friend whose favorite pastime is to find my designs online being taught by past students. (Pls. note, I have given a few students written permission to do this.) Hmm, maybe she is not really my friend, as each new discovery sends my stomach into clenched frustration. So I ask:
Is it okay to teach a design you learned in class?

I often relate the situation of students teaching my designs to buying a handbag. You can buy a Coach bag at the store or you can buy one on the street for a lot less. Later when you get home, you may find the one you bought on the street has a label inside that spells Cooch instead (oh my gosh, I gotta make a bag tag that says that).

My designs are a pathway for me to teach my students the path of creativity. I begin with a wire and twelve attempts later come out with a new project. For me, the shining star of my classes is being able to convey to students how the design was born and how they can draw from their own experience to later create their own pathways and designs.

But alas, I have yet to be hired as the world leader of Because I Say So. Do you have thoughts on this? Please take some time to think about what your opinion is. Share it in a comment or keep it rumbling inside your head. If there was a clear answer here I'd quote it, but right now we are just throwing opinions.