Instruction Drives Construction ... Or Should
My colleagues and I work for an architecture firm focused on education, so we’ve attended and made presentations at various gatherings in the field. At one recent conference of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, we set up a small booth in the exhibit hall featuring images of school buildings we had designed. Most folks passed us by with quizzical looks on their faces, but a few stopped to ask, “Why are you here? This conference is about education.”
Having thought that our school designs were all about education, we were perplexed—until we recognized that most of those in attendance were focused on teaching, and that, in their entire careers perhaps, had never had the opportunity to shape the environment in which they taught. At best, they were assigned to a room, allowed to hang posters on the walls, and shuffled rows of desks. The notion that their approach to teaching and learning could be reflected in and enhanced by the school building simply never occurred to them.
Buildings are among the most telling artifacts of what we believe, what we value, and what we think. Western Europe’s great cathedrals built in the 12th to 16th centuries leave no doubt about what was most important in their time. While our society in the 21st century is far more diverse, our buildings will speak just as clearly to future generations—including the kids...
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