01 SES 08 B, Leadership, Pedagogy and Professional Development
This study is part of a three years research project which explores learning environments. There is a growing body of international research dealing with school and classroom architecture and design, not least European research (e.g. Sigurðardóttir & Hjartarson 2016; Stadler Altmann 2015; Woolner & Clark 2014). One of the issues that has occupied educationalists in this field is to what extent, and in what ways changes in the environment may influence the enacted teaching and learning (e.g. Brooks 2011; Cotner et al. 2013; Sigurðardóttir & Hjartarson 2016; Veloso et al. 2014; Walker et al. 2011). Hence, these studies indicate that it is not possible to predict the outcome of changes in a specific learning environment – teaching and learning are complex processes in which various factors (school culture, pedagogies etc.) and actors (stakeholders, teachers, students etc.) interplay (Blackmore et al. 2011; Gislason 2010, 2014; Higgins et al. 2005; OECD 2013, 2015; Stadler Altmann 2015; Woolner et al. 2012; Woolner & Tiplady 2016). The learning environment as such is not a solid and permanent unit, instead it is in continuous process of construction by designers, school leaders and policy makers, but also by the teachers and students who spend time there on everyday basis.
In this paper we focus on principals, school leaders and architects who are involved in planning and constructing new learning environments. The aim is to explore what a ’good’ learning environment represents to these stakeholders and their ideas about how a good learning environment can be achieved. The main question guiding the research process is: What are the primary goals when school buildings are to be built or reconstructed, and what are to be avoided? Drawn on the results, we discuss possible didactical implications of their visions, including implications for teacher-student interactions and relationships.
The study has a socio-spatial and socio-material approach (c.f McGregor 2004) and is carried out drawing on theories on spatial, material and regulative aspects of education, teaching and learning (Bernstein 2000; Gislason 2010, 2015). By ‘learning environment’ we refer to the physical, social and virtual environment, but also the educational environment in a broader sense. Furthermore, we consider learning spaces (in school and elsewhere) as areas where power relations between groups such as staff and students are under construction and negotiation – as social relationships in process. Consequently learning spaces have the potential to transform relationships (c.f McGregor 2004).
The study is relevant in so far as there is a great need for new school buildings and school spaces throughout metropolitan areas of Europe. Many schools are in need of renovation, and in particular in urban areas, they suffer from lack of space. This situation should be considered in the context of continuously augmenting national and supranational demands on schools regarding pedagogical development and increased student performance (e.g. OECD 2013, 2015). School leaders and principals around Europe are committed to create learning environments that optimize students' learning and desire for learning – to create ‘good’ learning environments of tomorrow where students are not only passive recipients of knowledge but also co-creators of knowledge.
The study draws on interviews with principals, school leaders and architects involved in projects concerning construction and reconstruction of school buildings. We sought for a varied selection concerning the participants’ role in the (re)building projects as well as a geographical spread over the nation. At the level of municipalities, interviews where held with officials and architects, and at the school level, interviews were held with principals (n 20). We contacted the participants through the network “Forum bygga skola” [Forum Building School], which is a network for administrators, architects, school leaders etc. interested in and/or involved in projects concerning construction and reconstruction of school buildings. We conducted individually semi-structured interviews with the participants (by phone, interviews were between 45 and 60 minutes). We asked questions about their ideas about good learning environments and their experiences from working with (re)constructing such environments. Interview data was analysed by the use of qualitative content analysis (Krippendorff 2004) conducted by the researchers in team work. The process was mainly inductive. After two overview readings, we condensed the text in order to generate core thoughts. These core thoughts/articulations were then sorted using Gislason’s (2010) theoretical model of interconnected dimensions of school and classroom environment. The model provides a framework for school design research, as it makes the distinction between a) organisational aspects (teaching, pedagogy, scheduling etc.), b) ecology (building and spatial design, technology etc.), c) staff culture (values, teacher role etc.) and d) student milieu (motivation, social climate etc.) (see model Gislason 2010, p129 adapted from Owens & Valensky 2007). We then thematised the condensated text in each dimension and related the themes in the four interconnected dimensions to each other (What did the stakeholders emphasize the most/the least? What was omitted?). Through the process of analysis we additionally payed attention to power relations in terms of control and regulation (Bernstein 2000).
Preliminary results: A guiding principle among the stakeholders working with school design was the idea that the physical environment (buildings, classrooms etc.) should support the organisation and pedagogical ideas of the teaching – physical environment should be ‘functional’ to pedagogical ideas and methods. Organisation of teaching and pedagogy was thus emphasized as superior to the other dimensions of school and classroom environment/climate when visioning new learning environments. This idea applied to all categories of interviewees. ‘Staff culture’ (values, teacher role etc.) and in particular student milieu (motivation, social climate etc.) were dimensions given less attention. Drawn on the results, we discuss possible didactical implications of their visions, e.g. implications for teacher-student interactions and relationships.
Bernstein, Basil (2000), Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Blackmore, J, Bateman, D, Loughlin, J, O’Mara, J & Aranda, G. (2011). Research into the Connection between Built Learning Spaces and Student Outcomes: A literature review. Melbourne; State Victoria (Department of Education and ECD). Brooks, D.C. (2011). Space matters: The impact of formal learning enviroments on student learning. British Journal of educational Technology, 42(5), p. 719-726. Cotner, S., Loper., Walker, J.D.& Brooks, D.C. (2013). “It´s not you, it´s the room” (or, are the high-tech, active learning classroom worth it?). Journal of college Science Teaching, 42(6), p. 72-78 Gislason N. (2010). Architectural design and the learning environment: A framework for school design research. Learning Environment Research, 13, 127–145. Gislason, N. (2015) The open plan high school: educational motivations and challenges. In P. Woolner (Ed) School Design Together Abingdon: Routledge. Krippendorff, K. (2004). Content Analysis. An Introduction to Its Methodology. 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage McGregor, J (2004) Spatiality and the Place of the Material in Schools. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, Volume 12, Number 3, 347-372. OECD (2013) Innovative Learning Environments, Educational Research and Innovation. OECD Publishing. OECD (2015) Schooling Redesigned, Towards Innovative Learning Systems. OECD Publishing. Stadler-Altmann, U (2015) Learning Environment: The Influence of School and Classroom Space on Education. In C. Rubie-Davies, J. M. Stephens, P. Watson (eds.) The Routledge International Handbook of Social Psychology of the Classroom, pp 252-262. London: Routledge. Sigurðardóttir, AK & Hjartarson, T. (2016). The idea and reality of an innovative school. From inventive design to established practice in a new school building. Improving schools, 19(1), 62–79. Veloso L., Marques J. S., Duarte A. (2014). Changing education through learning spaces: Impacts of the Portugese school buildings’ renovation programme. Cambridge Journal of Education, 44(3), 401–423. Walker, J. D., Brooks, C, & Baepler, P. (2011). Pedagogy and Space: Empirical Research on New Learning Environments. Educause Article. Woolner, P, McCarter, S, Wall, K & Higgins, S. (2012). Changed learning through changed space: When can a participatory approach to the learning environment challenge preconceptions and alter practice? Improving schools, 15(1), 45-60. Woolner, P. and Tiplady, L. (2016) Adapting School Premises as Part of a Complex Pedagogical Change Programme In: Stadler-Altmann,U, ed. (English) Learning Environment. Educational and Architectual Views on Schoolbuildings and Classrooms. Opladen/Berlin/Toronto: Barbara Budrich,69-81.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.