03 SES 14 B, Influencing Curricular Choices
The buildings of bygone times stand as monuments to the purposes of our predecessors. Designs for classrooms not only tell us much about the didactic means that were used therein; they also reveal the essence of the pedagogy that directed the educative efforts of past times. Architectural designs for schools are among the best sources, for discovering what actually happens in a classroom. “Old-time school” is nowadays replaced with a new view of way teaching and learning. Educational policy in Norway is currently emphasizing personal flexibility and freedom of choice for learners. This can be related to the fact that changes in modern society and culture increase demand on reflectivity on individuals. Changes in our modern society are reflected in various documents concerning education. The National Curriculum (L06), which formulates the principles and values for the education system expects teaching and learning practice in the classrooms to undergo radical changes. This has led to new school architecture, new organizing of instruction, new methods and activities. Characteristic of the new architecture is the use glass as a building material witch creates light and openness, but also a transparent learning environment for teachers and pupils as well.
The intention of this study is to introduce certain perspectives on how the new architecture affects teacher’s choice, decisions and way of teaching. Have the new school architecture carried out a new practice in schools?
The approach of this study is process-oriented. The aims are to report and discuss empirical data about how the new school architecture is understood and experienced by teachers within lower secondary school.
This study is based on several, but related, basic theoretical frameworks. The theory of discipline is based on Foucault’s (2008) attempt to show how developments of school systems are forms of social control between teachers, students, management and school architecture, etc. Central in Foucault`s analysis is knowledge or power. Today new patterns of social interactions, working forms in classrooms, activities and the emphasis on pupil’s self-discipline demand new ways of controlling pupils’ behavior. Earlier types of discipline are not compatible with this, and neither are older forms of school architecture. Today teachers do not give orders; instead they use other tools for guiding and forming pupils in the right direction. The discipline function has become mild and often invisible.
Another part of the theoretical framework is how teachers’ work in school organizations. Teachers become parts of shared practices through language, activities and relations to others. “Practice architectures” are used to see practice settings like schools and classrooms as designed (Kemmis & Grootenboer, 2008). Furthermore, an institutional approach is applied (Scott, 2001). From this perspective the constructions of programs, and what happens in the school, are seen as institutionalized practices. That means historically situated within a context, and constituted by shared practices, rules, repertoires and linguistic forms of meaning, which over extended periods are taken as granted, by the majority.
Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison. London: Allen Lane Kemmis, S. & Grootenboer, P. (2008). Situating Practice: Practice architectures and the cultural, social and material conditions for practice. In S. Kemmis, T. J. Smith, J. Ax & P. Ponte (Eds.), Enabling praxis: challenges for education (Vol. 1, pp. 37-62). Rotterdam: Sense. National Curriculum (2006) Oslo: Department of Education Scott, W. R. (2001) Institutions and organizations. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications Yin, R. K. (2009) Case study research : design and methods. Thousand Oaks, California: age Publications
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