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The Black Box of Schooling

A Cultural History of the Classroom

Edited By Sjaak Braster, Ian Grosvenor and María del Mar del Pozo Andrés

This book is about the classroom, the most important meeting place for teachers and pupils in an education building. Our knowledge, however, about what happens inside this space is limited. In many respects the classroom is still the black box of the educational system.
To open up this box, this volume brings together scholars from the disciplines of Art, Architecture, History, Pedagogy and Sociology. They present a wide variety of new perspectives, methodologies and sources for studying classrooms.
The book examines images and representations of classrooms (photographs, paintings and pictures on school walls), writings and documents inside the classroom (school exercise books, teachers’ log books and observer reports), memories and personal experiences of classrooms (egodocuments from teachers and pupils, and oral history interviews), the space and design of classrooms (architecture, school murals and the transformation of space), and material objects in the classroom (school furniture, primers for reading and school wall charts). The essays are illustrated with a unique collection of more than fifty photographs of classrooms in Europe.

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Opening the Black Box of Schooling. Methods, Meanings and Mysteries ....................................................... 9 Sjaak Braster, Ian Grosvenor & María del Mar del Pozo Andrés PART I. IMAGES AND REPRESENTATIONS OF CLASSROOMS Educational Change and Dutch Classroom Photographs. A Qualitative and Quantitative analysis ............................................ 21 Sjaak Braster “To Act on the Minds of Children”. Paintings into Schools and English Education .................................. 39 Ian Grosvenor Classroom Genres. Aspects, Values and Interpretations of Painted School Interior Scenes ....................................................... 59 Jeremy Howard PART II. WRITINGS AND DOCUMENTS INSIDE CLASSROOMS Peeking into the Classroom of Post Civil War Spain. Children’s Classroom Work, Routines and Dynamics ..................... 81 Ana Badanelli & Kira Mahamud Classroom Cultures. Researching the Pioneer Ethnographical Research (Madrid, 1950-1970) ................................ 99 María del Mar del Pozo Andrés & Teresa Rabazas Inside the Black Box? Log Books from Late 19th and Early 20th Century English Elementary Schools ..................... 121 Susannah Wright 8 PART III. MEMORIES AND PERSONAL EXPERIENCES ABOUT CLASSROOMS Teachers’ Egodocuments as a Source of Classroom History. The Case of Autobiographies, Memoirs and Diaries ...................... 141 Antonio Viñao Pandora’s Box. Classrooms and Equipment in the Memory of Autobiographers .................................................. 159 Arianne Baggerman Oral History and the Black Box of the Classroom. A Personal Journey ........................................................................... 183 Theo Veld PART IV. SPACE AND DESIGN OF CLASSROOMS An Architectural View of the Classroom ......................................... 203 Alexander Koutamanis & Yolanda Majewski-Steijns “Education through Art”. The School Mural as Extended Architecture .................................................................. 223 Catherine Burke The Organic Growth of the Decroly School in Brussels. From Villa to School, from Living Room to Classroom ................. 241 Frederik Herman, Angelo Van Gorp,...

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