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Educational Dimensions of School Buildings

Edited By Jan Bengtsson

In all modern societies almost everyone of their citizens have spent many years in school buildings, and the largest professional group in modern societies, teachers, is working every day during the working year in school buildings. In spite of this, we know surprisingly little about the influence of school buildings on the people who use them and their activities. What do school buildings do with their users and what do users do with the buildings? In this book seven scholars from the Scandinavian countries discuss and use different theoretical perspectives to illuminate the relationship between school buildings and their users.


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Educational significations in school buildings (Jan Bengtsson)


Educational significations in school buildings Jan Bengtsson The compulsory elementary school was established in Sweden by a law in 1842. According to this elementary school law, every parish in the country should start up an elementary school within five years and employ an approved teacher. In the following decades, buildings were created for this particular purpose. Schooling in Sweden has thus been located in special school buildings for more than 150 years. This means that all the pupils and teachers are accustomed to these buildings in their everyday life, and every adult has many years of experience of them from his/her own schooldays. With the exception of the small children, everybody seems to know what a school building is. In spite of this, one cannot expect that those who use the school can tell what signification the school buildings have for the people working in them. Probably the opposite is the case. Those who use the school know it inside out and know how it can be used. It is for just this reason that they do not have a distance to the school. They have implicit functional knowledge of how the school works, but not explicit knowledge of the school and what it does with its users. There is a lack of distance between building and user that prevents them from noticing it before it makes itself felt. For this reason, small children may draw our attention to things that we have not noticed before or that we have...

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