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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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The space of the school as a changing educational tool (Patrick Bjurström)

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The space of the school as a changing educational tool Patrick Bjurström The school building and the concept of space as a machine In what ways can a school building be comprehended as a tool for teaching and learning? How can such a tool be improved? Must such a tool be thought of as repressive in character? Referring to John Dewey’s vision of society and education (Dewey, 2004; Cremin, 1964; Hartman, 1995), I argue that the school can be transformed into a successively more democratic, more liberating institution, corresponding to the needs of children as well as democratic society. As an architect I pragmatically assume that the building, the physical frame, place and space for the teaching and learning processes, has a role to play in this context. What else would be the purpose of school building design? Here, we have a field for co-operation between teachers and architects in an attempt to better understand the nature of the school building and further develop the building, and the ways to improve it. The building can in several ways be regarded as an educational tool. My main concern here is not with the equipment of the building although as everyone knows, a school needs good equipment, suited to the specific use of the different rooms, such as libraries, physics and chemistry laboratories, workshops and gymnasiums, as well as rooms and space for more general use. Also, my main concern here is not with the technical quality of the building although,...

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