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Educational Dimensions of School Buildings

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 school building as experience (Hansjörg Hohr)

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The school building as experience Hansjörg Hohr The physical environment in general and the school environment in particular are of fundamental importance to education. For instance, the school building makes you walk, climb and descend stairs, and it defines a relatively narrow range of body postures and movements while excluding others. There are also air quality and temperature, typical odours, noises and visual impacts. The physical environment leaves its sensuous impressions in such a direct and straightforward way that it seems to bypass higher mental mediation or to make it irrelevant or secondary. Nonetheless, the interaction of the body with the school environment far transcends the purely physiological. Thus, the demands on the school environment are complex, and in the following I will try to identify central criteria. On methodology There is little research on school buildings in the science of education due to the fact that the topic is pertinent to architecture. Another reason may be the traditional neglect of the human body in education. If there is a possible contribution by a theory of education on the topic it has to come from the realm of social sciences and the humanities. There are several options. Environmental psychology has long investigated natural and artificial surroundings and their impact on individuals. Its main approach is to identify and analyze preferences for certain environments. There is a strong tendency to conceive of these preferences as natural or even native. For example, there is a suggestion that people, due to processes...

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