Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book on designing classrooms

Space and learning: lessons in architecture 3 (Herman Hertzberger, 2008) seems a book out of its time. It provides 208 pages of theory and case studies on the design of everything from preschools to university and schools in the community. This work might be better described as the Montessori approach to school design as many of Hertzberger's case studies are of Montessori schools. To me the photos and descriptions seem to be more aligned to the radical 1960s than this century, but perhaps that is the nature of pioneering work.

Many of the concepts of the school designs in the book (and the Montessori method of education), when stripped of their philosophical superstructure, are very similar to current approaches to e-learning, pedagogy and andragogy. These assume that the student is self motivated to study. The educator aims to provide resorces which the student can choose to use when they need them, rather than according to an external timetable.Different learning materials are provided to suit different student's requirements. The education includes social skills working together with other students, with the educator to guide, not tell the students what to do. Exercises are grounded in real world problems, rather than academic theory. Students with different skills and experience can learn from each other.

The book can be previewed at Google books.

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