According to architect and academic
“What do you think of when you’re in a space with closed doors and a hallway where you can’t enter without permission or a bell that tells you when you can enter and leave?” asks Locker.
The fact that global educational models are being questioned and put in various forms of transformation (or crisis) is nothing new. We’ve seen it since the French Revolution and the fall of the Ecclesiastical monopoly on education during the Old Regime.
Transformations in education happen slowly and with time. Curiously, they’re typically ignited by those who grew up in now-defunct educational systems and their results will be seen by generations not even in existence. No matter the system, be it positive or negative, architecture tends to reflect upon rather than rebel against. Architecture is, after all, the visions of the state and other private entities made real beyond the allowed margins of spatial creativity.
So, in the era of information (a more accurate description than the era of knowledge), citizens are demanding changes in their educational models to better fit their societies and distinct idiosyncrasies. In our case,
School as a Prison and Fear of the Teacher
Locker was in
The American architect said in a recent
In the US, many of the same people who designed prisons also designed schools. What comes to mind when you see a long hall of closed doors, that you can’t be in without permission, and a bell that tells you when to come in, when to leave, when class starts, when it ends? What does that look like to you?
The spatial design and
Nevertheless, this is the 21st century, the informational age, and teachers are no longer the guardians of the knowledge gateway. With the new generations growing up with near limitless access to the internet, teachers must take on the role of a guide rather than a gatekeeper, helping students along their educational journey rather than dragging them kicking and screaming. Of course, this shift in the educational paradigm has physical repercussions as well:
These rectangular, closed off classrooms suit the old educational paradigm and serve little to stimulate and nurture knowledge. Furthermore, they are teacher-centered rather than student-centered and don’t give students the necessary skills to navigate and flourish in the world of today.
Locker states that schools should foster a feeling of community, where “students have the necessary space and tools to meet in groups of all sizes and participate in active learning,” and where “students are no longer anonymous and avoid problems with coexistance. These places are where the director and the teachers really get to know their students.” The classrooms are circular and have everything needed to encourage active learning, from furniture that promotes collaboration among the pupils, to readily available electronic devices, to laboratories for projects.
School: Flexible, Educational, Public, and Urban
Journalist and historian Anatxu Zabalbeascoa along with Catalonia political scientist Judit Carrera, point to
Nevertheless, Finland’s success isn’t a one size fits all solution. It’s not a franchise to be replicated nor a prescription to be taken around the world, no matter how tempting it may seem to do so. Much like a lesson in architecture…it’s all about context. Yes, social, economic, spatial, geographic, and perceptual context. For example, you cannot understand the success of the Finnish model without looking at the fierce cultural pressure faced by the Finns after gaining their independence from Russia in 1917, not to mention the years of economic hardship throughout the 50s while its European neighbors rebuilt themselves through industrialization, consumerism, and the progressive urbanization of society.
“In 1970, we had little education. We were a poor agricultural nation that needed education to develop our country’s prosperity and security,” recalls
As much as the press wants to present Locker’s ideas and the Finnish method as “the education of the future,” in reality the need to reform the current educational paradigm is a contemporary issue. To paraphrase