2008 Head Teacher's Conference, National SCITT in Outstanding Primary Schools


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Andrea Wheeler 2008 Designing for lifestyle change: Sustainable Schools for Sustainable behaviour Head Teacher's Conference, National SCITT in Outstanding primary Schools, National College of School Leadership 18 - 19th September 2008

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2008 Head Teacher's Conference, National SCITT in Outstanding Primary Schools

  1. 1. Designing for Lifestyle Change: Sustainable Schools for Sustainable Behaviour? Andrea Wheeler, BA (Hons) DipArch, MPhil, PhD ESRC Early Careers Interdisciplinary Research Fellow, The University of Nottingham, Institute of Architecture/and School of Education(ESRC Project (RES-152-27-0001): How Can We Design Schools As Better Learning Spaces and To Encourage Sustainable Behaviour? Co-Design Methodologies and Sustainable Communities.) 1
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  4. 4. How did I carry out the workshops?What did I observe? 4
  5. 5. Themes• Excitement over solving a design problem (collective or individual) – including excitement about their own design idea.• Story telling events, in conversation and whilst designing – sometimes about real events and sometimes more imaginary stories about what happens in their schools they’ve designed. Also songs and making up rhymes.• Observations about the workshops themselves, the meaning or value of them, relating the workshops to the real, what I was doing as a researcher and what they thought about this, either in response to my questioning or emerging whilst designing. (Bigger thinking outside the workshops themselves).• Teasing others in the group. Boys verses girls (issues about difference - gender and race). 5
  6. 6. ExamplesCollective work, putting their design ideas together the boys found a 3D solution.From Transcripts (Session1):V1: Miss are we allowed to draw Year 7 in school?AW YeahV4: You can’t draw that its too long, it’s all glass and hard [talking about the secondary school]V2: If you draw a Secondary School you’ll be alright.AW: If you wanted you could draw what you wanted your new school to be like. You can draw anything you like, absolutely anything. If you wanted your school to be on a beach, you could draw it on a beach or if you wanted it to be under the sea or something. Any ideas… Because what we’ll do we’ll have really big ideas to start with and sea if we can combine all the nice bits about all the ideas.V1 I’d like the school to be under the sea. That would be really cool!V1 I’d like a school that is like a little hole and you just go through it and its underneath it like a playground or something…From Transcripts [Session2]:V1: Your underground bit can be like that…V2: Well that’s mine sorted out…V1: you can have all that, and I can have all this.V3: Right now I need a grey.AW: Have you got an entrance?V1: [Excited] I’ve got a fab idea. You go in the water and then you swim down and you swim down and then you go underwater and then you go in the school. And then the arcade can be underneath the school, can’t it. Here’s the top and here’s the underground bit. Here like here… I think it should be all together like. Yeh here the top and here’s the underground bit. We should be all together yeh, go underground to the arcade. On top…V3: No no listen. You should do all of it, all water and then a nursery on the water and then underground like..V2: Can I draw my school now?V1 Yet lets get…V3 Underground…underground…underground… 6
  7. 7. Examples• A story about what happens in the school they are going to next term (relates to how the big school is organized and their own designs). Transcript from Session 2 AW: In this school are you going to have like classroom time? V1: They will probably have arcade time. V1: That’s what they have in D---[local Secondary School] they… V1: In lesson time you have to have a hall pass to go to the toilet. They have like prefects, well not prefects, people… 7
  8. 8. Examples:Observations about the value of the workshops – Why they think I am doing this research. From Transcripts:AW: [Beginning of workshop session 2] This is the boundary of your school, right, and what I want you to think about is how we can design a school of this, sort of here, putting all your ideas that you had last week into it. So part of it is going to have to be, to have some water in it, so maybe you could have a swimming pool and part of it you’ve got to have some way of going through water.V1: I always thought that big pitch [talking about the existing school] could be a swimming pool. 8
  9. 9. • Teasing of boys to girls – questions of difference, two camps of group work (boys and girls)? 9
  10. 10. New schools and new practicesCo-design practices with children are presented as the means to achieve manydifferent aims, but the link between participation and sustainable behaviour(especially when proposed through concepts such as ownership and belonging) iscomplex, and particularly when considering the differing age groups, backgroundsand developmental stages of children. Questions of place and community, so oftencited, are concepts that need careful analysis especially in the context of researchwith young people. The potential for tokenistic student involvement is evident.Nevertheless, there have been at least two successes described by the Pressbetween architects and school communities where children have had a significantrole in the design of their schools. These include, Minster School, extension, byPenoyre & Prasad and Falmouth School by Urban Salon who joined forces with theSorrell Foundation in order to involve children in the refurbishment design.References[1] Simpson, Veronica ‘This will be your school. Consultation between architects, staff and pupilshas led to a building loved by everyone’ The Guardian. Tuesday, September 16, 2008, p. 5[2] Jones, Will “Sustainable School: Sustainable Child’s Play” Building 16th September 2008Available at:http://www.building.co.uk/sustain_story.asp?storycode=3122443&origin=bldgsustainnewsletter 10
  11. 11. Why am I doing this research? My research questions: If we are now designing sustainable schools as architects – and the government has recently set up a Zero Carbon Schools Taskforce to see what can be achieved - we have to assume that these schools will encourage sustainable lifestyles. But will they, if young people don’t relate to or understand these goals? Must environmental education seek to change our relation to the world and others (to be less exploitative and less appropriative), as some academics and even the SDC have suggested? This is an obvious challenge to teachers, but must architects also involve themselves in environmental education in a way that encourages, in their participation with children, better relations to nature, animal and human worlds? Is there a role for architects, that interdisciplinary research can reveal, where listening to young people’s voices - listening perhaps in a more attentive way than architects ever have - responding to young people’s questioning about the designed world and to differences, can encourage a more just relation to the human and natural environment? 11
  12. 12. Conclusion Whether in co-design practice or classroom, for sustainable behaviour to be encouraged children will have to reconcile the need for reduced consumption with consumerist norms. These are profoundly difficult issues and the future dilemmas young people will face. 12