ERIC Number: ED497674
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Feb
Reference Count: 0
The Great Learning Street Debate
Nair discusses the "Learning Street," a now-frequent concept of modern school planning and design in terms of the multiple modalities of learning that today's schools must nurture. The author lists 18, including: (1) Independent study; (2) Peer tutoring; (3) Team collaborative work in small and mid-sized groups; (4) One-on-one learning with the teacher; (5) Lecture format with the teacher at center stage; (6) Project-based learning; (7) Technology based learning with mobile computers; (8) Distance learning; (9) Research via the Internet with wireless networking; (10) Presentation; (11) Performance-based learning; (12) Seminar-style instruction; (13) Hands on project-based learning; (14) Naturalist learning; (15) Social/emotional learning; (16) Art-based learning; (17) Storytelling using floor seating; and (18) Team teaching. This list, notes Nair, is certainly not complete. Armed with such a list as a starting point, one can walk around a school and see how many of these modalities a given space might accommodate. The list is also useful in planning a new school or renovating an existing school. Noting that the list goes to the heart of learning and so is unlikely to change anytime soon, Nair postulates that a list of learning modalities is a more reliable way to plan a school than a system that tries to accommodate a particular curriculum. The writer's learning street is described in terms of some of its primary characteristics: (1) Social Artery; (2) Nooks and Crannies; (3) Ample Daylight; and (4) Spacious. Acknowledging that current school construction budgets verge on the point of out-of-control, Nair urges that learning should be the yardstick of a school building's success, and that by giving learning streets, student commons areas and other such informal nooks and crannies their rightful place as important learning elements of a school building, one can actually improve the net-to-gross ratio and even reduce the overall size of the school building because students can now use areas for learning that were previously set aside only for utilitarian purposes. Ultimately, concludes Nair, the debate on the learning street is actually a small part of a larger debate about what a 21st century school building should look like: the writer senses that if a school has successfully created a learning street that works, it is a good bet that its design probably offers other clues about how to create an effective learning environment conducive to the demands of a 21st century education.
Descriptors: Educational Facilities Design, Facility Requirements, Learning Modalities, School Buildings, School Construction, Lighting, School Space, Interior Space
DesignShare. 4937 Morgan Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55409-2251. Tel: 612-929-6129; Tel: 612-929-3520; Web site: http://www.designshare.com
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Design Share, Minneapolis, MN.