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Changing school environments through the eyes of the students
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences, Educational science. (ROLE)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1871-4488
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences, Educational science, Curriculum studies. (ROLE)
2018 (English)In: AERA abstract repository, 2018Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

1. Purpose This paper draws on socio-material and spatial theories to open up new possibilities for understanding how school practices are in play: the interior of the school buildings, the outside playground and different artefacts being part of the school environment. More specifically, we have used a spatial perspective for analyzing students’ photo stories describing spaces that supports and impede their learning as well as safe and unsafe spaces in a newly opened school.

2. Theoretical framework In discussions about educational practices, cognitive, social and cultural concepts tend to dominate. These concepts are often based on notions about humans using various kinds of tools and that social interaction is played out in a context. Notions like this can easily obscure the significance of material objects (Fenwick, Edwards, & Sawchuk, 2011). A sociomaterial perspective entails viewing interactions in school as more than social processes, but materializing processes in and with material objects. This involves envisioning, enacting and experiencing education in relation to its material, social and discursive aspects (Mulcahy, Cleveland, & Aberton, 2015). Stables (2015) argues that there is a need to regard the school environment as “part of the life story of its users”. School environments are appropriated by their users who respond to their environment in different ways.

3. Methods The case school, Maple Grove, is a newly opened secondary school. The fieldwork was conducted over the course of one school year (Yin, 2009). The main data used in this paper consists of students’ photo stories. According to Banks (2007), visual research methods are appropriate for the study of youth and their contexts.

4. Data sources Digital stories (using the software Sway) was collected by means of classroom assignments. Combinations of images (photographs, screenshots etc.) and texts supported the socio-material analysis.

5. Results Preliminary results show variations in both the areas that students view as safe and unsafe, and the reasons for their choice of area. This means that one area may be depicted as safe by one student, but unsafe by another. They also pointed to various social and physical features that affected their learning environment. Students also point out vital places in school buildings that neither architects nor school staff could foresee in the original design.

6. Conclusion A conclusion that can be drawn is that the school administration and staff need to be sensitive to the views of the students in the transition from design to dynamic practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-26990OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-26990DiVA, id: diva2:1217811
Conference
AERA Annual Meeting 2018, 13-17 April 2018, New York, NY, USA
Available from: 2018-06-13 Created: 2018-06-13 Last updated: 2019-01-31Bibliographically approved

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Frelin, AnneliGrannäs, Jan

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CiteExportLink to record
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