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Compensatory conditions in the corridor: comparing staff work in (secondary) schools designed in two different time periods
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences. (STORIES)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1871-4488
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences. (STORIES)
2016 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this paper we set out to explore how the physical, social and conceived conditions in schools can facilitate or disrupt support work aimed at improving student learning and preventing social exclusion (cf. Frelin & Grannäs, 2013). This is accomplished by comparing student support practices in the common areas of two newly renovated secondary schools built in two different time periods. The focus is on teachers’ and other school staff’s enactment of curriculum and policy reforms in their endeavours to improve students’ learning conditions and well-being (cf. Ball, Maguire, & Braun, 2012; Mulcahy, 2016). This enactment takes place in a designed school environment, where teachers and support staff appropriate spaces for educational purposes in different ways (cf. Stables, 2015). The interview and observational data come from two qualitative case studies, one complete (2012-14) and one ongoing (2015-16), using a spatial analysis perspective. Physical, social and conceived aspects of space are considered (Frelin & Grannäs, 2014, 2015). The case schools, located in two municipalities, were originally built in the 1910s (Lönnhaga) and the 1960s (Tallvik). Both schools serve mixed to low SES communities and have organized student support functions in the schools’ corridors, cafeterias, recreation areas and other common spaces. These functions are for example school host, student coach and student welfare officer. The organization, function and physical layout of the schools differ and represent the pedagogical and architectural ideas of the periods in which they were built. Preliminary results show variations in the physical conditions for support work in terms of number of storeys, transparency (e.g. stone or glass walls) and layout (enclosed or open spaces), how the staff respond to these conditions (e.g. stationary in offices or mobile in corridors) and the kind of contact staff have with the management (e.g. whether or not they are used as substitute teachers). In contrast, the task perception among the support staff as a whole is similar in both schools. It is interesting to see how the staff respond creatively to the physical school environments, designed in different time periods and rebuilt in response to policy reform, in order to carry out their tasks (cf. Blackmore et al, 2011; Mulcahy, 2016; Stables, 2015).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
School buildings, School design, School environments, Space, Teaching and Learning
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-21327OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-21327DiVA: diva2:912601
ECER 2016, 22-26 August 2016, Dublin, Ireland
Hur byggs en hållbar utbildningsmiljö?

Contribution to the symposium From Design to Practice in School Environments accepted for presentation at ECER, Dublin

Available from: 2016-03-17 Created: 2016-03-17 Last updated: 2017-01-12Bibliographically approved

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Frelin, AnneliGrannäs, Jan
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