The Physical Environment as a Context of Teachers’ Work and School Reform

Jan 01, 2002

Current educational reforms are restructuring many aspects of secondary schooling with the potential of changing teachers' work and use of space. Descriptions of effective schools and current reforms led to the expectation that within schools of a traditional architecture, teachers' physical arrangement and use of space had changed to better facilitate organizational changes and goals; and that schools recently designed to support reforms would be more efficacious. The findings indicate that architectural arrangement of space had considerable affect on the success of the schools' restructuring efforts, as well as other conditions of secondary schoolteachers' workplace that impact their daily work lives.

This paper reports on a study of how teachers' use of space and place has changed due to restructuring with the intent of learning how the school setting impacts teachers' work. The importance of the relationship between school design and teachers' work is intensified in light of current educational reforms that are changing the way time, students, and knowledge are organized. These reforms, while having the ability to transform students' educational experiences, also have the potential of changing teachers' patterns of activities and interaction, and consequently their use of space.

Janice M. Siegel (University of California, Berkeley)
EDRA33/2002 Proceedings
Presented at: 
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA)

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