Skolans levda rum och lärandets villkor : Meningsskapande i montessoriskolans fysiska miljö
Sammanfattning: This study examines the school’s physical environment as a place of learning, and takes its starting point in the phenomenology movement, inspired both by Merleau-Ponty’s thesis of man’s physical relation to the world and by the existential analysis represented by Heidegger which implies a mutual relationship between man and the world.Such a view rejects a standpoint which describes man as being divided between a material body and a thinking soul. Instead, there emerges an embodied self which engages in meaningful interaction with its surroundings. The choice of this standpoint has implications for the design of the school’s physical environment. Montessori pedagogy is one of the activity-based pedagogies which have designed the physical environment in line with this theory. The purpose of the study is to understand, but further to visualise, the way in which the conditions for learning for children and adolescents are created in schools, from pre-school to lower secondary level, which follow the Montessori pedagogy. The material for the empirical study has been gathered from Europe and the US and from differing social contexts. The reason for this is to discover what distinguishes the prepared environment. The study also discusses the way in which the argument for a form of schooling which is based on activity, from the early 20th century to the present day, has been addressed through the architectural design of schools.The thesis shows that the rich array of didactic material in the schools observed offers pupils the opportunity to perform activities which create meaning. The organisation of the environment provides the pupils with the necessary conditions to concentrate fully on their work and to complete their tasks without interruption. I see the didactic continuity which prevails from pre-school to the lower secondary school in the Montessori schools studied as a prerequisite if the pedagogical activity is to offer meaning and create the conditions for learning in the way demonstrated by the empirical studies.
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