Architecture + Design as a Means for Constructing an Experiential & Democratic Learning Environment in the Social Studies Classroom

Rory P. Tannebaum, Ashley E. Tannebaum

Abstract


The purpose of this conceptual work is to explore ways in which K-12 classrooms can be used as a physical and abstract model for society in which students can practice becoming effective, participatory citizens. The authors framed this manuscript around ways in which the K-12 learning environment can be transformed into “a miniature community - an embryonic society” as envisioned by John Dewey (1916). More specifically, the authors seek to use this scholarship to address a gap in the literature between the field of architecture + design and the broad aims of education that often connect to principles of democracy and citizenship. Following a discussion on the intersection of architecture + design and the social studies, the authors present a lesson for how to effectively teach preservice social studies teachers about ways to both think about and manipulate their classroom for the benefit of their students as well as recommendations for the field going forward in this area of scholarship.


Keywords


Social studies education; learning environments; experiential learning; democratic practices

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