Opening the Conversation: Closer Collaboration among Educators and Architects


North Tower - 2nd Floor - Harbor

  • Primary Core Competencies: Educational Visioning
  • AIA CEU: 1. 0 LU
  • Secondary Core Competencies: Design of Educational Facilities


Co-creation and collaboration -- this is the direction pedagogy has been heading for many years, from K-12 through higher education. While it is difficult to change the way we teach and organize our schools, this shift is happening, and it has profound implications for architects and planners who are responding with innovative designs of learning spaces for all kinds of classes, from science and art to history and English. The work done by students in English courses, for example, has traditionally been individual work, but in the last 20+ years, that model of writing studies has changed. Outside of the field, however, few people are aware of this – or of how affective it can be. Because dynamic collaboration among architects and educators is essential, we want to use this opportunity (and this example from one discipline) to spark a conversation about pedagogical collaboration -- what it looks like and how it works, beginning with the educators’ perspective. To start the conversation, we – two teachers and an architect -- will share current examples of collaborative work in high school and university writing classes, with brief discussions of theory, course strategies, assignment design, and assessment tools. We will share student responses and short samples of their work as well as diagrams of how they use the spaces. Throughout the session, we will invite educators and architects in the room to join in with their ideas and experiences. The purpose is to launch a lively discussion that will ideally reveal the value for architects of partnering with educators, working and talking together – thoughtfully -- as a way to truly understand some of the new collaborative methods and pedagogical goals of current teachers.

Learning Objectives

OBJ #1  To familiarize architects and planners with theory and practice of collaborative pedagogy by using examples from high school and university writing courses

OBJ #2  To illuminate specific ways students work together and use learning spaces (and technology) during collaborative lessons

OBJ #3  To consider some of the ways that the design of learning spaces can enhance or impede such pedagogies

OBJ #4  To experience a collaborative conversation, in seminar style, with other passionate professionals in education and architecture

Natalie Owsley, English, Journalism & AVID Teacher, Homestead High School, Fremont Union High School District

Jill Goodman, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer in English Emerita, Santa Clara University

Gayatri Medury, AIA, Associate, Artik Art & Architecture