Towards an inclusive classroom psycho-geography: why it matters where students choose to sit
Keywords:psycho-geography, peer learning relationships, group learning, learning spaces
This paper is based on my own experiences of classroom psychogeography, as experienced through working with a group of around 50 Masters students at Central Saint Martins over a period of more than ten years. Much has been written and published about the design of learning spaces, as well as the dynamics of group work, but relatively littlehas been published about the psychogeography of learning, especially at the higher education level. Space is never neutral. It separates or it includes. It can be used to reinforce or challenge power-based relationships. Students express their feelings about learning by their mode of occupation of learning spaces, but these choices can also influence peer dynamics and students' subsequent levels of engagement.
I began my research as a passive observer, by noticing how certain student interactions tended to take place in certain parts of a classroom, irrespective of the individuals involved. I subsequently devised various interventions in classroom psychogeography, designed to facilitate the most effective mixing of students in group work. The outcomes of these interventions were recorded through questionnaires given to my students after participating in various classroom interventions, as well as through granular evidence, assembled through both formal and informal interviews. My conclusions reflect on my attempts to intervene in the spatial dynamics of learning, in order to facilitate a more inclusive psychogeography.
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