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Title: Sustainable schools as the 'third teacher' : creating a design framework for sustainable schools in Serbia, learning from practices in England, Germany, and Spain
Author: Brkovic, Marta
ISNI:       0000 0004 2744 6299
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2013
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Since 2009, when Serbia applied for candidacy in the European Union, the debate about educational reform geared up. Along the way important aspects of education have been modernized such as: educational goals, regulations, teaching and learning methods, and curriculum. Additionally, the Ministry of Education obtained funding for “School Modernisation Programme” aiming to improve the quality of learning environments. However, the debate about what kind of schools Serbia should aim to build in the 21st century has not started yet. Close examination of the newly proposed educational goals set by the Serbian Ministry of Education suggests that education should be reformed with sustainability in mind. Therefore, by implication school design also. The problem is that the majority of relevant professionals are approaching school design from a less than critical position. The situation is quite different in Western Europe. Some architects here have realised that sustainable schools could reduce the impact on the environment and contribute toward a more sustainable life. They have also discovered that the school environment impacts on the learning process, and can incite and even provoke learning. These architects believe that the school space and design can be a “third teacher”. A small number have ventured a step further and used school design to raise awareness about sustainability issues, and stimulate children to explore them. Under these circumstances a question that emerges for an architect from Serbia is how should we, in Serbia, develop architectural design for schools to be more sustainable and pedagogically valuable? The main aim of this thesis is the development of a series of design ideas so that one exemplar school in Serbia could be transformed in this way. This thesis explored three sustainable schools and their pedagogical potential with architects, teachers, and pupils. One of the schools was in Germany, one in Spain, and one in England. Triangulation of their experience with the existing literature from the field of architecture, pedagogy, developmental and environmental psychology, led to development of key messages useful for developing design ideas. Additionally, the most important messages were theoretically framed so that a better and improved framework for analysing and designing pedagogically valuable sustainable schools could be proposed. These insights are then translated and implemented in Serbia through the design of one school. A school from Serbia, wishing to act as an exemplar, embarked this journey. Through participatory action research I encouraged them to critically reflect on their current learning environment, and later on, through a participatory design process developed a series of ideas for the school. Finally, rendered through an array of contextual challenges and potentials, and inspired by this wealth of teachers and pupils ideas, my research developed a set of design proposals for transforming this exemplar school in Serbia into a more sustainable one, potentially able to act as the “third teacher”.
Supervisor: Chiles, Prue ; Parnell, Rosie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available