Monday, January 17, 2005

What do environments tell us?

What does all this reflect? Posted by Hello

What do environments tell us?

It was interesting to read an article in our local paper about interior decorating. We all say that we want a home that reflects who we are but it seems in most case we search for what we want in magazines and stores.

Denny Daikeler is an American Interior Designer and Interior Minister. She see her role as helping people discover who they are so they can figure out how they want to live.

It seems to me that Daikeler's approach reflects the true role of an educator as against a school teacher! Teachers pass on to their students what some authority has decided students need; educators help students uncover who they are. We have too few educators.

Daikeler believes most of us are coached from birth to behave in certain acceptable ways so by the time we are adults we’ve lost touch with our inner selves so completely that we decorate our homes to impress others than please ourselves. Denny believes that this lack of individuality can in some cases be depressing.

I can’t help but think that the same thing applies to schooling. Many students must feel that their ‘voice’, identity, talents, passions, dreams, culture and ideas are not acknowledged at school. This also must be depressing. Even for the so –called ‘successful’.

Daikeler’s aim is help people rediscover what she calls their ‘inner blueprint’, the place within us that holds our joys, dreams, interests, childhood memories and other aspects that define who we really are.

Once we figure this out, she says, we can create homes that inspire and nurture us. Not ones that fit into others expectations. This is more than design – it is about being authentic.

Evidently Daikeler has had some amazing results with her clients creating emotional and physical differences in them. It is not about redecorating but more the process of helping people develop a clearer sense of who they are and then developing homes that reflect this in a way that energizes them.

Creating such ‘authentic’ environments in schools, ones that reflect the 'inner blueprints', culture and interests of students, does the same. It is all too easy for the design and visually illiterate ‘teachers’ to treat the creativity and ‘voice’ of students as mere decoration. Such rational people put too much faith in things that can be controlled and measured as determined by 'authorities.

Every classroom sends ‘messages’ to perceptive visitors, for better or worse, about the values of the teachers and the creativity of the students. I would put my faith in the insights gained from such ‘messages’ rather than the graphs and data that school so love making.

What ‘messages’ does your classroom tell visitors?

Some ideas to assist can be found on our site
What messages does your room reflect?
Ideas for displaying.
Photographic examples

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know of schools that regularly have 'walk and talk' staff meeting so everyone can see what is being done in each room, and for people to share their ideas.

I think this is a great idea - would be interesting in some secondary schools I know!

Be great to do it between schools.