ELEMENTARY: EDUCATION AS SOCIAL INSTITUTION
280 Cadman Plaza West, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Critic: Theo David
School is beyond learning how to read, write and complete math problems. Social interventions within the school environment encourage children to spend their time in school socializing and guiding themselves through their own micro-societies and communities.
The micro-community of school doesn’t match the larger society we exist in. There is a tendency to encourage extroverted behavior and use introverted behavior as a form of punishment (i.e. detention). These attitudes benefits those who gain pleasure from social situations and is exclusionary for those who prefer inner quiet and peace.
We can enhance our youth’s social skills by creating spaces that emphasize a variety of social behavior. Spaces can be designed to allow children to learn through interpersonal exploration, while also creating spaces to appreciate peace and inner quiet.
The school program is organized through the building by the amount of undulation on the floor. More interpersonal programming (such as the gym or cafeteria) are placed on flat floors in order to encourage gathering in groups. More intrapersonal programming (such as the library) are placed on the undulating floors to create spaces that encourage quieter behaviors.