5.3 Critical Pedagogy: Diversity, Difference and Dissensus – space as social science
The growth in the numbers of international students and the massification of higher education means universities in the UK must now be able to accommodate very different kinds of student populations. This issue of accommodation means that students feel not only safe, comfortable and secure, but that differences among and between students needs to be recognised in ways that can enhance their educational experience. The notion of learning landscape is key to this issue as it can provide a holistic understanding of the needs of a wide variety of students and how those needs can be satisfied. In addressing those needs the learning landscape must take into account not only how students learn, but the social contexts within which learning takes place. Key to designing social learning spaces includes an understanding of the social logic of the spaces within which teaching and learning takes place. These social logics can be consensual but they can also reflect dissensus about the nature and purpose of higher education. The most instructional work in this area is informed by educational psychology, human geography and the sociology of space and spatiality .
Academics are used to debating the ubiquity of power point as a presentational tool; but we are not so used to debating the ways in which classroom design supports particular social relations of power. How might teaching and learning spaces be designed so as to be more aware of issues of power in relation to gender, race and class?
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