Power to the pupil : the implications of one school's bridging of pedagogy and place



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As an art educator, it has been a personal struggle of mine to motivate students in an academic setting, and to empower them within and beyond school walls. I believe that those schools walls are more than just physical boundaries and borders, but are an integral factor in how and what children can learn. Literature has given a broad view of the relationship between a school’s architecture and its pedagogy, identifying how paint colors or the arrangement of desks can influence student actions. Although these studies provide relevant information for educators and architects, investigation that reports from the student’s perspective are lacking in number. This thesis explores the impacts of the participatory design strategy of a newly renovated high school. Through active and often artistic involvement, students contributed to the appearance of their learning environment. This resulted in a tight-knit community, a boost in self-esteem, a sense of ownership and a source of empowerment. The findings of this study add to the body of resources aimed at child-centered pedagogy, and aim to serve as a model for empowering students through the arts.