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ItemPathways to a better personal and social life through learning spaces: the role of school design in adolescents' identity formationABBASI, NEDA ( 2009)Identity formation, which is about an individual developing a sense of uniqueness as a person and being recognised and confirmed by the society, is the major developmental task of adolescence. This developmental task determines much of adolescents’ personal and social well-being and success in life (Erikson 1968). This research examines the contributions of design of physical spaces to adolescents’ identity formation in the context of schools. In order to provide an interpretation of adolescents’ identity formation that informs the research and practice of school design, central theories of adolescents’ identity formation and their implications for education were examined. This review of literature led to identifying two characteristics of schools that contribute to adolescents’ identity formation: 1. A supportive environment addressing adolescents’ needs for individuation and social integration, and 2. Offering adolescents opportunities for developmental exploration. Applying the two characteristics as a basis, a brief historical review of school design in the past century was conducted in order to track the relevant changes in the history of designing spaces for learning. In addition, empirical studies in environmental psychology and architecture as well as the educational research that addresses the role of design-related variables in various dimensions of education were reviewed. In order to place the inquiry within the context of Australian education and examine the current practice of school design, fieldwork was also carried out. The fieldwork involved a study of four exemplary secondary schools in three states of Australia as well as focused interviews with school principals, professional educators, educational facilities planners and architects. The research concluded with suggesting five design principles that contribute to adolescents’ identity formation. They include ‘applying design related strategies to downsize schools’, ‘designing social spaces’, ‘considerations with regard to school furniture and its arrangement’, ‘maximising flexibility’ and ‘promoting transparency’.