RETHINKING THE SCHOOL: A NEW MODEL FOR SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO
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More than a century ago school buildings started to change from a home-like building to a more industrial type. In order to standardize the learning process, a classroom layout that promotes only one type of learning activity while ignoring the compound nature of learning has been created. This layout has promoted a school model that not only repeatedly disregards the building, the site, and the community but also resembles a prison. For decades, research has discouraged use of the "traditional" classroom as the only space for learning yet most school buildings have not responded to that change. In different countries, experimentation with the school building and classroom architecture responds to the necessities of the students. What should be the next step in designing pedagogical environments?
In the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico, the public school system has reasonable numbers of students in the classrooms. Although the Department of Education philosophy has started to define some progressive pedagogical ideas, there is no strong articulation of the role of the school building to achieve these. This means that the problem might lie in the architecture of the building rather than overcrowded schools. The goal of this thesis is to produce a model that creates a learning environment that responds to the different natures of the students so that they can become active participants in their education and, eventually, a generation of critical thinkers for the country.