Message - Re: learning is a life time process

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Posted by  Paul Malo on September 26, 2002 at 07:16:23:

In Reply to:  learning is a life time process posted by BRUTUS on September 26, 2002 at 05:04:59:

Yes, the word "education" is derived from the Latin, "to draw out." Education is not so much cramming information into the student as encouraging the student to seek not merely information, but values to guide qualitative judgment. This is particularly true in architecture, which is highly qualitative rather than quantitative.

If schools indoctrinate students with a certain mode of design, they shut the door to continuing education. We get architects designing buildings the way they were supposed to be fifty years earlier. But schools generally try to focus on certain ways of doing things, simply from pragmatic necessity of teaching SOMETHING,

What we really convey (hopefully) is not technique alone--HOW to do someing--but values, considering issues of WHAT should be done. But again, if the teaching is totally normative, conveying an orthodox code of values, the door becomes shut. Better is to try to convey the CULTURE OF ARCHITECTURE, in the broadest sense of what has been done, why it was done, and what others are thinking about today in architecture. This may not provided much direction for a design studio, but the student leaves with a broader vision, more open to alternatives in the future.

Regarding the "drawing out" process, this is known as the "Socratic method," which is to ask questions--not merely to give answers. Probably the best design critic I had as a student was not much of a designer, but was infuriating because he kept asking nuisance questions. I didn't appreciate this at the time, when what I wanted was admiration for my work.

When the door is open, we continue to learn. Of course, some people like to think the know it all, even as students, let alone as practicing architects. They're the ones that quickly acquire a bag of tricks, repeating them for decades, even after the tricks have ceased to work well.

You're right about learning outside of school. I had read every book available in local libraries about architecture before entering a school of architecture, and spent as much time in the architecture library at school as in the design studio. In contrast, we keep getting queries from many students on this web site that suggest they don't even know where to find a library.

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