TEXTS ON PEDAGOGY
In the best possible case scenario, the training given to the alumni now a day has as a result a curriculum of high technologic efficiency, understood as a lack of results in teaching, due to sociological reasons, and also because of the evolution seen in the study plans for primary and high school. Such an alumni has been repetitively and punctually exercised on methods for acquiring knowledge by addition, and has been evaluated through extremely simplified processes. The teaching program is restructured in every Study Plan, ending in closed compartments, according to processes and stages every time less integrated and complete.
The result of the above is that of an alienated alumnus in an information warehouse (usually with an ideological bias) in the best case, a skilled reproducer of operative practices (rarely productive) according to stereotyped procedures, held back from the social and historic reality of their environment.
The progressive decay of the alumni education is the victim of this teaching scenario in which the whole western civilization is involved.
According to the economic liberalism in which we are inserted and its tendencies of the economy market, the university is full of this pedagogic ways. These precisely, coincide on one side with the globalization paradigm and on the other with the political amortization of alternative social models. The radicalism in the technologic efficiency of the candidates to access the system’s profile has been extreme. Applying traumatically, in the Spanish case, structures that accentuate the taxonomic methods and devertabrate the teaching process; imposing, which is even worst, space and time resources contradictory to our social, cultural and productive fabric.
In this way, the teaching program, structured in semesters (so called four month periods) due to the vacation habits of our Catholic-Mediterranean culture, end up as two or three months periods, clearly inadequate time ranges for the pedagogic work which lowers its quality and becomes stressful. The training by credits gives an incentive to, in this stressed context, the selection not of the more adequate subjects for the alumni, but of the most accessible. The department´s structure should motivate the inter-universitary offer or at least the interdisciplinary inside the same university. The deeply rooted tradition between title and the issuing education centre, makes the migration of the pedagogue not only more difficult, but unfeasible.
The superposition of the Study Plans last reforms to an institutional system of title training centres and to a class entrenched to out of date (proper before the 19th century) models, has concluded in an schizoid scene in which the alumni has seen its teaching time reduced throughout the whole career ( around 1.000 hours less than the ETSAM’S Plan 75). However, he or she has to approve twice as many subjects during the 4.500 teaching hours given.
The fact that such subjects are given in four month terms (that become three or two months) doesn’t mean they become less than the full term subjects (five to six months in our culture).
The diligent students who follow correctly their curriculum have to approve every four month term (three or two months) between 8 to 9 subjects. The students have to carefully select their elective subjects, as well as the teachers and the main program (when different options are offered) so that no more false steps are encountered besides the already problematic curriculum itinerary. But, not will only the students have to overtake this situation. The teachers must constantly develop a program which is usually fragmented from earlier and latter stages, facing students from which they don’t have more information other than the student’s evaluation chart, nor have other possibility than to pass on their knowledge through deductive methods and limit themselves to evaluate the outcome of their work with training exercises and exams.
This situation becomes irrational when, and because of the division in four-month terms (3-2 months), two examination terms are required at the end of the quoted terms. This examination terms, due to date matters (as vacations and so on), equal two months to be compared with, in the best case scenario, 6,5 teaching months; which means a 30% of the time programmed for teaching is required for carrying on all the exams and recovery tests.
The purely theoretic subjects, such as Humanities, History, Aesthetics and Legislation, could still handle to develop their programs and evaluate the students on the programmed lectures, in a not so adequate way. The scientific, technical, and the instrumental subjects as Physics, Mathematics, Construction, Technical Fittings, Drafting, Computer Science and so on are really incapable to reach, strictly speaking, a satisfactory level (not any more an excellent one) on the outcome of their programs. Taking account of the very high amount of inductive pedagogy required in the student’s knowledge training and progress.
An impeccable department and inter-department program of contents and teaching staff would alleviate this scenario, but it isn’t happening nor in the Spanish University, nor in our School.
In the projection practice, this issue dramatically reaches unacceptable pedagogic levels. Precisely speaking of the subject Architecture Project; nine three-month term Project courses are given, with an important reduction of hours in the classroom (2.5 hours less every week). It is true that the nine courses are given, but what is also true is that each one has a tighter schedule to develop its program.
If teaching is acknowledged as an apprenticeship method; teaching as a deductive methodology by which the professors transmit their knowledge (hardly obtained with the objectivity and neutrality imposed by the democratic university), if the fact that the students will receive this knowledge with diligence and can be evaluated with exams and exercises is also taken, and all this is accepted as an optimal way of entitling a pupil, it seems obvious that the result of such a pedagogic practice will lead to a schizoid and invertebrated scholastic scenario. Scenario in which, the desired integration level of the knowledge mentioned, not only among different subjects but between the different terms of a same subject, prove to be very troublesome to reach. (Especially difficult if it aims the objectivity and neutrality the democratic architecture must impose)
If the methodology used is mainly inductive, that which is based in the student’s experience to enunciate and establish the knowledge becomes certainly and physically unfeasible. An adequate training level that enables the students to continue with the next term (with different program, staff and methods) can’t be reached, even less with a 30 students per teacher rate, which diminishes the relationship and understanding between student-teacher.
The mentioned issue really has insuperable connotations if the objective of our current pedagogy is forming an architect for a creative work (even if the creativity threshold is diminished). The constantly stated lack of space-time given by the operative Study Plan to the three-month term subject is only made worst because of the current university student’s evolution towards the technologically efficient profile, in order to be entitled for their latter recycling through postgraduate degrees. During the education of the school students that now enter our faculty the formation objectives haven’t had any value or priority. They’ve become experts in lineal methodologies for problem setting à solving (according to taught methods, sometimes learned) à answer – evaluation- capacitation… problem setting à etc, etc.
The pedagogy must over all pay attention to the rightly formed proffesional training, one that is capable of succesfully face, not only the studios’ simulated situations (and the analogous ones brought up in pratice) but also those unexpected, introduced by a changing reality in its future proffecional practice. This means: forming the ability to react, aside from the references and methods acquired during the school proccess.
The architect’s formation demands an integrated, but not uniform, pedagogy through out the whole Study Plan and ineludible in the projectual practice. The professors’ school organized in vertical workshops around them won’t be reivindicated, but a projectual practice according to pedagogical techniques that cover the whole schooling program. One that through resourses, media, objectives and sufficency levels to be reached, gives room and freedom to diverging positions, even contradictory ones about the conceptual and cultural contents of reference coming from the different staff teaching the respective horizontal or vertical block.
In this exposition there is no distinction between the architectural and urban project, because the boundaries between both areas are mostly formal and scholar (the same way no difference is made between the equipment and building projects). This is about acting upon the human environment and its multi-disciplinary context. (Sociological, environmental, technological, legal, etc.)
If a new model of school is made, the disciplinary integration will be intelligible, desired and feasible. This model should have dimensions and ratios professor-student, used m2- student, resources-student, etc, such that it will allow giving all the subjects in one classroom, subjects which require deductive as well as inductive methodologies, and in which the students’ formation on the projection practice would be tutored by the whole teaching staff, to a higher or lower extent. Therefore the teaching staff will acquire a tutoring condition on the projection practice accentuating his or her involvement in the subject originally and specifically given.
Moreover, this classroom would also be useful for extra-curricular, extra-schooling and extra-disciplinary support. (Professionals and teaching staff in social and human sciences, visual and plastic arts, external architects and so on.)
The evaluations won’t depend on the exams mechanism, but on a continuous and transparent system adequate for the subjects’ program and the projection practice.
A different or partially shared teaching staff would correspond to different cultural alternatives. The intermediate stages, and above all, the last stages would become general discussion spaces on the students’ projection documents production. The students’ scientific and technological training would be evaluated, as done right now with the PFC (graduation project), over their own projection work.
Many training centers around the world work like this ( University of Illinois, Bartlet School in London, etc.) Why wouldn’t this be feasible in the ETSAM?
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