chapter  2
33 Pages

The aims of the designed environment

Steps 1, 2 and 3
ByYoram Harpaz

Proper design of an educational environment begins by defining and justifying an educational aim—the wellspring of all educational thinking and action. This is the subject of the first three steps. In the educational discourse there are three educational meta-narratives or paradigms: education as socialization—to adapt students to society and work; education as acculturation—to mould students’ characters according the values of the preferred culture; and education as individuation—to enable each student to fulfil him or herself. The argument presented is that the three meta-narratives are mutually exclusive and that effective educational design demands the “tragic choice” of one of the paradigms from which all other elements of the educational environment will logically and necessarily flow. The next step is for designers to create a customized version of the meta-narrative they have chosen—to invent their own original pedagogical story. A “community of designers” is the proposed scaffold to promote this effort, whereby the community poses a “fertile question,” derives from it “research questions,” and consolidates its answers in a “concluding performance.” Describing the product of the designed educational environment—the educated person or the desired graduate—consolidates the efforts of the previous steps. The description is accomplished systematically by reference to four categories: knowledge, skills, character traits and attitudes. The chapter demonstrates how the content of each of these categories varies depending on the meta-narrative chosen in Step 1 and unique narrative invented in Step 2.