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CFC: Teaching-Learning Ecologies - Spaces and Politics of Education

Spaces and Politics of Education

-Fred Dervin
University of Helsinki, Finland (multicultural education)
-Yasmine Abbas
Research Associate – ENSA Paris-La-Villette, GERPHAU LAVUE 7218
Research Associate – University of Geneva, Institute of Environmental Sciences – Globalization, Urban Planning, Governance

How should we learn to be prepared for a hypermobile world, where physical, mental and digital shifts become mainstream, where people from different horizons (are made to) meet and mix? What contributes to teach individuals how to adapt to unforeseen situations and to become innovative and influential in relation to the world’s interculturality, but also to its environment, knowledge and economy?

It is the intention of this volume to tell a narrative about what makes successful learning ecologies and thus education effectiveness. In the contexts of compulsory education, higher education, further education and lifelong learning, the design of spaces and the built environment matter as much as the politics of education. As such spaces and buildings do have social, political and educational functions, which cannot be ignored: they are never impartial. With the increase in online education, learning ecology becomes even more complex. What key aspects should actors involved in education (not) take into account?

Spaces of education need to perform and contribute to the larger agenda set by politics. For example, education should be provided by taking into account a diversity of actors (learners, educators, parents, decision-makers…) from different backgrounds and with different needs and power, whose points of view on what education is about might also differ. Today the notion of diversity pervades business, tourist, media and education discourses. Though it often signifies essentially the foreign other, in this call for chapters diversity is pluralized (diversities) and refers to diversities ‘within’ the Nation-State and from ‘outside’ the Nation-State. Diversities within can be based on language, geographical space (countries, regions, cities), but also gender, worldview, social position, and/or the combination of all these. Diversities concern people but also spaces and/or objects - any of which can become an actant of learning ecosystems.

In our times of accelerated globalization one may want to ask if there is such a thing as national learning ecology? If this is the case, what do we do with international/supranational exchange programs, educational institutions and online/distance learning? Another question could be: what about the “intercultural” and/or diversities, (how) are they represented in educational buildings/design?

The main interest is in the potential influences of diversities on how educational institutions are designed and constructed. For example, are migrant children or learners taken into account when designing or decorating a classroom (Shanon & Cunnigham, 2009)? What about ergonomics for the disabled (Martins & Freire Gaudiot, 2012)? Besides as delivering courses within online virtual worlds such as 3D Virtual Learning Environments (3D VLES) is becoming more and more common, how do diversities fare in these contexts (Saleeb, 2012; Ogan, 2012)?

As education is also becoming more and more transnational, a new trend in education is to export it. Can educational architecture and design be exported? If yes, can they just be transferred elsewhere or do they need to be modified?

Interested authors may wish to tackle any of the following issues:
-How can learning ecology contribute to the success of all learners?
-(How) do design and architecture for diversities in education affect learning (Fisher, 2010)?
-How can learning ecology contribute to a move from teacher-centeredness to student-centeredness? Can it allow more differentiation?
-Is there a link between classroom design, diversities and curricula?
-How do learners and teachers perceive diverse design and architecture in educational contexts? What are the potential impacts on their identities?
-Who decides who is represented in design and architecture? Parents? Teachers? Students? Decision-makers? Etc. Whose needs are taken into account?
-Is there a special link between e.g. special needs education, inter-/multicultural education and learning ecology?
-Does/can mobile education take into account diversities?
-What about learning and mobility/migration: mobile schools, the city as a classroom, distance learning, etc.?
-What is the history of learning ecologies? For example how did the open-classroom movement, which originated from Britain, fare? What is left of it?

1. Proposal to be submitted: September 20th 2012
Authors are invited to submit in English a proposal including a 300-word abstract, a basic bibliography and a short biography of the author(s). Please send proposals to both editors by September 20th 2012: & The proposals should clearly explain the theoretical positioning and concerns of the proposed chapter and include a short description of a corpus – where applicable.

2. Full chapters to be submitted: January 15th, 2012
The collection of chapters will be published with Cambridge Scholars Publishing (series: Post-intercultural Communication and Education, cf.