UBC Graduate Research

Repurposing Spaces in Schools to Encourage Social Interaction Amongst Students Masi, Gordon; Singh, Ektaa

Abstract

Students require spaces within schools, outside of the classroom, to interact with each other. These communal spaces, including hallways, foyers, entryways, libraries, and outdoor spaces, are informal gathering spaces for school communities. Students need to spend more time interacting in real-life social settings in order to work on their social-emotional skills. Traditionally built schools are not always designed to support this kind of interaction. Schools with older designs and growing populations mean that educators must begin to explore the potential of the space they are currently in. We wondered if and how educators are repurposing existing spaces in schools to encourage interaction amongst students. We interviewed seven participants in four different school sites and observed the repurposed spaces. We found that educators are making meaningful changes to their school spaces, which lead to an increase in social interaction. We also found that when educational leaders become more aware of the spatiality of their school settings, it is possible that they will be better equipped to enhance the quality of social interaction through repurposing initiatives, which in turn encourage spatial literacy.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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