For many moons, education has been the essence of a society. It uplifts, liberates, and builds the character of society. Since the time of Ramayan and Takshila education has been known as a penance. But nowadays, it has become a business and manufactures young adults who have less practical knowledge and no orientation towards research, but a degree in hand. So what is the reason behind this imbalance? It is because of the lack of innovating and evolving our pedagogy. Let’s quote Hyman Bass “Pedagogy is like language itself which can either liberate or imprison ideas, inspire or suffocate constructive thinking.” According to the Oxford Dictionary, pedagogy is the “study of the teaching methods.” Thus a good pedagogy methodology will help create a collaborative atmosphere in the classroom and cordial relation between the educator and the student. Pedagogy is very different from the curriculum, a curriculum elaborates on the lessons to be taught and pedagogy is the methodology behind conveying these lessons. An ideal pedagogy approach shapes the professional in an amateur and allows him to grow into a problem solver, then be it in his personal or professional endeavors. Isn’t that the purpose of education? Well, architecture has always been an application-oriented field. It is known as the mother of arts and includes bits and pieces from various disciplines. It would not be wrong to say that in the coming times, the built-up environment and infrastructure will shape economies and societies, making architects the harbingers. Hence it is essential to work on the nuances of architectural education.
Referring to the historical precedents, the first school of architecture to provide training for the same was the “Academie des Beaux-Arts” founded by Cardinal Mazarin in 1648. It trained students in drawing, painting, sculpture, and architecture. Architecture education gained momentum with the onset of Bauhaus, which was established by Walter Gropius in Germany, and then many schools were originated all over the world, with learning outcomes that produced professionals who are complex problem solvers with their rationality and technical know-how in place.
Architectural pedagogy is complex and needs to bring out the subjectivity of thought amongst the learner. Along with technical knowledge, it should equip them with various soft skills and knowledge of design aids, with their ethics in place. The learners need to understand the importance of sustainability and designing for future generations. It is rightly said that the best way to learn is to do and the worst way to teach is to talk. Architectural pedagogy needs to evolve from old traditional methods to modern methods. To accomplish all of that, it becomes mandatory to apprehend the process of design. According to the earliest literature of architecture, written by Vitruvius, known as De Architectura, a worthy design is a genetic makeup of three factors which are firmness, commodity, and delight. These three factors are inter-related and cannot function in solitude. For a good design, the effective pedagogy would be to bridge the gap between the technical and the non-technical aspects of the architecture curriculum. The technical subjects being Architecture Design, Building Design and Construction, Structures, and non-technical subjects being History of Architecture, Design Thinking, Visual Arts, and Theory of Architecture. Cohesive studio classes can be held, where professors from different subjects are allowed to interact and encourage the students to widen their imaginative horizons. These classes will also help students become tolerant and humble professionals, as architecture is a field that invites outsourcing from many other disciplines as well.
Another important role that pedagogy plays is to ignite imagination and observation in the student. Architecture is all about these two factors. In an architect, good observation helps his imagination to unfold and produce novel pieces of art. Various exercises that include listening to music, or reading a book, or watching a movie can rekindle the flame of imagination and break his monotony of textbooks and classes. Awareness and observation can only increase by exposure, thus the site visits, field trips, and tours are a fun way to socialize and learn at the same time. An internship is another important feather in the process of effective learning. It is a reality check that helps the students to become aware of the field and apply their theoretical and practical knowledge. It gives a first-hand experience to an individual, giving a lesson in many traits essential for this field like teamwork, smart work, client coordination, design execution, design presentation, and many others.
To conclude, the shift from old traditional methods of teaching to new contemporary ones is a must. This pandemic has already pushed the mentors to find fresh interesting ways to communicate lessons to learners through innovative mediums. Let’s hope that these do not diminish when the going gets better and we all are back to studios and lecture halls. Also, without pedagogy, architecture education will always remain inadequate and will create modular professionals with nothing new to add.