Design Studio Hidden Curriculum by Thomas Dutton


It refers to those unstated values, attitudes, and norms which stem tacitly from the social relations of the school and classroom as well as the content of the course (…) It does not refer to content per se but to the content ideology amd the practices that structure student and teacher experiences (…) a vehicle through which critical analysis reveals the dialectical relationship between knowledge, culture, social relations, and forms of power within society and within the process of schooling (…) In sum, the notion of the hidden curriculum constitutes one ofthe “most important conceptual tools” with which to analyze and critique educational institutions in terms of the knowledge forms that are produced, and the ongoing social practices that are formed to disseminate such knowledge.

The Hidden Curriculum & Studio Knowledge: to talk about knowledge is to talk about power. Dominant and subordinate forms of knowledge. (i.e the voices for a social architecture are weak, what prevails is an aesthetic concern) (…) This points to the pressures and practices of prominent institutions that bear on the profession to influence its direction. As these institutions necessitate physical manifestation they seek forms and languages through which their power will be communicated and legitimized.

The Hidden Curriculum & Social Relations: the structure of the studio mirrors the structure of most contemporary workplaces (…) hierarchy obviates the presence of dialog (…) Usually structured in vertical relations, teachers tend to speak in ways (often unconsciously) that legitimize their power and students orient their speech and work to that which is approved (…) competition tends to promote the belief that ideas are unique, to be nurtured individually, closely guarded, and heavily protected against stealing (…) students think they must work alone, or with those who see the world similarly to ensure the “purity” of ideas. Design in this view is legitimized as a self-indulgent activity, negating cooperation and compromise as possible vehicles for good design



Dutton, Th., 1987, ‘Design and Studio Pedagogy’, in Journal of Architectural Education (1984-), Vol. 41, No. 1. (Autumn, 1987), pp. 16-25.

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  1. Pingback: AJ Survey shows high percentages of mental health problems among students of architecture | connecting data to information to knowldge

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