Experience with Architectural Pedagogy
Over the last two years, I've had the privilege of being a faculty member at two of the most premier architectural education institutes of Delhi, maybe even the whole country. My experiences of 'Prime' are documented here.
Over the last two years, I've had the privilege of being a faculty member (visiting) at two of the most premier public architecture schools of the country. My experience was thus;
Pedagogy has hardly evolved over the last decade, since I was myself a student in 2009. The methods, concerns and discourses are still the same, which is especially bothersome given the fact that even we felt (and later discovered) that a lot of it was irrelevant and redundant back then.
Having been exposed to higher education in the U.K., at what was arguably the best institution in the world, it is dismal to see how disorganized our premier institutes are. There is complete lack of structuring of learning objectives, outcomes and deliverables for the students, both at the institute and grade levels. Every faculty has almost complete discretion, which leads to directionless courses, and immense stress for the students. I find it hard to believe that institutes are unable to codify something as basic as learning outcomes and exercises, and provide structured guidance to students, and faculty.
This trickles into scheduling. There is hardly a semblance of punctuality. Time lines are lax, and extremely flexible, leaving those students who respect timelines, often dejected.
Production methods being practiced are now becoming archaic, to be honest. The world is moving on to explorations with AR, VR, MR, 3D printing and what not, while our institutions are still fussing and romanticizing about hand drawings and print outs. The students should really be receiving guidance on using new media. As a professional who is running a practice that is consulting with architects and other stakeholders on cutting edge design and management tech, I can say this with utmost confidence and dismay, that contemporary production methods are extremely under rated in pedagogy, which is continuously pushing us at the back of global competition.
There is a general hesitation and incumbency towards adoption of technology, at a management and policy level. Most of the issues in organization, conduction, management etc. can be easily handled using simple cloud tools, apart from tech skill itself as a learning outcome for students. This is also a major reason for these institutions struggling to operate in today's pandemic hit conditions, when technology has become indispensable for pedagogy. Managing teaching would have been a lot easier today, had our institutions been familiar with the kind of technology that is available to assist education.
In terms of content, there is very little discussion on current concerns such as air quality, materials, climate change, COP and Paris agreement targets, or any new research happening globally. Instead, students are pushed to deep study subject matter from engineering, sociology, political science, economics and other specialized fields, which often leads to a pure theoretical understanding of utopian architecture.
Lastly, there is not much room for new and young faculty to induce these changes. Majority of experienced faculty have fixed ideas of how pedagogy should be delivered, and new opinions, though respected on the face, are hardly given appropriate weight. This also stems from the fact that public institutions are bound by experience requirements for hiring faculty, and have almost zero interaction with new paradigms in the industry.
I must mention that this is a personal view and critique, based on my experiences as a student growing into a young professional, learning and working in and with international professionals. In my short teaching sojourn, I have had the honor of teaching with the people I was taught by. Albeit, this experience is extremely limited, and this opinion might not be universally applicable.
I do hope to be able to make positive contributions in this direction, now or in the future.