Featured in the book Radical Pedagogies, “A Constructive Conversation is a set of email correspondence, between two postgraduate students, and their head of school. Within the Postgraduates state their thoughts on their experiences reviewing the undergraduate projects, stating:
“Postgraduates are in the unique position of having a broader and deeper range of knowledge than undergraduates, whilst still being able to empathise with their circumstances…we discovered we are perceived as peers rather than examiners, giving us opportunity to act as mentors to the undergraduates. Why not take advantage of this?” (Froud and Garris et al., 2015)
It is in this context, understanding the position of Postgraduate students, as both simultaneously mentor and mentee,. That this project approaches the further education (FE) sector. Understanding that our position as students also, may allow us to foster a peer to peer dynamic that would help facilitate knowledge exchange.
“A tutors relative ignorance may lead them to expect students to learn software simply from watching video tutorials” (2015)
This demonstrates that by bringing a diversity of architectural approaches and processes to the students (through each mentors differing educational routes) the mentors will be able to more effectively communicate processes that are indeed complex, such as Photoshop or CAD workflows. Additionally, in imparting their own personal experience of using the program, the mentors will be able to give advice to the students that may not have been included in simple instructional videos.
Additionally the Student Mentor paradigm allows for a great deal of critical self reflection on the part of the Mentor.
“We found ourselves repeating to others the feedback we’d previously received, we became better enabled to take an objective perspective that led to rich self-reflections between tutorials” (2015)
Throughout this project, the mentors will reflect upon how the experience has changed their own relationship with their work, and what change the Student Mentor experience precipitates within the design process. As previously discussed, whilst at the FE level, the ability to act as a student mentor in the same capacity as the postgraduates from this text is limited, due to the difference in course structure and outcomes. There is still as key opportunity to begin to introduce and incorporate architectural education practices into the classroom setting. Beginning to bridge a gap between the classroom, and the studio.
Froud, D., Harriss, H. (Eds.), 2015. Radical pedagogies: architectural education and the British tradition. RIBA publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne.