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The influence of child self-directed learning on the built environment: towards a primary school in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo.

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The contemporary architecture of learning environments in the city of Lubumbashi still supports a system of education that has been proven to limit passion and creativity in children. This system emerged during the first industrial revolution as Europe was adopting the process of mass production in manufacturing. The revolution came with a great demand for factory labour that contributed to transforming education into an act of predominantly transferring knowledge, hence creating a parallelism between teaching and factory production. Coupled with regional factors, the association of school with factories in Lubumbashi resulted in a type of places of learning with spatial qualities that do not account for the individual and the collective aspect of learning in children. Subsequently, formal, and restrictive spaces became the norm in primary schools such that children are not motivated about conventional schools. Therefore, this work looks at alternative ways of designing primary schools by exploring the relationship between the pedagogy of child self-directed learning (CSDL) and the built environment, within the context of Lubumbashi. To achieve this aim, the research starts with the question of How child self-directed can influence the Built Environment To understand the ontological relationship between education and built form, the research is primarily situated in an interpretive (constructivist) paradigm. Therefore, primary, and secondary data has been processed from an integral theory that includes the different aspect of human experience of the built environment. While experiential learning theory was applied to provide depth to the human experience, critical regionalism theory was employed to underline the contextual aspect school. Hence, two case studies were analysed. The first school, which is in Lubumbashi, has been studied for the purpose of understanding contextual factors that influence the architecture of the learning environment. The second school, which is in Durban, helped empirically explore the relationship between child self-directed learning and the built environment. Finally, this work demonstrates that the relationship between Child self-directed learning and the built environment reveals new spatial conditions that integrate the individual, the collective and the contextual aspect of leaning.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.