Home Education Knowledge and Action
There were significant differences in the way the participants in the five sessions initially oriented themselves to the space. Whereas the Orientation configuration in Session 2 was characterized by huddling—with the participants remaining almost frozen in one spot for the whole time—the video recordings of Sessions 1, 3, and 5 show the people moving around and physically exploring the space.
In each case this configuration was initiated by someone suggesting that the participants sit or by someone bringing chairs out. The Meeting Mode seemed to be a way of reducing the size of the room and establishing a known set of behavioral rules in the undifferentiated space offered in the studio. We observed that once participants had positioned themselves in the Meeting Mode it was difficult for them to break out of that configuration and do anything besides talk. Only in Session 3 did no Meeting-Mode configuration come about.
The Expansion configuration usually followed the Meeting Mode, but it formed in very different ways, took different amounts of time, and led to different configurations. In Session 1 Expansion began after participants had been in a Meeting Mode for over an hour. One of the participants stood up and began exploring the studio space by walking around and playing his musical instrument (a small mouth organ) at different points in the space. Researcher 1 joined in, using some of the furniture in the room for drumming. The other participants stood up, moved out of the circle of chairs, and observed what was happening. After a few minutes, however, the participants returned to the same circle of chairs, and the group appeared to revert to the Meeting Mode. There was no change in their position in the room or in their spatial relation to each other. Nor was there any sustained change in their use of the physical space. In Session 5 there was a brief Expansion when one of the participants got up from his chair and walked to the center of the room with Researcher 1 to illustrate how he would redesign the space. However, the other participants remained in their places, and everyone returned to the Meeting Mode after a few moments.
In Session 4 Expansion was quite lengthy, lasting approximately 45 min. It began with a sudden burst of movement into singing, dancing, drumming, wandering around the room, and working with the art materials. For the most part the participants carried out these actions separately—each one doing his or her own thing. After about 2 min the participants began to reconfigure themselves, interacting with each other one-on-one or wandering around the room and looking at what others were doing. Gradually, they formed into a single group around paper and materials that the researchers had placed on the floor in the center of the room. The participants then shifted into the Creation configuration, talking around the paper and starting to use the art materials. In Session 3 the participants went directly from Orientation into Expansion—sitting on the floor and playing with materials as they talked.
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