Book Review: The Third Teacher

The Third Teacher is a book about designing physical and mental spaces in schools. It was written by a group of designers who are passionate about education and community action. The book itself is a beautiful work of art, wonderfully put together and pleasing on the senses.

I found myself oscillating between being:

a) totally and utterly inspired
b) angry and disagreeing
c) living in a world of budget-less wonder that does not exist in most schools

It is well worth the read, even if there is nothing really that new here. It is a collection of research that teachers have known about for a long time but together in a pleasing way. That being said, if you are building a school from the ground up, or re-positioning a school for the 21st century, this would be a wonderful resource to go back to time and time again. It contains some great interviews with experts in various fields, and gives a picture of a very different and modern way of education that is inspiring, if not occasionally frustrating.

I loved:

a) the part about color in school
b) the use of outdoor spaces
c) the connection to the local community
d) the look and design of the book

I did not love:

a) the philosophy of the purpose of school (which was contradictory and mixed with clashing metaphors)
b) thinking about how much money this would cost a school on a tight budget
c) the lack of other examples to illustrate points (usually only one example and then onto the next point, made it rushed)


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