The Schoolroom: A Social History of Teaching and Learning. By Dale Allen Gyure. History of Human Spaces. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 201. 215 p. Acid-free $39 (ISBN 978-1-4408-5037-0). E-book Available (978-1-4408-5038-7), call for pricing.

Dale Allen Gyure’s The Schoolroom: A Social History of Teaching and Learning takes an in-depth look at how the structure of schools has changed over the course of American history, starting from Colonial America to the twenty-first century. After its well laid out table of contents, there is a helpful timeline, chronicling major developments in United States education history starting in 1635 with the opening of Boston Latin Grammar School and going up to 2016 with the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the new era of school design (xv-xix). It also includes a helpful glossary that defines specific terms, such as different building plans, types of schools, and educational theories. Throughout the chapters, words found in the glossary are in bold.

Broken into four chapters, “The Schoolroom,” “The Schoolhouse,” “Objects,” and “Ancillary Spaces,” Gyure’s work takes on a journey through time in each section, showing how American and world politics, learning and teaching theory, and social norms impacted the architecture and how architecture has affected the way we teach and learn. Some pictures can be found throughout the chapters but are used more heavily in “The Schoolhouse” chapter, showing the change over time from a monumental structure to a “postwar casual school” (113). When pictures are not available or used, Gyure pays attention to detail, listing square footage and shape, windows, walls or lack thereof, ground level, and access to the outdoors. There is usually a discussion on how these classrooms were set up and the general educational theory that went behind it. This book has particular nuances that have not been placed in one single writing before. It looks at the introduction of light, ventilation, heat, and hygiene, all of which contributed to the design, structure, and use of objects, but often are not discussed in congruence with educational theory and educational reform.

This should be a standard for collections focused on education and educational theories. It may appeal to educators, architects, designers, and those with an interest in understanding how the spaces and objects we use came to be. This title would work well as a resource for courses that focus on American educational history and reform.—Kelsey Forester, Science Research & Instruction Librarian, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia


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