Pedagogical Examination of an Award-Winning Instructor’s Studio Teaching

Publication Title

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal

Publication Date


Document Type



excellence in studio teaching, design studio, teaching pedagogy


Architecture | Other Architecture


Design studio, as a core of architectural education, has been a significant topic for research in the field of architecture. However, there is little research on teachers and their pedagogical approach to teaching, such as what constitutes excellent teaching in the design studio. This may be due to the complexity of the study topic and a rigorous research procedure. Since the day-to-day education does not allow for immediate responses, it is difficult to find out which strategies, tactics, and techniques impact students’ learning and advancement without being in the studio context for a sufficient period of time.
This paper attempts to understand how outstanding instructors (i.e., those who have won teaching awards) guide, coach, and teach students in the design studio. As a part of a larger quest, a case study of one professor, who received teaching awards from his university several times, was conducted at a midwestern university. Observations of the instructor’s design studio were conducted once a week for a semester, and interviews were conducted with the instructor, regarding his teaching philosophy. In addition, interviews with 10 students were carried out to understand how such guidance is experienced by the students and how the instructor’s feedback influenced the students’ design evolution.
The findings of this study have three facets: (a) interpersonal attitudes of the instructor toward students; (b) the way the instructor conveys his knowledge; and (c) strategies the instructor uses to guide students’ design evolution. The findings provide a rich description of good studio teaching based on various channels— from students’ voices, the teacher’s voice, and the researcher’s experience as well as observation of the instructor’s studio. In addition, it is expected the findings may provide pedagogic strategies for educators who want to improve studio teaching for architectural students.

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