Our classrooms, ourselves

Max Page’s eloquent appreciation of the less-readily lovable modernist buildings on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus is a convincing argument for why we should, in essence, teach the campus (“Brutal beauty,” Ideas, March 24). Academic buildings say a lot about us and what we value, and students would benefit from understanding more about the milieu in which they are learning.

In our efforts, let us not overlook the buildings’ interiors. Classrooms built to support lecture-based teaching are as outmoded as the red-brick, neo-Georgian knockoff exteriors enveloping them.

Human beings learn by exploration, by guided inquiry, by using their bodies and their immediate environments. As we preserve our important and fascinating past, let’s make sure we also allow our buildings, particularly our classrooms, to evolve along with our understanding of what best promotes student learning.

Sarah Kuhn


The writer is a psychology professor at University of Massachusetts Lowell.