Facilitating critically reflective learning: excavating the role of the design tutor in architectural education | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1474-273X
  • E-ISSN: 2040-0896


Architecture was one of the first professions to use project-based learning as the central pedagogic tool in the education of its trainees and the modern architectural curriculum continues to place project-based learning, as represented by the design project, at its core. Critical reflection, understood as a key element of project-based learning, is normally built into the process of student learning in the design studio through requiring students to continually reflect on their work both alone and with others, most significantly with design tutors in the one-to-one tutorial.Yet, given the theoretical importance placed on the one-to-one tutorial and the ‘Januslike’ nature of student experiences, i.e. extremely rewarding for some students and profoundly unsatisfactory for others, there has been surprisingly little research focused on the tutor-student relationship in the design tutorial. This paper reports on the results of a small qualitative crosssectional study that attempted to excavate and understand student experiences of the tutor’s role in one-to-one design tutorials. The study employed ethnographic-type research tools and methods of analysis in an attempt to reveal students’ ‘lived’ experiences. The research findings suggested that students experienced three principal types of tutor behaviour; ‘the entertainer’, ‘the hegemonic overlord’ and ‘the liminal servant’ and that they believed that that only the ‘liminal servant’ increased their motivation and supported their learning. The implications of these findings for architectural educators are discussed.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error