טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentEshel Doron
SubjectMental Models of Architectural Design Students - An
Inter-Cultural Study
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor Professor Emeritus Gabriela Goldschmidt
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

This research focuses on the effects that a student's cultural background has on his/her ability to share mental models with his/her teacher. The idea that people perceive themselves and their environment by creating in their mind simplified and abstract models of reality is a centre of scientific interest in recent years. These models, called mental models, are largely based on experience and observation and therefore are affected by the environment in which a person grows up. It is clear that the cultural background of team members has a critical significance fot both model contents and degree of sharedness. Given the nature of the work conducted in the design studio, student and teacher are seen as a team. Examination of the architectural education process through the perspective of mental models of these team members - their content, sharedness, etc. - may lead to insights that could improve the communication between the two parties in the design education team, thus increasing the benefits the student could draw from the learning experience.

The research examines the mental models of two groups of architecture students belonging to different native cultures defined by language: Hebrew-speakers and Arabic-speakers. These students study Architecture and Interior Design in a technicians' college. While college classes have a balanced composition of students (40% Hebrew-Speakers, 40% Arabic-Speakers, 20% Russian-Speakers), there is a clear majority of Hebrew-Speakers among teachers. The research examines the mental models these students hold regarding architectural education and architecture in general at different points along the course of their studies. This is done in an attempt to determine whether differences between these two groups exist, and to what extent, if any, these differences change over time.

The research uses a quantitative, questionnaire-based, approach that examines various aspects, behavioural and stylistic, of the mental models held by students in the architectural design studio.

An analysis of students' answers to the questionnaire shows that, regarding the aspects being examined, groups of students belonging to different cultures did come to the college with differences in their mental models, and that the gaps and differences are considerably diminished by the end of the learning process.