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Based on the authors teaching experience, this essay presents an example of how the traditional design studio might be modified so as to foster democratic participation and egalitarian communication between the participating students and instructors. Open communication in the studio is seen as the key to incorporating important values such as collaboration, community and respect for the every day environment into the studio's hidden curriculum. The essay begins by discussing the potentials for and obstacles to meaningful communication in the studio. This discussion is followed by a description of a modified studio project that included continuous role-playing on the part of the students. The final discussion outlines and evaluates how these modifications enabled students to use previous knowledge and everyday language and permitted the discussion of topics not usually debated in the studio. The students, in their assumed roles, became critics, clients and members of a team of designers. Hence these changes influenced the distribution of power in the studio and the students gained more control over their learning experience.

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