The open classroom/open education movement is considered long ended in the United States (Lackney 1994) and in other countries. Problems related to the open classrooms included noise and distraction, and that the open plan, roughly speaking, did not improve students' achievements. Perhaps the biggest problem was the confusion and unfit of openness of the physical environment and openness of the program. Open design and open education did not always occur together (Gump 1980) and traditional teaching often continued in open classrooms (Lackney). In Japan, the open classroom is a current issue. Architecturally open schools, usually with a set of classrooms with uninterrupted connections to a so-called 'open space', continue to be built at present day and have become a normal plan type (Ueno, 1994). There is much criticism today that teaching too often remains traditional in open plan schools but disguised in a seemingly open atmosphere (Sato 1999; Itoh 2002a; 2002b). However, the openness of the physical environment has never been questioned. School culture is a significant factor. Noise is not always a disturbance but often considered a source of stimulation and feeling of solidarity. The open milieu is considered educatory in the sense that children can learn to concentrate and behave well in group life (Itoh). Architectural research on open classrooms/open spaces in Japan have tended to look into the possibilities it provides for teaching and practical needs of progressive teaching, choosing schools where open space/education settings were exceptionally well-fit. This means that there is a lack of information about a large number of more typical open classroom schools where the spaces are probably not as well functioning as in the progressive schools. There is a need to grasp the present conditions of these schools and evaluate the design of classrooms and open spaces. It is also necessary to view open spaces as a cultural setting. This study aims to fill this void by investigating space-use patterns, teachers' attitudes and cultural values in both progressive and normal open schools. Questionnaires will be distributed to elementary schools with open classrooms in a number of municipalities in the greater Tokyo area asking teachers about patterns of use (how often and for which subjects/activities are open spaces used?), teaching style, why they use (or not use) open spaces, teachers' evaluation of spatial openness. Interviews and observations will be conducted in selected schools if allowed. Actuality of the use of open spaces will be analyzed and the meaning from a socio-cultural perspective will be discussed including the following points:- Relation with class size: The more children there are in one class, the more difficult it becomes to survey and control children if they are spread out in a large space. Therefore it is hypothesized that if the class size is larger, children will be kept in the classroom more. Then, open spaces would be used less in crowded schools where space is needed more while children in less crowded schools will have even more space to use. This means that calculated space and actual used space per person would differ, requiring rethinking of classroom design in terms of density.- Control: Japanese teachers tend to delegate control to children and minimize teacher control (Lewis 1989; Usui 2001). Does this encourage using open spaces because it requires children's self-control more than closed classrooms?- Perception and values of spatial openness: How much emphasis on psychological, non-academic values of spatial openness will teachers express? To what extent will the perception impact the use of space?Results will be compared with existing literature on open plan schools in the United States and other countries.