My original question when thinking about the topic of classroom layout was in fact: Is there an optimal layout that can facilitate student concentration in a classroom? Gradually my research helped me make my question open to more interpretation. I have found out that there is not one optimal layout in a classroom but that layout should be a dynamic parameter in the classroom. I have also learned that concentration is not the only in-class factor influencing a student’s learning abilities: there is also participation for example. I therefore reoriented my research with the question, as initially formulated in my first post: How does classroom layout affect student attention and behavior? This question has allowed me to look at student/classroom interactions, different methods for assessing attention and behavior, and compare several different studies.
Several subquestions have emerged:
- How can a teacher captivate their students’ attention best in a classroom environment? (opening my research to other parameters such as charisma, types of activities, and assigned seating),
- What are the spacial constraints faced by teachers in their classrooms? (such as the influence of the size of the class, shape of the class, exposition, and number of students), some answers were provided in the 2012 study by P. Barrett,
- Can the position of the teacher have an influence on student attention and behavior? (at a desk on the side, behind the students or traditionally in front at the board), to which I have not found documented answers.
My main question has attempted to regroup the different actors implicated: educational scientists since it sheds light on cause and effect and teachers since it can provide insight on effective teaching methods. The question results from Rosenfield’s famous 1985 study and other answers can be found in more recent studies as well as educational blogs. It has potential social impact to influence generations of students, as well as economic impact to improve educational efficiency.