How Teachers in Elementary Schools Evaluate Their Classroom Environments: An Evaluation of Functions of the Classroom Through an Environmental Approach
Keywords:Perception of teachers, classroom environment, functions of the classroom, environmental conditions, environmental competence
Understanding the educational environment and effectively regulating it in consistent with educational objectives is an important factor in facilitating teaching and a crucial ability for the teachers. Investigating the perception of 12 classroom teachers at four elementary schools about their classroom environment, this study aims to reveal the situation about their classroom environment, its effects, and the desired classroom environment in terms of the functions of the classroom environment. Two analytical frameworks, Classroom Functions Theory as well as Environmental Competence, are means to understand this topic. A semi-structured interview form and an observation form were used as data collection instruments. In the study, it was observed that the majority of teachers were able to evaluate the classroom environment, but they remained unsolved about how the classroom can be designed better. Besides, the teachers stated that their classroom environments performed social, symbolic identity, and task instrumentality functions in a limited way for various reasons while largely functioning the shelter and security. Finally, the teachers emphasized that their classes did not fulfill growth and pleasure functions and that most of their desires about the classroom environment were related to these functions.
Allen, D. E., Duch, B. J. and Groh, S. E. (1996) ʻThe power of problem‐based learning in teaching ıntroductory science coursesʼ, New Directions for Teaching and Learning, Vol. 68, pp. 43–52. https://doi.org/10.1002/tl.37219966808
Amirul, N. J., Ahmad, C. N., Yahya, A. F., Abdullah, M. F. N. L., Noh, N. M. and Adnan, M. (2013) ʻThe physical classroom learning environmentʼ, Proceedings of the 2nd International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Conference, (ICTL 2013), Savak, pp. 1–9.
Anderson, K. (2004) ʻThe problem of classroom acoustics: The typical classroom soundscape is a barrier to learningʼ, Semin Hear, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 117–129. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2004-828663
Asino, T. I. and Pulay, A. (2019) ʻStudent perceptions on the role of the classroom environment on computer supported collaborative learningʼ, TechTrends, No. 63, No. 2, pp. 179–187. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-018-0353-y
Asiyai, R. (2014) ʻStudents' perception of the condition of their classroom physical learning environment and ıts impact on their learning and motivationʼ, College Student Journal, Vol. 48, No. 4, pp. 714–723.
Barrett, P., Davies, F., Zhang, Y. and Barrett, L. (2017) ʻThe holistic impact of classroom spaces on learning in specific subjectsʼ, Environment and Behavior, Vol 49, No. 4, pp 425–451. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013916516648735
Barrett, P., Davies, F., Zhang, Y. and Barrett, L. (2015) ʻThe impact of classroom design on pupils' learning: Final results of a holistic, multi-level analysisʼ, Building and Environment, Vol. 89, pp. 118–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.BUILDENV.2015.02.013
Baum, E. J. (2018) ʻLearning space design and classroom behaviorʼ, International Journal of Learning Teaching and Educational Research, Vol. 17, No, 9, pp. 34–53. https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.17.9.3
Blatchford, P., Russell, A., Bassett, P., Brown, P. and Martin, C. (2007) ʻThe effect of class size on the teaching of pupils aged 7–11 yearsʼ, School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 147–172. https://doi.org/10.1080/09243450601058675
Brophy, J. (1988) ʻEducating teachers about managing classrooms and studentsʼ, Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 1–18. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0742-051X(88)90020-0
Burden, P. R. (2000) Powerful classroom management strategies: Motivating students to learn. California: Corwin Press.
Burke, K. and Burke-Samide, B. (2004) ʻRequired changes in the classroom environment: It's a matter of designʼ, The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, Vol. 77, No. 6, pp. 236–240. https://doi.org/10.3200/TCHS.77.6.236-240
Cardellino, P., Araneda, C. and Alvarado, R. G. (2017) ʻClassroom environments: An experiential analysis of the pupil–teacher visual interaction in Uruguayʼ, Learning Environments Research, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 417–431. https://dxd.doi.org/10.1007/s10984-017-9236-y
Cizek C. J. (2020) Validity: an integrated approach to test score meaning and use, New York (NY): Routledge.
Clark, H. (2002) Building education: The role of the physical environment in enhancing teaching and research, London: Institute of Education, University of London.
Creswell, J. W. (2014) Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches, Sage publications.
Culp, B. (2006) ʻManagement of the physical environment in the classroom and gymnasium: It's notʼ, Teaching Elementary Physical Education, Vol. 17, No. 5, pp. 13–15.
Dick B. (2014) ʻValidityʼ, in Coghlan, D. and Brydon-Miller, M. (ed.) Sage encyclopedia of action research (pp 803–805), London: Sage.
Di Giulio, R. C. (2007) Positive classroom managament: A step-by-step guide to helping students succeed, Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Doyle, W. (2006) ʻEcological approches to classroom managementʼ, in Evertson, C. M. and Weinstein, C. S. (ed.) Handbook of Classroom Management: Research, Practice, and Contemporary Issues (pp. 97–125), Mahwah, NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum.
Duncanson, E. (2014) ʻLasting Effects of creating classroom space: a study of teacher behaviorʼ, Educational Planning, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 29–40.
Earthman, G. I. and Lemasters, L. K. (2009) ʻTeacher attitudes about classroom conditionsʼ, Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 47, No. 3, pp. 323–335. https://doi.org/10.1108/09578230910955764
Ehrenberg, R. G., Brewer, D. J., Gamoran, A. and Willms, J. D. (2001) ʻClass size and student achievementʼ, Psychological Science in the Public Interest Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 1–30. https://doi.org/10.1111/1529-1006.003
Emmer, E., Evertson, C. and Worsham, M. (2006) Classroom management for middle and high school teachers, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill.
Evans, G. W., Saegert, S. and Harris, R. (2001) ʻResidential density and psychological health among children in low-income familiesʼ, Environment and Behavior, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 165–180. https://doi.org/10.1177/00139160121972936
Farmer, T. W., Lines, M. M. and Hamm, J. V. (2011) ʻRevealing the invisible hand: The role of teachers in children's peer experiencesʼ, Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Vol. 32, No. 5, pp. 247–256. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2011.04.006
Fernandez, A., Huang, J. and Rinaldo, V. (2011) ʻDoes where a student sits really matter? – The impact of seating locations on student classroom learningʼ, International Journal of Applied Educational Studies, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 66–77.
Finn, J. D., Pannozzo, G. M. and Achilles, C. M. (2003) ʻThe “why’s” of class size: student behavior in small classesʼ, Review of Educational Research, Vol. 73, No. 3, pp. 321–368. https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543073003321
Ford, A. (2019) ʻExamining and improving classroom environments through the lens of self-determination theoryʼ, Critical Questions in Education, Vol. 10, No. 1, 65–78.
Fraenkel, J. R. and Wallen, N. E. (2005) How to design and evaluate research in education, New York: McGraw-Hill.
Frenzel, A. C., Pekrun, R. and Goetz, T. (2007) ʻPerceived learning environment and students' emotional experiences: A multilevel analysis of mathematics classroomsʼ, Learning and Instruction, Vol. 17, No. 5, pp. 478–493. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2007.09.001
Graetz, K. A. (2006) ʻThe psychology of learning environmentsʼ, in D. Oblinger, D. (ed.) Learning spaces (pp. 60–74), Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE.
Graetz, K. A. and Goliber, M. J. (2003) ʻDesigning collaborative learning places: Psychological foundations and new frontiersʼ, in Van Note Chism, N. and Bickford, D. J. (ed.) The importance of physical space in creating supportive learning environments: New directions in teaching and learning, (pp. 13–22), San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Guardino, C. A. and Fullerton, E. (2010) ʻChanging behaviors by changing the classroom environmentʼ, Teaching Exceptional Children, Vol. 42, No. 6, pp. 8–13. https://doi.org/10.1177/004005991004200601
Han, H., Moon, H. and Lee, H. (2019) ʻPhysical classroom environment affects students’ satisfaction: attitude and quality as mediatorsʼ, Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, Vol. 47, No. 5, pp. 1–10. https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.7961
Hannah, R. (2013) ʻThe effect of classroom environment on student learningʼ, Honors Theses, 2375.
Harris, A. H., Shapiro, B. R. and Garwood, J. D. (2015) ʻSpace: Elementary and secondary classroomsʼ, in Scarlett, W. G. (ed.) The SAGE encyclopedia of classroom management, (pp. 567–570), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing.
Hill, M. C. and Epps, K. K. (2010) ʻThe impact of physical classroom environment on student satisfaction and student evaluation of teaching in the university environmentʼ, Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 65–79.
Horne, S. (1999) ʻEstablishing trend relationships in teachers’ use of the classroom environmentʼ, IDATER 99: International Conference on Design and Technology Educational Research and Curriculum Development. Loughborough: Loughborough University.
Hurst, M. D. (2005) ʻSchools eye future costsʼ, Education Week, Vol. 24, No. 35, pp. 34–39.
Killeen, J. P., Evans, G. W. and Danko, S. (2003) ʻThe role of permanent student artwork in students’ sense of ownership in an elementary schoolʼ, Environment and Behavior, Vol. 35, No. 2, pp. 250–263. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013916502250133
Kostolányová, K., Šarmanová, J., Takács, O. (2011) ʻAdaptation of Teaching Process Based on a Students Individual Learning Needsʼ, Journal on Efficiency and Responsibility in Education and Science, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 3–17.
Lackney, J. A. (2008) ʻTeacher Environmental Competence in Elementary School Environmentsʼ, Children, Youth and Environments, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 133–159.
Lackney, J. (1994) Educational facilities: The ımpact and role of the physical environment of the school on teaching, learning and educational outcomes, Milwaukee: Publications in Architecture and Urban Planning of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Lackney, J. A. and Jacobs, P. J. (1999) Teachers as placemakers: Investigating teachers' use of the physical setting in instructional design, Scottsdale: Council Educational Facility Planners.
Landis, J. R. and Koch, G. G. (1977) ʻThe measurement of observer agreement for categorical dataʼ, Biometrics, Vol. 33, pp. 159–174. https://doi.org/10.2307/2529310
Lasky, D. and Yoon, S. A. (2011) ʻMaking space for the act of making: Creativity in the engineering design classroomʼ, Science Educator, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 34–43.
López-Chao, V., Amado Lorenzo, A., Saorín, J. L., La Torre-Cantero, D. and Melián-Díaz, D. (2020) ʻClassroom indoor environment assessment through architectural analysis for the design of efficient schoolsʼ, Sustainability, Vol. 12, No. 5, pp. 1–12. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12052020
Malik, R. H. and Rizvi, A. A. (2018) ʻEffect of classroom learning environment on students' academic achievement in mathematics at secondary levelʼ, Bulletin of Education and Research, Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 207–218.
Martin, S. H. (2006) ʻThe classroom environment and children’s performance-is there a relationship?ʼ, Spencer, C. P. and Blades, M. (ed.), Children and their environments: Learning, using and designing spaces, (pp. 91–107), Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Martin, S. H. (2002) ʻThe classroom environment and ıts effects on the practice of teachersʼ, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Vol. 22, No. 1–2, pp. 139–156. https://doi.org/10.1006/jevp.2001.0239
Marx, A., Fuhrer, U. and Hartig, T. (1999) ʻEffects of classroom seating arrangements on children’s question askingʼ, Learning Environments Research, Vol. 2, pp. 249–263. http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1009901922191
Maxwell, L. E. and Chmielewski, E. J. (2008) ʻEnvironmental personalization and elementary school children's self-esteemʼ, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Vol. 28, No. 2, pp. 143–153. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2007.10.009
Maxwell, L. E. (2000) ʻA safe and welcoming school: What students, teachers, and parents thinkʼ, Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 271–282.
Memari, M. and Gholamshahi, A. (2020) ʻAttitudinal and affective classroom ecology and atmosphereʼ, Applied Linguistics Research Journal, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 1–14. https://dx.doi.org/10.14744/alrj.2020.92400
MoNE. (1992) Öğretmen yetiştirmede koordinasyon [Coordination in teachers’education], Ankara: MEB yayınları.
MoNE. (1973) Milli eğitim temel kanunu [National education basic law], Law no: 1739, Acceptance date: 14/06/1973, [Online], Available: https://www.mevzuat.gov.tr/MevzuatMetin/1.5.1739.pdf [22 Feb 2020].
Muthusamy, N. (2015) Teachers’ experiences with overcrowded classrooms in a mainstream school, [Dissertation], Durban: University of KwaZulu-Natal.
OECD (1988) The quality of the physical environment of the school and the quality of education, Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Obaki, S. O. (2017) ʻImpact of classroom environment on children's social behaviorʼ, International Journal of Education and Practice, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 1–7. https://dx.doi.org10.18488/journal.61/2017.5.1/188.8.131.52
Onwu, G. and Stoffels, N. (2005) ʻInstructional functions in large, under-resourced science classes: Perspectives of South African teachersʼ, Perspectives in Education, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 79–91.
Patton, M. Q. (2001) Qualitative research and evaluation methods, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Patton, J., Snell, J., Knight, W. and Gerken, K. (2001) ʻA survey study of elementary classroom eating designsʼ, Annual Meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Washington, DC.
Pedersen, D. M. (1994) ʻPersonality and classroom seatingʼ, Perceptual and Motor Skills, Vol. 78, pp. 1355–1360.
Powers, S. L., Barcelona, R. J., Trauntvein, N. E. and McLaughlin, S. (2020) ʻThe role of classroom design in facilitating student engagement in recreation and leisure educationʼ, SCHOLE: A Journal of Leisure Studies and Recreation Education, pp. 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/1937156X.2020.1718042
Puteh, M., Che Ahmad, C. N., Mohamed Noh, N., Adnan, M. and Ibrahim, M. H. (2015) ʻThe classroom physical environment and its relation to teaching and learning comfort levelʼ, International Journal of Social Science and Humanity, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 237–240. https://dx.doi.org/10.7763/IJSSH.2015.V5.460
Richardson, C. and Mishra, P. (2018) ʻLearning environments that support student creativity: Developing the SCALEʼ, Thinking Skills and Creativity, Vol. 27, pp. 45–54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tsc.2017.11.004
Roskos, K. and Neuman, S. B. (2011) ʻThe classroom environment: First, last, and alwaysʼ, The Reading Teacher, Vol. 65, No. 2, pp. 110–114. https://doi.org/10.1002/TRTR.01021
Sanoff, H. (1991) Visual research methods in design, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.
Snow, H. (2002) Teacher’s perceptions and use of classroom space, [Dissertation], Athens, GA: The University of Georgia.
Steele, F. (1980) ʻDefining and developing environmental competenceʼ, in Alderfer, C. P. and Cooper, C. L. (ed.) Advances in experimental social processes 2. (pp. 225–244), New York: Wiley.
Steele, F. I. (1973) Physical settings and organization development, Reading, MA: AddisonWesley.
Sterling, D. (2009) ʻClassroom management: Setting up the classroom for learningʼ, Science Scope, Vol. 32, No. 9, pp. 29–33.
Suleman, Q. and Hussain, I. (2014) ʻEffects of classroom physical environment on the academic achievement scores of secondary school students in Kohat division, Pakistanʼ, International Journal of Learning and Development, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 71–82. http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/ijld.v4i1.5174
Sztejnberg, A. and Finch, E. F. (2006) ʻAdaptive use patterns of secondary school classroom environmentsʼ, Journal of Facilities, Vol. 24, No. 13, pp. 490–509. https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02632770610705275
Şahin, I. T., Tantekin-Erden, F. and Akar, H. (2011) ʻThe influence of the physical environment on early childhood education classroom managementʼ, Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, Vol. 44, pp. 185–202.
Taylor, A. P., and Enggass, K. (2009) Linking architecture and education: Sustainable design for learning environments, Albuquerque, NW: University of New Mexico Press.
Uline, C. and Tschannen‐Moran, M. (2008) ʻThe walls speak: The interplay of quality facilities, school climate, and student achievementʼ, Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 46, No. 1, pp. 55–73. https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09578230810849817
Wargocki, P. and Wyon, D. P. (2007) ʻThe effects of moderately raised classroom temperatures and classroom ventilation rate on the performance of schoolwork by children (RP-1257)ʼ, HVAC&R Research, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 193–220. https://doi.org/10.1080/10789669.2007.10390951
Warner, S. A. and Myers, K. L. (2009) ʻThe creative classroom: The role of space and place toward facilitating creativityʼ, Technology and Engineering Teacher, Vol. 69, No. 4, pp. 28–34.
Weinstein, C. S. and Novodvorsky, I. (2015) Middle and secondary classroom management: Lessons from research and practice, New York: McGraw-Hill.
Winterbottom, M. and Wilkins, A. (2009) ʻLighting and discomfort in the classroomʼ, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 63–75. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2008.11.007
Van den Berg, Y. H., Segers, E. and Cillessen, A. H. (2012) ʻChanging peer perceptions and victimization through classroom arrangements: A field experimentʼ, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 403–412. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-011-9567-6
Yıldızlı H. (2021) ‘A Case Study on Goal Orientations for Teaching’, Journal on Efficiency and Responsibility in Education and Science, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 9–27. http://dx.doi.org/10.7160/eriesj.2021.140102
Yıldırım, A. and Şimşek, H. (2013) Sosyal bilimlerde nitel araştırma yöntemleri [Qualitative research methods in the social sciences], Ankara: Seçkin Yayıncılık.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Gülnar Özyildirim
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors declare with this manuscript intended for publication to ERIES Journal that:
- all co-authors agree with the publication of the manuscript even after amendments arising from peer review;
- all co-authors agree with the posting of the full text of this work on the web page of ERIES Journal and to the inclusion of references in databases accessible on the internet;
- no results of other researchers were used in the submitted manuscript without their consent, proper citation, or acknowledgement of their cooperation or material provided;
- the results (or any part of them) used in the manuscript have not been sent for publication to any other journal nor have they already been published (or if so, that the relevant works are cited in this manuscript);
- submission of the manuscript for publication was completed in accordance with the publishing regulations pertaining to place of work;
- experiments performed comply with current laws and written consent of the Scientific Ethics Committee / National Animal Care Authority (as is mentioned in the manuscript submitted);
- grant holders confirm that they have been informed of the submitted manuscript and they agree to its publication.
Authors retain copyright and grant ERIES Journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the published work with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in ERIES Journal. Moreover, authors are able to post the published work in an institutional repository with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in ERIES Journal. In addition, authors are permitted and encouraged to post the published work online (e.g. institutional repositories or on their website) as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.