A Survey Study of Elementary Classroom Seating Designs.

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This paper presents the results of a two-part study that investigated classroom seating design preferences among elementary classroom teachers. In part one, the researchers mapped and classified seating arrangements that were in actual use across 294 regular classrooms (grades K-5) in 21 public elementary schools. Subsequently, the researchers asked 138 elementary regular classroom teachers (grades K-5) to describe, in a survey, the occasions and their rationales for the seating designs they typically employed. In contrast to outcomes from research conducted a decade ago, and irrespective of grade level and school socioeconomic status, results showed that small group cluster designs were now used pervasively (i.e., in 76 percent of observed classrooms, and by 94 percent of surveyed respondents), apparently because many contemporary teachers believe that this type of seating arrangement contributes directly to students' educational growth through the effects of socially facilitated learning. The study did not specifically address the validity of this belief, but it did yield a number of relevant, testable propositions.
Patton, James E.; Snell, Jennifer; Knight, Willis J.; Gerken, Kathryn
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