The effects of four modified elements of a classroom's physical environment on the social-psychological environment of a class Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/x920g1150

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  • Purpose of the Study This investigation was an attempt to determine the relative suitability of four physical seating arrangements, conventional, crescent, circular, and non-seating, in terms of their positive attitudinal and interactional impacts on four senior high school social studies classes who are enrolled with the same teacher during different periods of the day. Five null hypotheses and four alternative hypotheses were formulated for testing the suitability in terms of positive attitudinal and interactional impacts on the four classes. Procedure Three types of data were collected: observable data, attitudinal data, and teacher opinion. The,observable data consisted of the verbal responses or lack of verbal responses as measured by the Flanders Interaction Analysis System. The attitudinal data consisted of general student sentiment as measured by the School Sentiment Index. The teacher opinions consisted of recorded teacher statements regarding the various treatments. In all, 57 Flanders were administered over a 12-week period with at least one Flanders being given each week to each group. The attitudinal measure was administered at the end of each three week period and consisted of two modified halves of the School Sentiment Index. Statistical treatments were applied to group mean scores rather than individual scores. Conclusions The following conclusions were derived as a direct result of this investigation: 1. Group verbal interaction does not significantly vary under the four seating arrangements. 2. Individual group responses of sentiment significantly vary under the four seating arrangements. 3. Responses of sentiment are not uniform for all groups to the different seating arrangements. Groups I and III favored the conventional arrangements, Group II favored the crescent arrangement, and Group IV favored the non-seating arrangement. 4. Responses of sentiment were significantly different for these groups under the conventional and crescent arrangements, but not uniformly different. 5. Responses of sentiment for combined groups did significantly vary under the four seating arrangements. 6. Responses of sentiment for combined groups significantly favor the conventional arrangement and disfavor the circular arrangement. 7. The teacher expressly favors the circular arrangement and disfavors the conventional arrangement. Recommendations 1. That a similar study be conducted which focuses on smaller groups, preferably ten students or less. 2. That a similar study be conducted on a class that utilizes a teaching technique other than discussion the majority of the time. 3. That a variety of studies be conducted that focus upon preferred student distances in many classroom situations. 4. That a variety of studies be conducted that focus upon the effects of learning under various distances and within various group sizes. Discussion This study and other related empirical studies in the fields of psychology, sociology, anthropology, and education indicate that the factors of territoriality, personal space, individual distance have an effect on group ecology. The literature indicates that factors of group size do have a bearing on group distance. It has been demonstrated that individual distances and the positioning of individuals within groups has an effect on the behavior of group members. The full extent of these relationships is not presently known. It is of importance to know and understand these relationships and the bearing they may have on learning or attitudinal factors of group members. Further studies are needed to help uncover the answers.
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