Studies about student academic achievement and building condition conclude that the quality of the physical environment significantly affects student achievement. ‘There is sufficient research to state without equivocation that the building in which students spends a good deal of their time learning does in fact influence how well they learn’ (Earthman, G 2004:18).
Stevenson and Bunting also favour this approach, suggesting that ‘traditional academic classrooms may disappear, replaced by holistic learning labs and exploratory centres’ (Butin, 2000; Keep, 2002 in Stevenson 2007:3). Bunting agrees, saying that ‘traditional classrooms must change’ and proposes a model of a generic space for students to be co-located with teachers, which are decorated by the students to give them ownership, and teachers and students only move when necessary to access specialized space (Bunting, A 2004:11–12).
Physical facilities relationship with academic achievement
Weinstein and David question some of the implied benefits of open planning. ‘Open space in and of itself does not have a universal effect’ while others comparing open and traditional environments argue ‘the essential elements will be the school’s educational philosophy and physical layout, not merely the physical layout’ (Higgins et al 2005:14).
Consideration of the spaces where teachers meet and collaborate is just as important as the design of the classroom (McGregor, J 2004:4).
Looking at learning space is about more than the structures – it is about the social relationships within the space. Space can be conceptualized as being an interaction between Physical and social spaces. McGregor claims that the space is ‘made’ by the social aspects (McGregor, J 2004:2). This attitude is increasing in popularity as we move again towards creating more open spaces to improve social interactions and student learning opportunities.
Spaces and how we organize them can tell students much about adult expectations and power structures – for example, when grouping students according to ‘ability’. (McGregor, J 2004:3).
While there can often be a separation between the designer and user in school design, there is a growing movement towards involving users in the design of teaching and learning spaces, with benefits for students and teachers alike – ‘making meaning around what they want from education’ (McGregor, J 2004:5).
The quality of education has been reflected not only in the subjects taught and achievement levels reached, but also in the learning environment. The environment has both reflected and influenced the behavior of students, and it has been affected by events within and outside of the school (Condition of Education, 1998). Most educators and researchers have agreed that the total environment should be comfortable, pleasant, and psychologically uplifting; should provide a physical setting that students find educationally stimulating; should produce a feeling of well -being among its occupants; and should support the academic process.
One major aspect of the classroom climate that has fallen under the control of the teacher is that of classroom management and discipline. As might be expected classroom climate which motivated learning and afforded the students the opportunity to be actively and meaningfully engaged in academic activities influenced the positive rating of teacher’s classroom management hence the relation to their performance in physics. Classroom management has referred to all the planned or spontaneous activities and interactions that have occurred within a classroom. In recent years, a growing interest has emerged in the school of classroom management. The facilities in school is a large part of classroom management that will either encourage students to succeed, or hamper their abilities or cause more failures. The facilities in school is different than the classroom management because it deals with how the students feel in the classroom. While classroom management focuses on procedures, routines, and expectations, the facilities in school focuses on the relationships between students and teachers, as well as how the students feel amongst their peers in the classroom (Stepanek, 2000).
Classroom management is the heart of teaching and learning in school setting. A well-managed classroom can provide an exciting and dynamic experience for everyone involved. Unfortunately, student behavior can often with this process. Good classroom management implies not only that the teacher has elicited the cooperation of the student s in minimizing misconduct and can intervene effectively when misconduct occurs, but also that worthwhile academic activities are occurring more or less continuously and that the classroom management system as a whole is designed to maximize student engagement in those activities, not merely to minimize misconduct. Many times, by encouraging behavior that is more positive and uplifting in one classroom, the behavior will carry on into other classrooms, taking the safe environment further than one classroom. Student achievement, as well as emotional and social outcomes, can all be positively affected by a safe, positive learning environment (Stepanek, 2000).
When teachers does not tolerate disrespect both among students and between the students and teacher, they set the standard for their classroom and students feel more encouraged to participate and take risks in the classroom. Because of this, setting the facilities in school is often just as important as establishing classroom management strategies.
Physical facilities and class room management
Teachers have entered a new age of classroom management. Faced with new challenges during the first part of the twenty first century teachers, teacher educators and school administrators have searched for alternative ways to manage classrooms. However, finding answers to classroom management situations is difficult because there is disagreement about what constitutes effective classroom management approaches.
Some administrators and teachers think of classroom management and discipline as being synonymous terms. Vasa (1984) describe classroom management as behaviors related to maintenance of on-task student behaviors and the reduction off-task or disruptive behaviors. Those who share his view define effective classroom management as a way of preparing students for life. They focus not on controlling student’s ? behavior today but on preparing students for the world they live in tomorrow. Teachers and administrators who approach classroom management from this perspective define effective classroom management as the process of creating a positive social and emotional climate in the classroom (Morris, 1996).
One of the most important skills possessed by effective teachers is that of classroom management. These skills are considered by Lang et al. (1994) as by far the most important aspect of a teachers training and they state that effective classroom management is largely concerned with disruptive strategies, but other aspects are also of vital importance. Aspects are also of vital importance. The definitions developed by Conrath (1986) for classroom management includes the organization and planning of students? space, time and materials so that instruction and learning actives can take place effectively. Alternatively, effective classroom management will be divided into four main categories in the studies of Evertson ; Emmer (1982) and Sanford (1984). These four categories are: classroom procedures and rules, student work procedures, managing student behavior and organizing instruction. It is clear from these examples that classroom management is much more than a collection of strategies for discipline and involves many aspects of a teacher’s professional expertise.
Teacher’s varying approaches to classroom management are reflected in differing levels of effectiveness. For example, a well-prepared teacher has a much greater chance of achieving effective lesson management. In the discussion of Lang et al. (1994), different approaches to discipline are said to range from intimidation to total permissiveness. They advise that such extremes should include monitoring and enforcing reasonable classroom rules, procedures and routines. Effective teaching is more than discipline alone and classroom management has been closely linked to the achievement and engagement of high school science students (McGarity ; Butts, 1984).
Both this study and the discussion of Lang et al. indicate that teachers should strive to develop effective classroom management techniques and that this will have a significant impact on their educational effectiveness. An analysis of the past fifty years of educational research as noted by Wang, Haertel, and Walberg (as cited in Conte, 1994) revealed that effective classroom management increases student engagement, decreases disruptive behaviors, and makes good use of instructional time.
Physical facilities and student behavior
Behavior theorists in the 1930?s through present day described frameworks for encouraging and maintaining good behavior. These behavior theories greatly influenced, and are still influencing classroom management. According to Emmer and Stough (2001), some studies have used student achievement or attitude as outcomes. But most classroom management research today has been concerned with identified how teachers bring about student engagement with each other and limit the disruptions in the classroom.
The following paragraphs will summarize the work of some important behavior theorists. These summaries will identify the influences each has made on classroom behavior and management.
Burrhus Fredrick Skinner?s philosophies can be related to the issue of classroom management. As a renowned learning theorist in the 1930 and 1940 Skinner emphasized his research on how the organism learns, regardless of its inherited potential, regardless of its species. Otherwise stated, he saw learning as a result of associations forced between stimuli and actions, or impulses to act. Simple associations would accumulate to larger groups of learned associations. Skinner felt learning resulted due to conditioning, similar to Pavlov’s dog’s being conditioned to salivate at the sound of a specific tone. In regards to the classroom, Skinner (Conte, 1994) stated that by rewarding students for good behavior and ignoring or punishing wrong behavior, students would come to understand how to behave in a facilities in school. Behaviors that will be rewarded would be repeated; those that will be not would be avoided, and thus, a well-behaved class would result. This step-by-step conditioning process helped Skinner (Sprinthall, 1981) develop and his first “teaching machine” in the 1950.