Date of Award

Fall 12-2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Teaching & Learning

Program/Concentration

Curriculum and Instruction

Committee Director

Jamie Colwell

Committee Member

Angela Eckhoff

Committee Member

Thomas Bean

Committee Member

Jason Lynch

Abstract

Classroom redesign is being recognized globally as necessary to better increase student’s enjoyment levels, engagement, collaboration, and learning. Instead of seeing traditional classrooms in a fixed setting where students are seated in rows facing the front of the room, classrooms are being arranged in multiple ways. As a result of this focus on redesigned learning spaces, there is a need to examine teachers’ perceptions about redesigned classroom spaces and understand the decisions behind their design. Thus, it is important to examine teachers’ perceptions of their classroom space to better understand if they consider their students learning needs, engagement levels, and reactions when designing their classrooms. As a result, there is a call to understand the features (i.e. desks, chairs, plants, technology) teachers perceive to be important in their redesigned classroom spaces.

This case study investigated elementary classroom teachers’ perceived conceptualizations and rationalizations of redesigned classroom spaces during the design process, as well as any considerations of students’ potential learning, reactions, and engagement levels when designing classroom spaces. Eight elementary classroom teachers currently teaching in a full-day suburban Mid-Atlantic, U.S. public school comprised the case study in this research. Data were collected in the form of drawings with written responses, individual interviews, and a focus group. Triangulation of data was performed to develop main categories and identify central themes within the case study.

Findings contributed to the field of research in elementary teachers’ perspectives of redesigned classroom spaces. The data from the qualitative case study revealed that teachers consider their students’ learning, collaboration, and needs when designing the classroom space. Specifically, conceptualization included students’ physiological needs, equity, and limited multicultural awareness. Classroom designs were perceived to support students learning through flexibility, movement, engagement, and creative spaces. Data collected through this research also supports the idea that teachers use their personal experience with students and their own experiences when constructing their classroom space. Lastly, elementary teachers perceived grouped desks, flexible seating options, and manipulatives as important features in the classroom space. Research findings from this study will inform teachers, administration, policymakers, and school building designers of elementary teachers’ perspectives of a redesigned learning space and their considerations during classroom design.

DOI

10.25777/hsx3-gp04

ISBN

9798460435029

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