Seating Structure Design

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 29 September 2016

Seating Structure Design

Most settings of classrooms we see in the Philippines or observed even in our own schools and universities are almost similar with each other. Specifically concerning the seating style. Very few from our teachers or professors are changing the style of the seats like instead of using the Row Style in teaching, change it to Semi-circle style. The researcher also noticed that with the traditional kind of setting in seating arrangement, we hear teachers say, “People from the back, please stop talking” or in a scenario of recitation we often hear “Other hands please”.

Many studies and articles as the researcher goes on with the study proven that there are actually effects of classroom seating arrangement with the performance of the students yet some still contradicts it and as the researcher observed in the Philippine setting of education, classroom seating arrangement is not a concern or a significant variable for most of the schools and universities. According to Damer, M. (2000), classroom managements is a term coined by teachers and mentors which means a process of ensuring that a lecture in the classroom goes smoothly and delivered effectively despite disruptive behavior of the students.

Classroom management, particularly seating arrangement is one of the factors and not saying the only factor to be considered in getting high grades as the researcher’s concern. As for the researcher, part of classroom management and one of the ways to maintain order and control in the classroom is to have seating style. According to Chinappi, J. & Wistrom, E. (2011), the physical atmosphere of the classroom can play a large role in how well professors are able to manage the students. In the Philippine setting, the most commonly used is called the Row-column style or the Traditional style.

With this kind of setting, the students are arranged by rows facing the teacher at the front of the class. Based on Otrar et. al. (2004), students sitting next to the wall or at the back row have less participation and attention and are more likely to display undesired behaviors. Therefore, the researcher thought that it is harder to involve the whole class especially those who are seating at the back row. With this, during lecture period, it may be possible that student will feel boring or sleepy especially during lecture period thus may affect their active participation.

In case like this, students who are usually participating are the ones participating over and over again. She stated, “I agree that the physical arrangement to seating and the assignment (or lack thereof) to such is basic classroom management” Fulton, M. E. (2001). According to Wannarka and Ruhl (2003), students at the back of the classroom tend to interact with each other more frequently than those seated at the front, potentially adversely impacting their attention to the task.

According to Fernandez, Careena & Rinaldo (2011), Parker, Hoopes & Eggett (2011) and Ikram (2010) other types of seating arrangements which are the following; the U-style arrangement helps the teachers to easily get along the class for monitoring students, it is also advantageous in a sense that the design encourages group discussion as students can see and interacts with each other, but it also allows the instructor to remain the central feature. The instructor can move freely through the space in the center while assisting students and presenting projects and assignments clearly.

Therefore, it is also ideal for easy learning and participation in class since the students may easily understand the lessons. He stated “Question asking was more frequent when the children were seated in the U-style arrangement” (Marx et al. 2000). The professors could easily see the faces of the students thus preventing student to student chatting that can cause environmental disrupt therefore, the attention of the students are more likely on the teacher. The New York University is one of the schools in America who uses this kind of style.

The active performance of the students can be seen during recitations, asking questions and participation in class activities. The researcher decided to stick with the variable, recitation of the students. When a child is active in his or her performance, it is possible that he or she learned a lot and gets more knowledge. As for the researcher’s opinion, seating arrangement is not for a shallow reason of controlling the students because after all, inside the classroom, there is always an authority and that is the teacher and authority should be followed for they set order for the better.

In case of a classroom, seating arrangement is a concern for the teachers in order to prevent and lessen constraints brought by the students that could affect the attention of both the teacher and the classmates and much worse the learning process that could affect the active participation of the students. Still, the majority’s advantage is being seen. The researcher aims to know the effects of U-style seating arrangement to active participation in terms of first, question and answer portion between the teacher and students, second, sharing of ideas of the students and lastly, lessening of disruptive behavior in the class.

Also, the researcher wants to know the effects of Row-style seating arrangement to active participation in terms of first, question and answer portion between the teacher and students, second, sharing of ideas of the students and lastly, lessening of disruptive behavior in the class. By understanding these mentioned, this study could contribute to the knowledge of the teachers on how to do an effective seating arrangement that could contribute to a better classroom management. Therefore, mentors could have better strategy in teaching and continual smooth flow of discussion.

This study would also be beneficial to the students because having them be seated in a good seating arrangement may help them to somehow focus more of the lecture. This could help the students to actively participate knowing they understood more of what the teacher has taught. Review of Related Literature The researcher gathered several studies and related articles to support the stated topic. The different variables that would be mentioned may contribute to the dependent variable, which is the active participation of the students. 11 reliable articles in specific were collected and these were classified into the following subtopics:

Order and Control in the Classroom The study of Konzier (2011), states that teachers must take time at the beginning of the school year to plan out a seating arrangement that will work best for their particular class. Seating arrangement has an effect with maintaining order and control thus contributes to classroom management. The location of the sit of a particular student has an effect in the learning and concentration process. Another is from Callahan (2005) where in he investigated the arrangement of seating and equipment in computer lab classrooms and its effect on the social and physical settings of the classroom.

The article of Damer (2000) said that the placement of the teacher’s desk also affects student behavior. They will be on-task more consistently and will display fewer unnecessary behaviors when they know they are closely monitored. Active Participation of the Students The research of Piorier (2011), which based his study on Robert Sommer’s Research about Personal Space, he found that students who sit in the front and center rows of a classroom participate more than other students. He extended this study to perimeter-style seating arrangements and found that students sitting directly across from the teacher were the most frequent participants.

Students who sat to the left and right of the teacher were less likely to participate in the classroom activities, regardless of their previous participation patterns. Another is from Marx, Fuhrer and Hartig (2006). This study investigated the relationship between classroom seating arrangements and the question asking of fourth-graders. Two seating arrangements were used, semicircle position and a row-and-column arrangement. The results showed that children asked more questions in the semicircle than in the row-and-column arrangement, and that the pattern of question characteristics was stable over time.

Roxas, Carreon and Monterola (2010) also proven that the effect of seating arrangement, group composition and group-based competition on students’ performance. All the lectures were scattered with student interaction opportunities, in which students work in groups to discuss and answer concept tests. Two individual assessments were administered before and after that. The ratio of the post-assessment score to the pre-assessment score was calculated to establish the improvement in student performance. Using actual assessment results, an optimal seating arrangement for a class was determined based on student seating location.

Lastly, the study revealed that competition-driven interactions increase within-group cooperation and lead to higher improvement on the students’ performance. The study of Cohen et al. , (2007) suggested results state that the majority of pupils preferred the circle arrangement when taking part in a class discussion and participation increased therefore seating arrangement has an effect in learning. Another study is from Ikram (2010). According to his research, it is not only the seating arrangement of the classroom but also the way students are distributed in the class that affects significantly the students’ learning.

The place the students prefer to sit brings some advantages and disadvantages in terms of learning and participation. For a teacher to know about the personal features of the students and about how effective their sit mate are helps her/him know about them more. The purpose of the study is to determine the students’ preferences about the place to sit in teacher-centered (traditional) classrooms in terms of their personal characteristics and the characteristics they look for in their seatmate based on their perceptions.

It was concluded that students preferring to sit at front rows care the lesson more and are more willing to participate, while those sitting at back rows are vice versa; that for females the place they prefer, which is usually the front rows. Student’s Appropriate Behavior Wannarka & Ruhl (2008) concluded that seating arrangements are important classroom setting events because they have the potential to help prevent problem behaviors that decrease student attention.

Three common arrangements (i. e., rows, groups or semi-circles) were considered in the said study. Results indicate that teachers should let the nature of the task dictate seating arrangements. Evidence supports the idea that students display higher levels of appropriate behavior during individual tasks when they are seated in rows. Also, Parker, Hoopes and Eggett (2011) contradicts with the previous studies stated because according to them there is conflicting evidence on the effect of seat location on student performance and participation in the classroom.

The two major hypotheses used are a. ) that seat location influences student behavior and b. ) that seat preference and selection is associated with personality traits of students. Half of the class was randomly assigned a permanent seat while the other half was randomly reassigned a different seat each class period. Students sitting in the front of the classroom in the permanent group made significantly more comments than permanent group students in the back.

The move group, however, showed increased overall participation with no significant difference between the front and back of the classroom. Findings suggest a more flexible explanation-that students may adopt or reject an implied social role in which seat location and personality traits are influential factors. Dunbar (2004) quoted from Fred Jones, “A good classroom seating arrangement is the cheapest form of classroom management. It’s discipline for free. ” Many experienced teachers recommend assigned seating for students to facilitate discipline and instruction.

Synthesis The articles mentioned above are interrelated in terms that all of them regardless of the point of affected variables stated that there is a significant effect or significant relationship between classroom seating arrangements and other related variables with students like learning process, behavioral process etcetera. Also, almost all of the stated articles above except for articles Piorier (2011), Parker, Hoopes and Eggett (2011) , Ikram (2010) , and Damer (2000) linked classroom seating arrangement with the learning and participation of the students.

The mentioned contradicted articles focused on the discipline and behavior of the student, which is actually not so much on focus of the research although they may contribute a little with the study. Moreover, the study of Konzier (2011) , Roxas, Carreon and Monterola (2010) and Callahan (2005) articles have something in common although each mentioned studies used different methods actually arrived at the same conclusion. The conclusion was those students who are sitting on the front row are most likely active in performance, learning and behavior rather those who are siting on the last rows.

But in the twelfth study, it says that “the place the students prefer to sit brings some advantages and disadvantages in terms of learning and participation” or increasing participation or learning which contradicts the statement concluded based on the seventh article that says, “increased overall participation has no significant difference between the front and back of the classroom. ” About the method used, the eighth and ninth studies used the same method that is longitudinal method. Survey method was both used by the tenth and thirteenth articles.

Methodology Research Design The researcher will use the Two-Independent Groups Experimental Design. The researcher decided to use this because there is one Independent variable which is the seating arrangement but consists of two levels of treatments, which are the Row-column style and the U-style. Subjects are randomly assigned to avoid bias. Subject Second Year Bachelor of Arts in Psychology College Students of San Beda College Alabang, school year 2012-2013. Approximately 30 students per section are randomly grouped so biases in selecting or assigning will be avoided.


The professor that will give approval to the request will be using 2 classrooms both are classrooms of 2nd year BA Psychology of San Beda College Alabang but divided into Section 1 and Section 2 classrooms. The professor will use chairs that will be arranged depending on the random assigned seating arrangement. Since it will be a lecture discussion, LCD for PowerPoint presentation/Laptop, white board and white board marker will be needed depending on the professor. The professor and the observer, which is the researcher itself, will use a recording sheet for the recitation or participation of the students.

Procedure First, the researcher will ask a permission form one of the professors from the BA Psychology department of San Beda College Alabang about their willingness to allow the researcher to conduct the experiment in their class. Second, the professor that agreed will be advised by the researcher not to mention to that she will be conducting an experiment. It will be a secret between the professor and the researcher to avoid bias response form the students. It may be an extraneous variable if the students know that their participation are being observed thus may affect the result of the study.

Instead, the researcher will be introduced by the professor as a sit-in student for the reason of reviewing her lesson on that particular topic for the used of her thesis making. Third, the researcher will toss a coin and ask the professor to choose between heads or tails. Not knowing, heads is for the Section A while tales is for the Section B. Whichever comes out, Treatment A which is the Row-Column style will be used on that particular section. While Treatment B which is the U-style will be given to the left one. By doing this, random assignment and random selection are used to avoid the bias of choosing.

Fourth, the professor and researcher will now proceed on the section chosen, with the treatment A, no need to arrange the style of the arrangement of the chairs since this is the one used in San Beda College Alabang. In case of the treatment B, the researcher will arrange the chairs before the teacher and students come to class to avoid time-consuming nor distractions on the professor’s part. Fifth, after everything has settled on, the lecture and recitation or asking questions by the professor will start and go on for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The moment the lecture started, the observation will be on process and will be recorded by the researcher. Both class sections will be exposed to same lesson topic and teaching style since the same professor will be on hand. It will only vary with the seating arrangement style. The researcher decided to do this for 4 meetings or 2 weeks since there are 2 meetings of the class per week for each of the class. For 2 consecutive weeks, same seating arrangement styles will be used for each class. By doing this, the consistency of the results will be attained by the researcher.

Active Participation will be measured by the numbers of students reciting and numbers of students who are willing to recite in classroom A comparably with classroom B. Those who are raising their hands yet did not call by the teachers due to the reason of time management will also be included in the record because their action showed wanting to participate thus may also be considered as active participation. The researcher foresees extraneous variables in the said procedure. First, the mood of the professor or the professor itself may be an effect of the active participation of a student.

For example, the professor looks rugged and so the students may be frightened to recite. A boring professor may also be a factor that may affect the student’s participation. With these in line, the researcher decided to survey beforehand about the best professor for them so far in this semester. This will happen with the class that the researcher will conduct the experiment. By getting the result, the researcher will get the top 3 professors and will ask from their approval. The researcher will choose the professor which got the highest vote if ever all of them approved or two of the 3 approved.

Second issue, students may not be interested with the topic. This may affect the result of the study but John, Sarah (2012) Math is perhaps the most unpopular subject in school. It is one many people struggle with, so creating a fun, engaging and entertaining activity can make learning it easier to embrace. Therefore the researcher concludes that this issue lies also with the teacher. No matter how difficult the subject may be, it will always depends on how the teacher delivers the lesson that will make it interesting to learn.

Data Analysis The researcher decided to use T-test for independent groups as a statistical design because there will be evaluation in the differences in means between two groups. For data gathering, Experimental Design specifically Two Independent Group Design will be used. Active Participation will be measured by the numbers of students reciting and numbers of students who are willing to recite in classroom A that will be compared with classroom B. After having the data, the researcher will evaluate the differences in means between two groups by using T-test.

Based on the result, the researcher will now evaluate and state her conclusions and recommendations regarding the said experiment and study. References Callahan, Jessica (2005). Effects of Different Seating Arrangements in Higher Education Computer Lab Classrooms on Student Learning, Teaching Styles and Classroom Appraisal. , Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 12(3), 147–165. Cohen, et al. (2007). The Impact of Seating Arrangement in a Classroom on Pupils’ Verbal Participation in Year 8 and Year 9 RE Lessons. , Research Methods in Education. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, London.

Damer, Mary (2000). How seating arrangements impact student behavior. , International Journal of Educational Research . 33. Douglas, Marshall P. , & Losonczy-Marshall Marta (2010). Classroom Ecology: Relations between Seating Locations, Performance, and Attendance. , Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 2(2), 119–124. Dunbar, Christopher (2004). Best Practices in Classroom Management. Handbook of classroom management: Research, practice, and contemporary issues, 17–43. Ferncandes, Amanda, Jinyan Huang, Careena, & Rinaldo, Vince (2011). Does Where A Student Sits Really Matter?

– The Impact of Seating Locations on Student Classroom Learning. , Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 9(2), 199–206. Ikram, Cinam (2010). Classroom Geography: Who Sit Where in the Traditional Classrooms? , Journal of Economic Education. 35 (3), p. 215-231. Marx, Alexandra, Fuhrer, Urs, Hartig Terry (2006). Effects of Classroom Seating Arrangements on Children’s question-asking. , Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 12(3), 147–165. Parker, Tory, Hoopes, Olivia, & Eggett, Dennis (2011). The Effect of Seat Location and Movement or Permanence on Student-Initiated Participation.

, Journal Articles; Reports – Research, 59 (2) p79-84, 2011 Poirier, Alexander (2011). Psychological Effect on Perimeter Seating in the Classroom. , Roxas, R. M. , Carreon-Monterola, Monterola, C. (2010). Seating Arrangement, Group Composition and Competition-driven Interaction: Effects on Students’ Performance in Physics. , Teaching and Teacher Education, 16(2), 239–253. Wannarka, Rachel, Ruhl, Kathy (2003). Seating arrangements that promote positive academic and behavioural outcomes: a review of empirical research. , Support for Learning. , Volume 23 Issue 2. 6. 5.

2003. Nasen. Appendices Treatment A – Traditional Style [pic] Content: The professor will have her lecture with this kind of setting with the first group. How many students recited willing to recite will be recorded by the observer/researcher. Running Time: 1 hour- 1 and 30 minutes Treatment B – U-Style [pic] Content: The same teacher will have his/her same lecture topic with this kind of setting with the second group. He/she will just choose one from these styles. How many students recited and willing to recite will be recorded. Running Time: 1 hour-1 and 30 minutes.


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 29 September 2016

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