every class, students are taught how to act appropriately, what objectives they
will be expected to learn, and are assessed on achievements of both. Most of
the time, students do not have choices in how they learn new concepts or ideas.
The students rarely have the power to choose anything they do, or how they do
it. According to Jonathon C. Erwin (2004), “one of the most effective ways to
help students meet their needs for power in the classroom is to help them
experience success through producing competent, or even better quality, work”
(p.118). When a child does not feel successful in a class or subject due to
lack of power and choice as well as academic competence, generally what
happens, is that the child gives up or moves onto distracting others. This promotes
the question, how does the environment affect students’ learning achievements?
There are multiple ways a child can be affected by his environment and multiple
ways a teacher can accommodate her students by creating a conductive and
motivational learning environment.
examples of how the environment impacts a child’s learning, scenarios follow:
The first scenario depicts an over stimulated environment and an inappropriate
response by the teacher, while the second scenario displays an inviting, non-threatening
atmosphere accompanied by an encouraging invitation by the teacher.
young student walks into her first grade classroom nervous, excited and ready
to begin a new chapter in her academic schooling. As she walks into the
classroom she is overwhelmed by the neon colors placed with on the walls and
unusual seating arrangements. She doesn’t know where to sit and she can’t seem
to find her name tag. The teacher tells the students, “Good morning friends and
welcome to first grade. Before we get started, I want you to pick a spot where
you think you will work best. There are wobble seat for students who like to
move around, standing stools for students who like to stand while learning, and
floor mats for those who like to sit on the floor and learn”. The young first
grader is anxious and unable to find a seat that makes her feel comfortable. On
top of the strange seating, the walls are filled with colors, posters, and
writing she can’t seem to stop looking at and it’s distracting her from
listening to her teacher. Her teacher gives her a stern look and asks her, “Why
haven’t you found spot yet? I have given you directions and you need to follow
them please”. The young girl becomes teary eyed because of the over whelmed
feeling of being trapped in a cluttered classroom and doesn’t know how to
respond to her teacher’s remark.
in fourth grade, a young boy is settling into his fourth grade classroom. He
notices that the teacher has seating that is not the same as his third grade
class. There are standing tables, tables with bouncy yoga balls and a table
near the floor with patted mats. He also notices that the walls are nearly
empty with minimal amount of color, a few posters around the room, but each
wall is labeled for subject areas they will be learning. The classroom feels
larger than any classroom he has ever been in. The teacher tells the students,
“Before you sit down, you will pick a card out of my bucket, and this card will
tell you where to sit. Once you have found your seat, I will hand you your name
tag and this will be your seat for the week. Each week you will move seats to
figure out which seating arrangement you like best in which to learn.” The
students take their seats and the teacher tells the students why the walls are
labeled. She tells the students, “The walls are labeled by subjects because
everything you do, during the course of time you are with me, will be put up on
the walls. When we move to another chapter or unit, the new information will be
put up for you to look at”. The student is already feeling confident about
fourth grade and is ready to take on the journey to come.
Purpose of the Study
purpose of this study is to find the relationship between the classroom
environment and a student’s academic achievement. The environment of the
classroom can consist of the teacher’s classroom management methods, seating
arrangements, classroom décor, and communication among peers and teacher. This
study will also observe two classes, a 1st grade and 4th
grade in a low income suburb area and see how the classroom environment within
each class affects each student’s academic learning.
Goals of the Study
goal of this study is to investigate out how the environment of the classroom
affects students’ academic learning. As new teachers are entering the field of
teaching, they have many new and exciting techniques and strategies to bring to
the classroom. Sometimes teachers overwhelm their students with all the
classroom décor, flexible seating arrangements, and classroom management strategies
that come into play. The goal is to find whether or not the environment that
teachers produce in the classroom affects how a child learns and succeeds in
Statement of the Problem
is the relationship between the classroom environment and student’s academic
What are the factors of classroom environment that can contribute
or detract from student learning?
How can teachers create an environment conducive to learning?
How does the environment affect the emotional aspects of a
How does the classroom environment affect the focus or attention of a
student’s ability to learn?
Definition of Terms
Has to do with both the operation and the tone of a classroom (Tomlinson A.
Carol, 2003, p.5)
Management: Establishes conditions that enable students to learn better and
because poor classroom management creates conditions that interfere with
desirable educational outcomes. (Evertson M. Carolyn, 2013, p.7).
Seating: Flexible classroom gives students a choice in what kind of learning
space works best for them, and helps them work collaboratively, communicate,
and engage in critical thinking ( Edutopia, 2015)
Achievement: To help students reach the highest possible level of achievement,
the effective teacher is constantly assessing for students learning. This helps
students go where they need to go and it helps them determine how best to get
there (Wong K. Harry, 2009, p.269).
Assumptions of the Study
It is assumed that
the environment of the classroom affects how the students learn and succeed in
school. It is also assumed that the environment can consist of classroom
management strategies, seating arrangement, communication among peers and
teacher, and the classroom décor that resides in the room. It can also be
assumed that the teacher is responsible for making sure the environment is
conductive for learning.
Delimitations of the Study
The research will
focus on the environment of the classroom. The environment of the classroom
consists of classroom management methods, seating arrangement, décor within the
classroom, and the communication among teacher and peers. It will also focus on
how the environment affects a child’s attention and focus while learning in the
Vygotsky influenced many people during his time and is still
influencing people today with his theory. He believed that humans learn from
the social, and environmental aspect of their lives. As children reach the age
of school, they take what they have learned from home to the classroom. Within
the classroom setting, the children are evaluated on their intellectual
Over the course of a child’s academic career, he learns not
only from his teacher but his environment as well. The teacher teaches lessons
that are about life, through class material. The subject matter and the level
of thinking attained in schools allows the child to develop cognitive thinking.
Cognitive thinking within the school atmosphere is the process of
understanding, remembering and paying attention which can only be done
successfully in an emotionally positive atmosphere. “Learning awakens a variety
of developmental processes that are able to operate only when the child is
interacting with people in his environment and in cooperation with his peers”
(Gredler 2011, p, 116).
The social interaction that the children receive from knowledgeable
peers and adults helps with their intellectual development. Vygotsky believes
that instruction, both formal and informal, by more knowledgeable peers and
adults is at the heart of cognitive development (Meece, 169). Children learn
how to talk, behave and react to certain things by watching the people within
their environments. The only way the child is going to learn successfully is
through the environment he or she lives in. The stakeholders of each child
impact how far that child’s cognitive development matures.
Carol Tomlinson also reiterates the significance of the
environment within a classroom. Coral Tomlinson (2003) states, “the classroom
environment includes both physical and affective attributes that individually
and cumulatively establish the tone and atmosphere in which teaching and
learning will take place” (p.37). The
moment a student walks into the classroom, she is affected by that classroom in
many ways. That environment will either fuel or deter her quest for striving to
be the best. Tomlinson (2003) explains, “Walls, bulletin boards, and artifacts
reveal much about the wonder or sterility of learning” (p.37). The environment of the classroom is not just
the people who reside within it, but also the décor that is present as well.
The décor of the classroom will either keep the students engaged in learning or
distract them from becoming the best version of themselves. The furniture
arrangement also plays a huge role in the environment of the classroom.
According to Tomlinson (2003), the “furniture arrangement speaks of partnership
or isolation, flexibility or standardization (p.37). The environment can
communicate how the teacher sees her students individually and how she values
each child’s academic abilities.
Significance of the Study
The research will show that the
environment within the classroom affects how a child learns while achieving
success. The environment of the classroom is a combination of features that
impact a child’s life. The classroom is not just a place where children go to
learn; it is also a place where children should feel at home, a place where
students may be themselves and thrive on success. The classroom is a safe and
successful place because of the effective classroom management methods and
procedures. It is a comfortable atmosphere where students learn to communicate
with their peers and collaborate effectively.
The environment of the classroom will
determine how a child sees himself now and in the future. His physical and
emotional surroundings set a foundation of how he will learn. The décor on the
wall can show the teacher’s passion for and understanding of her students’
emotional and academic success and achievements. This motivates students to
learn and work hard. The furniture arrangement can express partnership and
collaboration. While on the other hand it can also express isolation and deter
children from learning, as stated previously by Coral Tomlinson. A sensitive
teacher will discern her student’s emotional needs. Children are impacted every
day by their physical and emotional environment, and teachers need to be aware
of the kind of messages they are sending when a child walks into their