Effects of Classroom Seating Arrangements on Children's question-asking

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between classroom seating arrangements and the question-asking of fourth-graders. Data were collected during 53 lessons spread over 8 weeks. Children were assigned to sit in a semicircle and then in a row-and-column seating arrangement for 2 weeks each. This rotation was repeated. Both children's questions and the teacher's verbal reactions were recorded using an observational system based on Kearsley's question taxonomy. 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. The findings also revealed that, within the row-and-column arrangement, there was an action-zone in which children asked more questions per lesson. The results are interpreted in terms of Steinzor's postulation that social interaction is encouraged when individuals are able to establish face-to-face contact.

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Marx, A., Fuhrer, U. & Hartig, T. Effects of Classroom Seating Arrangements on Children's question-asking. Learning Environments Research 2, 249–263 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1009901922191

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  • classroom observation
  • physical environment
  • question-asking
  • seating arrangements