Adaptive use patterns of secondary school classroom environments

Aleksander Sztejnberg, Edward F. Finch

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose - The purpose of this research is to investigate how secondary school teachers adaptively make use of the classroom learning environment. The approach illustrates the intimate relationship between teaching style, learning style and the adaptive use of space as well as the preferences for different learning environments. Design/methodology/approach - A multi method study approach was used to carry out the research. Two main methods were used in the study. In the first method, trainee teachers recorded spatial observations (mapping). Maps of the chemistry classrooms were produced. The observers marked all fixed, semi-fixed and flexible elements in the classroom space. The second method involved two questionnaires. The first questionnaire (Principles of Adult Learning Scale (PALS)) was used to identify and describe teachers' teaching styles. The second questionnaire (Questionnaire of the Classrooms' Physical Properties) was used by trainee teachers acting as observers. It consists of a set of items that enable the evaluation of classroom quality related to specific physical properties. Research data were collected from ten secondary schools (upper level of the Polish secondary schools) in five cities located in South-West part of Poland. Findings - The results suggest that the traditional row and column classroom seating arrangement was dominant. It was found that teaching styles could be identified determined using factors identified using the PALS scale. Teachers generally perceived their own learning environment as more teacher-centered or more student-centered. Their teaching styles were combinations of student-centered and teacher-centered activity. Practical implications - The research has practical significance in that it had developed a questionnaire that can be used by students and teachers to monitor the quality of physical classrooms environments and provide guidelines for the improvement of learning spaces. Originality/value - The application of the multi-method described in this study creates possibilities for a deeper understanding of secondary school classroom environments. A structured data collection system was valuable for the trainee teachers. They acquired a useful knowledge of classroom management and how to create effective learning environments, during the professional practice period. Trainee teachers gain awareness that would enable them to make changes to the classroom environment as an adaptive resource. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)490-509
    Number of pages20
    Issue number13-14
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • Classrooms
    • Poland
    • Secondary schools
    • Space utilization
    • Teaching styles


    Dive into the research topics of 'Adaptive use patterns of secondary school classroom environments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this