A well-painted classroom (without any scribbling on the walls) with clean and unbroken windows and clean doors is visually pleasing and can create a pleasant atmosphere.
There should be attractive display of students’ work (paintings, embroidery, essays, poems and other work of literature and art) so as to excite and capture students’ interest. At the same time, unwanted distractions such as windows overlooking a playground or a busy road should be avoided.
(b) Acoustic Aspects:
Classroom activities depend on verbal communication to a very great extent. Hence for effective teaching-learning process, avoiding disturbances and noise are of paramount importance. Teachers are found to be very sensitive to noise as it adversely influences performance and behaviour.
Major sources of noise include the methodology of teaching in the concerned as well as adjacent classrooms, the corridor outside, the noise level in the adjoining streets (vehicles, processions, marriage halls, celebration of festivals, places of worship and so on).
For better classroom management, a teacher has to decide the level of noise on account of conversations and activities as reasonable and acceptable. He/she should also decide about the activities that can be held simultaneously without creating noise disturbances to each other.
(c) Thermal Aspects:
Thermal conditions in the classroom play an important role in creating a conducive environment. The climatic conditions in India vary from region to region. Hence sufficient arrangement should be made to protect students from excessive heat/cold/rain depending on the season.
(d) Spatial Aspects:
Every classroom contains furniture, materials and equipment. These need to be arranged in different ways depending on the activities. For example, for the traditional lecture method, the rectangular arrangement is suitable in which students sit in rows facing the teacher and the blackboard.
On the other hand, for using instructional methods such as role playing or dramatization, a lot of open space is required. For individual project work, individual desks placed along all four sides of the room with the teacher’s table in the middle would be more suitable.
In other words, with appropriate arrangement of furniture, we can facilitate interactions of students with the teacher and the peers.
It will also facilitate free movement of individuals in the classroom, prevent people from falling over one another and provide enough space for carrying out activities. Providing enough space to individuals and groups will reduce conflicts among students and ensure higher levels of attention by the students.
A series of studies conducted by Sommer (1969) show that
(1) When people wish to work individually or privately and without interruption from others (e.g., while learning new skills, reading for comprehension etc.), they choose seats which are well apart from other people, seats which prevent or reduce eye contact.
(2) When people wish to take and share material co-operatively while working together (e.g., while problem-solving, simulation exercises, discussion etc.), they prefer to sit together side by side.
(3) When people work competitively (e.g., during quiz sessions or when the emphasis is on speed and quantity of learning), they choose to sit away from each other and opposite a partner with whom they are competing with the aim of stimulation for competition.
An effective classroom manager should keep such research findings in mind while arranging the physical environment of the classroom.