The Impact Of Spatial Design On Teacher Communication: A Case Study
This study is a pre- post case study in two elementary schools examining the impact that school design can have on the informal communication of teachers. In the fall of 2012, students and teachers from two schools in northeastern United States were moved from schools with traditional, double-loaded corridor designs to schools with a non-traditional -learning commons," in which traditional library components, media spaces, and group break-out areas are incorporated throughout the school. It was hypothesized that informal teacher communication and perceived support of collaboration would increase in the new facilities as measured by scores on a Teacher Collaboration Scale, instances of communication logged over a two week period, observations, space syntax analysis, and interviews/focus groups with teachers. Specific attention was paid to identifying the spatial and organizational prerequisites of informal communication. While the hypothesis was partially supported, the study resulted in various implications for school design and organization such as creating shared space by centralizing service areas, limiting movement options by designing singular paths, encouraging overall movement by the strategic positioning of -specials," creating shared time through purposeful scheduling, and providing teacher training on collaborative space use and communication expectations.
teacher communication; school design; organizational behavior
Maxwell, Lorraine E
Sonnenstuhl, William James
M.S. of Human-Environment Relations
Master of Science
dissertation or thesis