Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences, Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

P. Bruce Uhrmacher, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Nicole Russell

Third Advisor

Nancy Sampson

Fourth Advisor

Cynthia McRae


Architecture, Elementary school, Classrooms, Classroom design, Classroom environment, Spaces, Inspired


The physical environment of the classroom impacts teachers and students. In many settings teachers are given some autonomy but little guidance in the establishment of the physical environment of the classroom. Relatively few studies examine issues related to the totality of the physical environment of the classroom. This study is intended to provide a bridge between multiple disciplines and classroom application by describing and interpreting the intentions and decision making process of three teachers in the establishment of the physical environment of their classrooms.

The five questions that guided this study focused on intentions of the teacher related to the physical environment, her/his philosophical and pedagogical beliefs, if the intentions were realized (or not) within the practice; impact of physical environment on teaching practice and the significance of examining the relationship between the physical environment of the classroom and the teacher's values and intentions.

The methodology utilized for this study is Educational Connoisseurship and Criticism. This investigation provides detailed descriptions and interpretation of the experiences of three classroom teachers in vastly different school sites. Data collection includes multiple observations, interviews and artifact review.

Several key findings emerged: 1) Teacher intentions for the physical environment to of the classroom were influenced by personal experiences and educational beliefs, 2) There is a symbiotic relationship between the physical environment of the classroom and the other dimensions of the classroom including curriculum offerings, instructional strategies and pedagogical techniques, classroom structure and organizational systems 3) Architectural elements exerted force over several of Eisner's dimensions of school including teacher intentions, and 4) the teacher's view of the flexibility of the space impacted both intention and use of the physical environment.

This study has a variety of implications within the field of education as well as across disciplines. Implications from this study impact teacher education programs, practicing school administrators and planners, the school reform movement as schools with specific philosophies seek to create environments which support their mission and cross-disciplinary issues related to building design and planning, school furnishing design, lighting and color theory, and environmental hazard and impact.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Shannon Britton Jones


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

298 p.


Education, Teacher education, Elementary education