Effect of Students' Classroom Location on Amount of Teacher Attention
Rigney, Alexander M.
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Teacher attention has been shown to be an effective tool for keeping students on task in the classroom (e.g., Hall, Lund, & Jackson, 1968). Results from studies examining classroom arrangement suggest that classroom arrangement affects students' behavior (e.g., Axelrod, Hall, & Tams, 1979) and teacher behavior (Wheldall & Lam, 1987). This study examined whether students' arrangement in the classroom (i.e., their location) would have an effect on teacher attention (i.e., would the teacher give more or less attention to certain areas of the room?). Using an ASL eye tracking system, teachers' eye fixations were recorded in four public school classrooms. Four of these classrooms were used for this study and independently analyzed. In total there were 88 students ranging from elementary to junior high level. Teacher eye fixations were recorded and measured for each student location (i.e., groups of desks or rows) and front, back, left, and right quadrants of the room. In one of the classrooms a significant difference was found between a group of students seated in the front center and a group of students seated front right, but in all other classrooms there were no significant differences in where the teachers' attention was allocated. Numerical differences were present however, and they are tentatively discussed. Improvements for conducting this type of study in the future are suggested, and the data are discussed in terms of their implications for how teachers are allocating their attention in the classroom.