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Barbara Follows

Barbara Follows, M.Ed

"My philosophy is that every child is unique and, whatever their differences, every single child matters."

Dissertation title page Synopsis

This paper evaluates the effect of the classroom environment on pupil behaviour. It is mainly concerned with pupils who present emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD), but not exclusively so. Reference is made to school communal areas and residential accommodation, as well as the classroom. The review of the literature is divided into the categories of, visual, auditory, thermal and spatial, with a section on empathy and one on feng shui. The research methodology is qualitative, based in the socio-anthropological paradigm. It is an empirical inquiry collecting data by means of case studies and Internet research. The case studies are of three different types of schools: an independent, mainstream school, an EBD school and a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU). The Internet research is of OFSTED inspection reports from twenty EBD schools. The conclusions reached are supported by the writer's professional experiences, as a teacher of children with EBD.

The research found that the built environment of a school does have an effect on the behaviour of all that work there. Appropriate accommodation can raise the effectiveness of the school and encourage positive behaviours. However, schools often have problems securing sufficient finances to adapt and maintain accommodation. Where accommodation is deficient, it is the teacher's role to counter this by effective classroom organisation. Therefore, although a facilitating environment is desirable, the teacher has the greater effect on the behaviour of the pupils. These conclusions have training and financial implications with greater co-operation needed between schools and LEA's. The study also suggests that EBD schools need to advertise their accomplishments, improving their status, to be seen and applauded as centres of expertise.

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