Module 3 Environmental management

About this module

The physical environment has a significant influence on learning. It gives students clear messages about how teachers value them and their learning.

Environmental management

Within the classroom, environmental management includes:

  • What you want your classroom to look like?
  • Where should students be seated?
  • What should it feel like to be a class member or visitor?
  • How will students access resources?
  • How will you regulate movement and interaction?

Essential features of environmental management

Essential features of classroom environment management that must be considered by each teacher includes:

  • lighting
  • seating plans
  • displays
  • designated areas
  • clutter free
  • furniture arrangement
  • space to move safely
  • schedules/timetables
  • storage
  • temperature
  • technology
  • ventilation.

The Importance of a seating plan

Seating plans are fundamental to effective classroom environmental management. Seating arrangements can have a positive impact on teacher-student and student-student working relationships, communication and interaction; and engagement in learning, motivation and focus. It is important to consider which students work well together, and those who do not.

Physical Arrangement: traditional classroom seating arrangements

When setting up and altering the physical arrangements of each learning space, teachers need to consider:

Consideration for the location of desks and seating arrangements includes:

  • where the teacher’s desk is positioned
  • where students' desks are positioned
  • putting desks where you can see students' eyes and they can see yours
  • making sure pathways should be clearly defined and separate from work areas.

Additional advice:

  • Large, open spaces may invite inappropriate physical activities and should be avoided.
  • The teacher desk be located out of the way to encourage movement around the room.
  • Instructional materials be easily accessible and retrieved.
  • If using flexible learning spaces to increase student engagement and encourage collaboration, were will it be located, when will it be used, how will students know how to effectively use it and return it at the end of learning.

Guidance for sight lines include:

  • teacher positions
  • don’t segment room
  • don’t put things in rooms that block site lines.

How will everyone move around the classroom as needed for associated activities (for example pencil sharpening, getting water, using the bathroom, beginning and end of day and transition times).

Proactive teacher behaviours

Proactive teacher behaviours to create a positive climate

Proactive teacher behaviour helps create a positive classroom climate. Preferred adult behaviours that impact student compliance, learning, and connection to school include:

  • proximity
  • listening
  • eye contact (when culturally appropriate)
  • use of pleasant voice
  • smiling
  • use of student’s name.

Effective teacher behaviours increase the probability of success

Effective classroom managers are known, not by what they do when inappropriate behaviour occurs, but by what they do to set their classroom up for academic success and prevent problems from occurring. An effective teacher creates a set of circumstances that increase the probability of success now and for the future.


  • Teacher facilitated
  • Direct and explicit
  • Authentic examples
  • Multiple opportunities
  • Engages students
  • Arranges physical spaces
  • Develops routines and procedures
  • Consistent across time and students
  • Communicates often
  • Conveys genuine interest in students
  • Maintains role of encouraging teacher

Module wrap up

Classroom environment considers:

  • well organised learning spaces
  • light and ventilation
  • seating plan
  • accessible resources
  • attractive, stimulating displays
  • role of teacher behaviour in establishing classroom climate.

The physical environment has a significant influence on learning, it gives a student clear messages about how we value them and how we value learning.

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