There is a direct relationship between the layout of a classroom and the interactions that will occur, which will impact student and teacher attitudes towards the learning content. Therefore, greater thought should be applied by the teacher to maximise student engagement and to offer students the appropriate seating arrangements for the lesson. If a classroom is not appropriately designed for the interactions necessary, then a strain will be placed upon the teacher to facilitate the intended interactions.
It is crucial for a teacher to master spatial arrangement because it can either enhance their teaching methods or detract from the overall success. Different layouts within the classroom lead to differing communication scenarios that promote student-student interaction, student-teacher interaction, or teacher-student interaction. If a teacher's intention is to have class discussions led predominantly by the students, then the traditional row method would not be a good spatial option because it limits interaction.
However, the spatial arrangement should not just be thought about in terms of teachers, but also should be influenced by the students and their attitudes towards the subject. A change in spatial arrangement may help some students boost their communication with a classroom layout that they feel more comfortable with. However, a different layou could also create discomfort or anxiety within some students and this will directly impact student learning. Thought should be applied when considering table layout and whether the particular group of students will be able to handle the communication pressures that are involved.
Studies have also shown that the spatial arrangement of a secondary class also has an underlying influence on how teachers form impressions of their students, at least in regards to their first impressions. Students seated towards the front of the class are usually being held in higher regard than those at the back and vice-versa . Also, the gender and age of the class has an important impact on teacher impressions based upon seating, with girls in higher grades who are sitting up the back of the room are seen more positively than boys in the same position. Interestingly, girls seated up the front in higher grades were seen more negatively. For boys, the reverse outcome was found with boys being more highly regarded sitting up the front in higher grades and more negatively viewed sitting up the back in the lower grades.
These studies support the need for teachers to expand their spatial arrangement repertoires so they can achieve the most effective learning environments. While teachers are trained in numerous other communication techniques, the inclusion of spatial arrangement in training seems very limited and should be explored more by teachers and their trainers.