The lesson observations took place in a varied age range of classroom environments and the research instrument used provided a detailed and descriptive analysis about the structure of lessons and the varying uses of the primary classroom environments. The following is a summary of the research findings:
• Classroom layouts were arranged in either rows, group seating arrangements or a combination of both.
Neither classroom age nor size dictates the layout of the classroom, although it was thought to limit the possible arrangement of furniture and resources and was observed to cause circulation problems for both pupils and teachers when too small.
• Lesson structures were found to be a combination of standard, dual activity or multiple activity types. The periods of the lesson devoted to teaching activities took up the most time in lessons and ranged from 50.0 to 85.7 per cent of the lesson. Periods of transition between teaching activity in dual and multiple activity lessons ranged from 2.4 to
12.0 per cent. Plenary took between 5.5 and
23.0 per cent of the duration of lessons and concluding stages ranged from 2.8 to 16.7 per cent of the total duration of lessons.
• The data shows that teachers spent on average 81.3 per cent of their time teaching, which in the 44 lessons observed ranged from 66.6 to 93.8 per cent. Time spent managing was very varied ranging from 7.2 to 53.0 per cent, with on average almost one fifth (17.5 per cent) of their time spent managing; this shows a
complex relationship between teaching and managing, and pupils actually learning.
• The most common form of class organization recorded was whole class and individual teaching. Whole class organization was encountered at some point in all 44 lessons ranging from 10 to 100 per cent of the lesson duration. Time spent exclusively in group teaching was seen in only 4 lessons, ranging from 47.0 to 70.9 per cent of the lesson duration, and in paired organization in 3 lessons, ranging from 32.3 to 90.0 per cent. Individual organization was noted in 34 of the lessons and varied from 17.0 to 90.0 per cent.
• By far the greatest amount of time spent interacting with the teacher was as part of whole class teaching activities. The teacher would interact with the whole class, either by addressing pupils where they sat or by arranging the pupils to sit around the teacher on the floor.
• The location and movement of the teacher and learning support staff in the classroom did not relate to the layout of the room but to the teaching activity and organization of the class.