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ERIC Number: EJ1139915
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Apr
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0038-0407
The Elephant in the Schoolhouse: The Role of Propinquity in School Staff Interactions about Teaching
Spillane, James P.; Shirrell, Matthew; Sweet, Tracy M.
Sociology of Education, v90 n2 p149-171 Apr 2017
Although the physical arrangement of workspaces can both constrain and enable interactions among organizational members, sociological research in education has not extensively examined the role of physical proximity in determining work-related social ties among school staff. Using social network analysis, this article explores the relationship between physical proximity and instructional advice seeking among school staff in all 14 elementary schools in one U.S. school district over four years. Results show that school staff whose workspaces are located closer to one another, and whose paths likely cross more frequently in their day-to-day work within the school building, are more likely to talk with one another about their work. Findings argue for more careful consideration when assigning school staff to workspaces, as the physical proximity of school staff appears to play a significant role in who talks to whom about instruction.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE0831835