No – the short answer.
Although this is an old paper reviewing psychological perspectives on this notion, the evidence shows little impact. But it does raise some interesting ideas about how the current movement for classroom re-design is breaking away from this old idea of the traditional lecture. In the more dynamic learning spaces, could facing away from the teacher and focusing more on the group have an effect on learning and engagement? Does this sort of empirical study have any value in understanding such a complex environment as a classroom?
Journal of Environmental Psychology (1988) 8, 149-157
CLASSROOM SEATING LOCATION AND ITS EFFECT ON
COURSE ACHIEVEMENT, PARTICIPATION, AND
DANIEL R. MONTELLO