Teacher Helper 1

English: Multimedia classroom seating arrangement.
Multimedia classroom seating arrangement (Wikipedia)
by Lewis Ferguson

Teachers, the first thing you want to do in your class is to creatively arrange the seating. All students react to the seating arrangements in your classroom.

Taking control of your class is enhanced by the way you arrange your chairs. Class layout, design and atmosphere are extremely important.

It is a novel idea to allow your students to sit wherever they want but it is not realistic.

On the middle school and high school levels you are one wise teacher if you seat your students alphabetically. There is a rule of thumb you can always count on... students will sit with their friends, if you let them, and friends love to chat, and chatting is bad for learning.

In most classrooms the desk is built into the chair. They are one piece. How you place these has the potential to positively affect the students. I have found that by angling the seats you place the students in an unexpected and interesting environment. You instantly capture their attention. Once you have their attention you can run with the ball.

Having seats placed parallel to the walls is the norm, for students. Angling the seats is a refreshing change, if you accept that atmosphere and environment are important to learning. Imagine a classroom where the chairs/desks are diagonal to the walls. This can really work well for you if there is enough space.

Your students will like your setup and think of it is as a nice change. You will, most likely, receive comments about the arrangement. If students look forward to coming to your class because it has a great atmosphere, even on a subconscious level, you have that much more of a chance to reach them with your subject matter.

Seating has to be logical. If you have a smart board, in your classroom, the seats will need to be angled for easy smart board viewing. You have to be very creative and come up with a solution that works best for you and your students. If your classroom is too small you made need to go with traditional seat placement.

When you are designing your seating areas remember to keep easy-traffic-flow in mind. Student traffic has to flow smoothly in order to avoid other time-consuming problems like students constantly bumping into each other.

I didn't invent the idea of seat-angling; I recalled it from my own experiences in high school. The easels in the studio classes were always angled and made for a great working environment, and a great visual effect. Even though that was an art room, subject matter is irrelevant. You can do this whether you teach math or English.

Innovative and creative classroom design ideas have a tendency to help everyone. Experiment with your seating arrangements. If one idea doesn't work as well as you had hoped, go to plan B. You can get a lot of positive results by making sure your room is comfortable and inviting.

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