Five Ways of Arranging Your Classroom or Learning Space
Numerous studies have shown the importance of the learning environment for students’ education outcomes. Some of the most critical factors include the size of the class, emotional connectedness of the students, and skill level, teaching style, and input level of the teacher. Another important element, and one over which the teacher is able to exercise a high degree of control, is the layout of the classroom. Teaching ideologies, class size, and other factors have resulted in a broad array of configurations. In this guide, present five configurations and consider the benefits of each.
Popular with teachers whose students do a lot of group work, this style of classroom layout breaks your students into groups or “pods” of six. To form a pod, place two rows of three single desks (like the Eduflex Single Desk T Leg with Tray beside each other (six altogether) to create an oblong surface shape with chairs arranged along the longer sides, so the six students are facing each other. Space the pods about a metre apart so that students are not easily distracted by the groups around them. To apply the same learning style to smaller groups of three, the Eduflex Collaborative Zone is perfectly designed to maximise space and facilitate collaborative learning.
Another way of creating small collaborative groups, this option gives the students a little more personal space and allows the educator to stand or sit at the centre of the U shapes to give each group close attention. For this arrangement, you could use six single- or three double-desks, such as the Eduflex Double Desk, with one double desk acting as the end piece and the other two placed perpendicular to it on either side, leaving one end open and a space at the centre.
This method is less suited to small group work but is highly conducive to group discussions, allowing all students to have a good view of the board and teacher at the front of the class as well as being able to easily see and communicate with all of their classmates. Here you could use any combination of single- or double-desks or a specialised set, such as the Spectator Collection Bench Setting, a modular easting and desk system that can be arranged to form any number of shapes.
This style of seating hardly needs elaboration; rows of desks arranged lengthways across the classroom, parallel to one another, with chairs positioned behind each row to face the front of the class (i.e., the whiteboard). This layout can be good for tests or board work, but it makes it difficult for students to see or interact with one another (although for teachers who are having a hard time controlling their class, this setup might at times be desirable).
While not a new concept in education, flexible seating is still a divisive one. It allows students to move between seats as they feel, from being seated at a pod configuration to a beanbag on the floor to a lounge arrangement and back. Some educators argue that this style of seating is more in line with the way our world works now and encourages students to be flexible and adaptable. For others, it lacks structure and quickly becomes unmanageable. As always, it will depend on the teaching ideology of the school, the individual teacher, and the student body.
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- UBT Digital