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The Importance of ESL Classroom Setup

The Importance of ESL Classroom Setup | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Classroom setup is an important part of setting up a welcoming and friendly environment. It is the foundation on which a teacher can build strong relationships with their students, and build a more student-centered class while incorporating their passions into their work.

The way a classroom is set up is a great first impression for students, which means it’s important for teachers to put in an effort to make their classroom a welcoming environment. Moreover, a fun classroom set up can reflect your personality or what you’re passionate about as a teacher, and it can be a fun way to introduce yourself to the students.

Even having speakers so that you can play music in the class is a great way to set up your classroom to be fun and inviting. The simple effort of playing music during work time or during passing periods can make a big impact on how the class is perceived. In order to build a welcoming and friendly classroom environment, setting up your classroom to feel inviting is the first step.

It's all about first impressions!

First impressions can make a big impact on how your classroom is perceived. The smallest effort or attention to detail can go a long way. Setting up your classroom in a fun and inviting way is the foundation to a good classroom environment. Having things like posters, plants, books, or cozy chairs can make a classroom feel inviting. Even having speakers in the class so that you can play music in the background is a great way to make an inviting atmosphere. Moreover, arranging desks in groups rather than single file rows can also have a big effect on the classroom environment because it means students can work together and collaborate.

It’s important to put in an effort into how the class looks because it will impact the way it feels. If the classroom is quiet and barren with all desks facing forward and spaced apart, it will feel uninviting. If a classroom is inviting, students are more likely to feel comfortable there and might even look forward to being in the class. Moreover, a fun classroom set up is great for the teacher as well, because they are the ones who will spend the most time there. Might as well make it fun.

Bring your personality into the classrroom!

When I was training to be a teacher, the best advice my mentor teacher gave me was to include my passion into my work. It needs to be something I’d find fun teaching, even if I come off as nerdy. I think this advice also works for setting up your classroom. For example, I would include movie posters of some of my favorite movies, lamps around the room so that we don’t have to use fluorescent lights, bookshelves and cozy chairs, or plants along the windows. Of course, this is a very ideal version of my future classroom but it includes my passions and it’s something I can work toward.

Ultimately, working towards your goal of an ideal classroom is the best thing a teacher can do. Looking back on my favorite teachers, I can tell they knew the importance of classroom set up as well. It was the foundation of what made a great classroom. My favorite teachers included their passions in ways such as posters of historic icons, student success displays, speakers set up around the classroom, or snack stations for students. Teachers who wanted to reflect their passion about historical icons or student centered classes did that through their setup, and it had a great first impression on the students. I remember looking forward to being in the classrooms that didn’t use fluorescent lights, or had music playing during work time.

Creating a calming environment

As a substitute teacher, I have been able to observe some great classroom setups. The best classroom I’ve ever been to was in a school where “behavior problems” regularly occur. The classroom had a coffee/tea station with snacks, lamps around the corners of the room, posters of plants, a reading area with cozy chairs and books students could borrow, and a student success wall showcasing student work. I immediately felt comfortable in the class, and I could tell the students did too.

The students were naturally calm and quiet, and the whole day was very relaxed. They knew the expectations their teacher had for them, meaning they cleaned up after themselves and kept the room organized. Some students even came into the class to take a break or grab a snack, and the teacher had left a note saying they encourage students to drop by if they need a break. It was an amazing classroom setup and it provided a great foundation for the environment.

Setting up your classroom to reflect your personality as a teacher or create a student-centered environment can take time. It’s a goal teachers need to build towards slowly, but it’s worth all the effort. Even setting up the desks in groups can have a great impact on the class because it means students can collaborate and know each other. How the classroom is set up will affect the environment you introduce to the students. The best way to make a welcoming environment is to set up your classroom to reflect that.

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