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A.F. - U.S.A. said:
SeatingArrangementsThe classroom is a space allowing teachers and students to interact with the goal of education. How that space is used can determine the effectiveness of the class. Many factors can contribute to this overall concept such as cleanliness, aesthetic value, acoustics, equipment, size, etc. However one seemingly simple factor, positioning, can influence the educational process and communication greatly and it is a factor that teachers often customize to great effect. Both the quantity and quality of communication between students and the teacher are thought to be effected by how seating is arranged in the classroom. The most common arrangement associated with classrooms is neat rows all facing the front of the room. This format maintains focus on the teacher or subject at hand and minimizes student interaction. Communication from the teacher to the students is prioritized here. This arrangement?s origin can be tracked to necessity when teachers only had available light from windows. This mandated the orderly, spaced seating which could equally take advantage of the incoming light. This arrangement still dominates in the majority of classrooms despite its original necessitating factor no longer being an issue. Another arrangement, referred to as a semi-circle or horseshoe, can often be found with very young students or small class sizes. The formality is lessened by having a circular arrangement. students are now better able to see and address their peers while still facing the teacher. The size of the classroom and the number of students can be a limiting factor in using this format. Very young students that lack the attention span to remain in individual desks or advanced classes, such as graduate level courses, that prioritize discussion over lecture can benefit from this arrangement. Called a modular arrangement, this format builds in the concept of student groups. A few to several students make up a module, seated around a group desk or laboratory table. Several modules are arranged neatly in the classroom. The teacher has a freedom of movement in this arrangement and can monitor and assist without interrupting other modules during group work. The emphasis on student independence here can be a detriment if the motivation, maturity or focus of the students is lacking. The teacher can not maintain eye contact with everyone easily and student interaction may persist during teacher communication. student reaction to seating can help or deter a positive classroom environment. If the student feels valued with their position and ability to communicate with the teacher, it can create a helpful interaction. If the student feels too distant because of being in the last row of orderly seating or turned away from the front of the class in a modular arrangement, they may view the seating as an obstacle to their education and manifest behaviors to protest it. It is important to be aware of the task at hand and know if the current seating helps or hurts that goal. Seating does not have to be permanent, nor should it. In addition to changing seating to accommodate activities and lesson needs, seating can be changed to maintain teacher control or prescribe discipline among students. A useful tool can be found online for teachers wanting ideas or layouts for their classrooms. The provided link contains an interactive resource to map and customize seating. ( Knowledge of the students in a class is as essential to creating an arrangement as knowing the lesson plan. A teacher that understands the personalities and cultural backgrounds of their students can apply their knowledge of seating psychology to the activity in question and tailor the format to them. Getting feedback directly from the students is also helpful. While they might not be able to articulate why they like or dislike an arrangement, their general evaluation can assist the teacher?s decision overall. It is widely agreed upon though, that staying flexible with arrangements will provide a better environment than merely choosing one that works most of the time.