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TEFL Videos - Classroom Management for Teaching English as a Foreign Language - Desk Layout
So now we'll consider the actual classroom arrangements themselves in terms of the physical desk layout. There are possibly three main types of arrangements that are used within classrooms and we're going to indicate the desks here as being boxes and the arrangements of the students within those desks will be blue crosses. So here we have the desks ranged in rows and the students sitting within those rows. The second arrangement could be the use of horseshoes or semi circles and finally the use of individual desks. So for each of these arrangements what are the potential advantages and disadvantages of arranging our seating in this way? Let's take the rows first of all. One of the potential advantages is that it does give the teacher the opportunity, if it's arranged correctly, to move around freely within that arrangement. The second potential advantage is that allows the students to have a clear view of the teacher at their prominent position at the front of the class. There are however some potential drawbacks to this particular arrangement and firstly and foremost it can be very difficult with this type of arrangement a whole class interaction. So it's difficult for people to get up and move around. Secondly it has a very formal feel to it and while this might be okay in certain situations if we're doing communicative activities we don't want that formal feel because it will reduce the opportunity for students to talk to each other. So one potential way of getting around this is to use the actual horseshoes and some of the advantages of this system is that the teacher appears less dominant within that horseshoe arrangement and secondly with the horseshoe it's very easy to arrange pair work. There are some potential disadvantages however to this particular arrangement. Perhaps the most important is the actual position of the teacher within this horseshoe. If the teacher moves inside the horseshoe, then some of our students will absolutely be behind us and therefore they will not be able to see our mouth when we are speaking. They will lose a lot of information by not being able to see our mouths. So one of the major disadvantages is that the position of the teacher becomes very important and not moving into that horseshoe. So our final arrangement then is the individual desks and the potential advantages here is that it's easy to give individual attention by just working with one student at one desk and you're not going to disturb the person next to you. The second potential advantage is that if you are giving a didactic teaching lesson so you're explaining information this particular arrangement is very useful for that system. So it's good for a lecture type situation. There are some disadvantages to this particular arrangement and possibly the first one is that it's difficult to maintain eye contact with all your students and finally here it's quite difficult to get student/student interaction with this particular arrangement. So it's quite important that we think about our classroom arrangement and the potential advantages and disadvantages of arranging in any particular way. So far then we've talked about the use of the eyes, the use of voice and the use of gesture to help them manage the classroom. We've also looked at the actual classroom arrangement, in terms of the physical space and the material within that classroom, and we've looked at three of the most common types of arrangements in terms of seating.