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Effective classroom arrangements for adequate learning

Learners learn in uniquely different ways, and effective classroom layout for adequate learning depend on a number of factors. Several teaching methods and strategies that fit individual lesson topics are what necessitate use of different classroom arrangements.

In a nutshell, there is no single classroom arrangement that fits the needs of all topical objectives for every lesson. We have different ways to arrange a classroom, including traditional rows, horseshoes, and group setups for achieving set goals such as equity, discipline, and motivation.

For example, when a classroom is designed adequately spacious, teachers can easily reach out to the learners while learners can also easily consult among themselves.

Also, designing excessively spacious classrooms can distort the sense of collaboration and teamwork. So, the teacher's flexibility will help in trying different ways of classroom arrangement for the overall success of every learner.

Effective classroom arrangements for adequate learning

Effective classroom arrangement can be viewed as a means by which teachers arrange the physical elements of the classroom, such as seating and learning materials, to help establish a learning environment that facilitates learner growth.

 

  • Effective classroom arrangement will ensure adequate learning by:
  • Reducing the possibility of inappropriate learner behavior
  • Enhance positive social interactions among learners
  • Ensure classroom structure and predictability
  • Increase learner-to-teacher and teacher-to-learner engagement during lessons.
  •  Improve learner’s performance

 

Effective classroom arrangements for adequate learning enable teachers to facilitate various instructional activities that support the needs of diverse learners. Effective classroom arrangements can also help check learners' behavior by discouraging negative and interruptive behaviors among learners, leading to loss of instructional time.

The following are some of the key objectives effective class layout.

 

  • To facilitate efficient traffic patterns
  •  To aid frequent interaction
  • To facilitate frequent monitoring
  • To decrease distraction
  • To maximize teaching and academic engagement.

 

Classroom seating arrangements that fits different teaching strategies.

Classroom arrangements can be achieved in several ways. In this post, the classroom seating arrangements are approached in two different ways.

The first approach focuses on five broader dimensions in which a teacher or classroom manager can opt to arrange a classroom. The second approach focuses on several sub-unit arrangements that align to any of the five broader seating arrangements.

The following are five broader seating arrangements teachers can adopt to manage a classroom for maximum learning effectively:

  • Traditional seating arrangement.

This method design the classroom seating arrangement in rows of seats where all seats are facing towards the front of the classroom. It is one of the most common methods of classroom seating across educational institutions and workplace training.

  • Stadium seating.

This method arranges tables or desks in angled rows with desks touching. This seating arrangement focuses on the learners’ attention to a single point at the front of the classroom.

  • Semicircle or horseshoe

 This method of seating arrangement places desks in a semicircle with the desks facing the front of the room. Learners' attention is focused on the center of the room. This method is typically used for group discussions or demonstrations.

  • Groups or pods.

This method of classroom seating arrangement places desks together in groups. Group seating style allows learners to consult as they collaborate on an academic goal. The teacher can also participate in those groups' collaboration as a facilitator, but usually, the discussions by learners in groups are learner-centered.

  • Combination.

In this classroom seating style, a teacher can opt to combine the best parts of two or more classroom seating arrangements. This method can be used in one lesson or a specific number of tasks but not permanently. This method is used during lab or class activity that has rotating stations.

As already mentioned, this second batch of focus will dwell on several sub-unit classroom arrangements that align with any of the five broader seating arrangements discussed above.

  • Pairs.

This style of desk arrangement pairs up learners and allows them to work together or individually. It is more constructive for learners to work together as two as they can brainstorm and provide the best solution to a given assignment.

Learners can only be placed or instructed to work individually when undertaking the test. For example, a teacher can give a task in class and assignments each pair to provide the solution as one team.

  • Corner work.

This classroom seating arrangement works best when a teacher wants to deliver a comprehensive topic of a huge academic project with cross-cutting themes and then assign different tasks to different corners.

For example, a Literature teacher teaching literary analysis of a given novel can opt to provide the identification of themes to one corner, character identification and analysis to another corner, and thematic setting and styles to the third corner.

  • Eye

This seating arrangement method lets learners arrange their desks in a way that forms an eye-formation design. This method is best for debate or discussion. A group of learners will debate in the middle of the eye while the rest will become the audience.

  • Banquet

This classroom seating arrangement is used for two main purposes: (i) to let learners converse with the one facing them (through discussions or practicing a narrative or oral song) (ii) to sub-divide learners into two groups and let them work on bigger project such as oral recital, literary song, and literary role-playing.

  • Grid.

This classroom sitting arrangement best fits when the teacher is testing learners on given topics or when the teacher wants learners to work independently as an individual. In this seating arrangement, each desk stands alone without being close to the adjacent desk.

The stand-alone desk makes it difficult for learners to consult or copy the idea or work of another learner. This arrangement should not be used in the classroom at all times because effective learning requires collaboration. Learners can get lonely and demotivated because they perceive learning as a one-person journey.

  • U-shape.

This classroom seating arrangement places the desk in a u-shape or horseshoe design. It makes discussions easier, and it also enables the teacher to observe individual learners’ potential and provide one-on-one help to each of the learners. This seating arrangement should not be used for group work, for it shall not be possible.

  • U-shape large classroom.

This seating arrangement implies large classrooms with a large number of learners. Unlike the double u-shape arrangement, a u-shape large classroom does not cast learners out as there is no separate "U" in front. The u-shape large classroom accommodates all learners – both in front and in the back – making it equally open to even learners in the back.

  • Butterfly

 In this seating arrangement, desks are arranged so that they spread like a butterfly, where some are placed to provide an external layout while some are inserted inside.

The middle of the layout serves the purpose of the reservoir where learners go for an extra new assignment or additional instructions. This spread-out layout makes everything done within this learning setup spread out on those desks in the middle. The teacher is a facilitator providing further instructions, assignments, and real-time guidance.

  • Presentation

This seating arrangement makes a given number of learners get seated next to each other on one line. The next line follows a similar pattern, and the pattern is repeated until all learners fit in the new seating arrangement.

The objective of this classroom seating arrangement is to allow learners to listen to another learner, learner, or teacher sitting in front of the classroom. The person speaking in front could be giving a presentation, teaching, or demonstration.

This seating arrangement is best when the teacher wants learners to focus on the front of the classroom so that each learner can see what is presented in front. The speaker or facilitator in front can manage the classroom easily through varied presentation skills such as appropriate body language and eye contact.

  • Double U-shape.

Double U-shape arrangement is suitable for more learners in a small classroom. In this arrangement, more learners need to sit with each other though this seating arrangement poses challenges when it comes to accessibility as it may not allow the teacher to go around the classroom.

The learner may not get one-on-one guidance from the teacher as the seating arrangement allows the learner to overcrowd. Learners in the back can also miss out. However, this seating arrangement is best to use when teaching in front of the classroom or when giving a presentation.

  • Herringbone

This seating arrangement makes good use of two rows, three rows, or four rows but slightly turned so that they face the center of the classroom.

The arrangement allows learners to give maximum attention to the teacher or learners at the front of the classroom. It facilitates smooth discussions among learners and teacher. The seating arrangement can also enable learners to consult together within their rows easily.

Conclusion.

Effective classroom arrangement is important even more than a stylistic or organizational choice by the teacher. Physical classroom seating arrangements directly affect learner participation, motivation, learning, and teacher-learner and learner-learner relationships. A classroom seating arrangement designed in a learner-centered manner, focusing on learner collaboration and needs, can support adequate learning. 

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