Seating Arrangements in the Classroom Seating arrangements in the classroom
Seating arrangements in the classroom have a major impact on the outcome of the performance of each individual student. I firmly believe that strategic seating arrangements will increase the performance of almost the entire classroom if done so with careful planning and consideration. In several of the assignments that I have submitted throughout this course, I mention that a classrooms' seating arrangement should be designed around the level of ability of each individual student. At the beginning of every school year I often wait several weeks to actually put the final seating chart into place. I do this on purpose. The method to my madness is to try and see where the students seat themselves within the classroom. In my experience I find that lower level students usually seat themselves close to other lower level students while higher level students seat themselves next to other higher level students. If a teacher is not cautious about his/her seating chart, he/she may suddenly find themselves teaching in a classroom with very contrasting levels of ability. Students should be seated according to performance and understanding of the target subject. What is meant by this is that after a few weeks a teacher should seat lower level students next to higher level students all across the classroom. This should be done so without letting the students know why you're suddenly switching the seating arrangements. A teacher does not want to let any of his/her lower ability students to know that this is the reason for their movement.
Once the final seating chart is in place the teacher should notice many changes occur. Some students might feel strange sitting next to new neighbours while others will be very welcoming. After a short while, students usually warm up to their new neighbours and forget about where they used to sit. This is when group work and activities that involve role play should be utilized in the classroom lesson. The whole idea of carefully and strategically designing a seating chart is to ultimately have students start to learn from each other. While the teacher is viewed as the main source of information in the classroom, higher level students can act as teachers themselves. This usually shines through to teachers during activities that involve group work. Group work brings out the best in all students. Group work is a great way to actively involve all students into a lesson. When the students are all actively participating in a class lesson, this is where the teacher will notice the difference that seating arrangement has on the classroom. Higher level students often like to be heard. They like to let others know that they know what is going on and that they understand the material. According to the National Training Laboratories in Bethel, Maine, students retain 90% of what they learn in class by teaching others (http://www.acu.edu/cte/activelearning/whyuseal2.htm ). Not only are lower level students getting help from the teacher but now the teacher will notice that they will receive help from other students in the class, especially the ones seated around them. The seating arrangement in a classroom has a major impact on the performance of each individual student. While students who teach other students start to retain more information, lower level students will receive twice the help that they need in order to raise their performance and understanding of the target subject. Teachers who strategically design classroom seating will notice improvement amongst all students in the classroom setting.
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