Recently NEA, National Education Association, included an article entitled Farewell Desks, Here Come the Starbucks Classrooms on their website. As I read the article, I thought about the various seating arrangements I had used in elementary classrooms during my teaching years.
I was always the teacher who disliked desks in rows. I felt it set a tone that was not conducive to learning. I must also state that whenever desks were in groups or tables were used in the middle school…I had to exert more energy with regards to insuring positive student behaviors related to listening, following my directions, and refraining from disrupting other classmates with inappropriate talking. My students needed to understand sitting beside each other did not mean “free to talk and misbehave”.
I liked my students to be engaged in collaborative and cooperative learning as much as possible. In order to provide these styles of learning successfully, I spent time on teaching rules and discussing why consequences would occur when classroom rules were not followed.
I urge all teachers to reflect on whether changing the seating arrangements from rows to other types of classroom settings could encourage better learning for your students. Check into the ideas offered in the links below.
And…as always…add your ideas that work in your classrooms.