If you're a teacher, you know that your success will be determined by how well you engage students in learning. According to a recent study, almost two-thirds of 12th grade students don't feel engaged at school. Although knowing your course material can be important, you can instantly increase classroom engagement by intentionally arranging your classroom furniture.
Here are some classroom arrangement strategies that are sure to help you engage your students.
Your Desk Should not be the Center of Attention
Every group activity needs a leader. Teaching is certainly no different. However, this doesn't mean that your desk should be the focal point of your classroom.
Grouping: Students learn best when they feel connected to their peers. An easy way to make them feel closer can be to make them physically closer. Putting them into pairs, threes, or fours can be perfect for stimulating collaborative learning. To facilitate these groupings you must choose classroom desks/tables and chairs that fit into a variety of configurations. For instance, it's important to make sure that students can access their chairs comfortably and maintain personal space.
You should also consider orienting your grouping arrangements so that students can make maximum eye contact with the focal point of your lesson. For instance, if you're conducting a Socratic discussion, you may want to arrange your grouping formations so that each side of your classroom faces each other. However, if you're having a more traditional lecture, you may want to have your students face your visual aide and/or lectern.
Creative Coupling and Uncoupling
Although students like to have routines and yearn to have a space in your classroom that feels like their own, they also enjoy novelty.
Be Creative: Consider each piece of furniture in your classroom as its own entity. Your chairs, if not connected to your desks, do not need to be used together all the time. For instance, you can arrange your desks into a circle and have your students sit on top of the desks for a classroom discussion and/or debate. You can use the same strategy with your chairs. On days when students are giving presentations, they likely won't need their desks. Try arranging your chairs into a theater-like formation. Creating this type of arrangement lets students know that they are star of the show when they're presenting.
How you choose to arrange your classroom can have a big impact on classroom learning.