6.3 Seating arrangement
Seating arrangements are essential when it comes to classroom management as it can affect the student’s focus, interaction, behaviour, and even the atmosphere of the class. There are many different types of seating arrangements that all have pros and cons, and when used for various activities or lessons.
Below are some popular seating arrangements you can try out in your classroom:
Traditional Rows Pros
- Promotes focus on the educator and content.
- Suitable for teacher-focused classes.
- Easy to achieve with large classes.
- Students with behavioural issues can be placed in front to manage behaviour.
Traditional Rows Cons
- Creates an environment where the educator is the primary feature and students are secondary members.
- Students can quickly become distracted during the lesson.
- Discourages interpersonal communication.
- Not easy to watch students in the mid-back rows.
- Not productive for classes built around communication and interaction.
- Not easy for the educator to walk among the students.
Group seating/Cluster Seating Pros
- The small group creates a secure area for students to communicate.
- Creates a more intimate experience for interaction.
- Shared knowledge of group work improves individual knowledge.
- Student behaviour can be controlled much more effortlessly.
- Can have assistant teachers in the form of students to increase group performance.
- Can quickly obtain or handle student work.
Group Seating/Cluster Seating Cons
- Some learners may only copy work and be less involved in learning.
- Students rely on the most active student to communicate with the class.
- Putting students in groups does not mean they will work as a group.
- The educator may not be able to evaluate each student’s ability adequately.
- Students can easily take attention away from listening to the instructor or other students.
U-Shaped Seating Pros
- Promotes exchanges and interaction.
- Easy to observe students and give one on one help if needed.
- Creates a relationship with the educator and other students.
- Creates a small community in which to learn.
- Assists in involving students to learn.
- It can be an enabler for students to partake.
- Helps handle some students with behavioural issues.
U-Shaped Seating Cons
- Shy students may fear being part of one large group.
- Some students do not want to talk with many eyes upon them.
- It cannot be used with all ages to manage behaviour.
- If the class is not a vocal group, the silence of many can dissuade the speaking of a few. No seating system can force a class to talk that does not want to talk.
- Classroom size and the number of students can prevent the usefulness of this arrangement.