Principles of Classroom Arrangement

Here are four basic principles

  • Reduce congestion in high-traffic areas:
  • Make sure that you can easily see all students:
  • Make often-used teaching materials and student supplies easily accessible:
  • Make sure that students can easily observe whole-class presentations:

1. Reduce congestion in high-traffic areas:

Distraction and disruption can often occur in high- traffic areas. These include group work areas, students’ desks, the teacher’s desk, the pencil sharpener, bookshelves, computer stations, and storage locations. Separate these areas from each other as much as possible and make sure they are easily accessible.

2. Make sure that you can easily see all students:

An important management task is to carefully monitor students. To do this, you will need to be able to see all students at all times. Make sure there is a clear line of sight between your desk, instructional locations, students’ desks, and all student work areas. Stand in different parts of the room to check for blind spots.

3. Make often-used teaching materials and student supplies easily accessible:

This minimizes preparation and cleanup time, as well as slowdowns and breaks in activity flow.

4. Make sure that students can easily observe whole-class

Establish where you and your students will be located when whole-class presentations take place. For these activities, students should not have to move their chairs or stretch their necks. To find out how well your students can see from their locations, sit in their sexis in different parts of the room.presentations:

Arrangement Style:

In thinking about how you will organize the classroom’s physical space, you should ask yourself what type of instructional activity students will mainly be engaged in (whole-class, small-group, individual assignments, etc.). Consider the physical arrangements that will best support that type of activity.

  • Personalizing the Classroom
  • Standard classroom Arrangements

1. Standard classroom Arrangements:

A number of classroom arrangement styles are auditorium, face-to-face, off-set, seminar, and cluster. In traditional auditorium style, all students sit facing the teacher. This arrangement inhibits face-to-face student contacts and the teacher is free to move any where in the room. Auditorium style often is used when the teacher lectures or someone is making a presentation to the entire class.

In face-to-face style, students sit facing each other. Distraction from other students is higher in this arrangement than in the auditorium style..

In off-set style, small numbers of students (usually three or four) sit at tables but do not sit directly across from one another. This produces less distraction than face-to-face Style and can be effective for cooperative learning activities.

In seminar style, larger numbers of students (ten or more) sit in circular, square, or U-shaped arrangements. This is especially effective when you want students to talk with each other or to converse with you.

In cluster style, small numbers of students (usually four to eight) work in small, closely bunched groups. This arrangement is especially effective for collaborative learning activities.

Clustering desks encourages social interaction among students. In contrast, rows of desks reduce social interaction among students and direct students’ attention toward the teacher. Arranging desks in rows can benefit students when they are working on individual assignments, whereas clustered desks facilitate cooperative learning. In classrooms in which seats are organized in rows, the teacher is most likely to interact with students seated in the front and center of the classroom. This area has been called the “action zone” because students in the front and center locations interact the most with the teacher. For example, they most often ask question and are most likely to initiate discussion. If you use a row arrangement, move around the room when possible, establish eye contact with students seated outside the “action zone,” direct comments to students in the peripheral seats, and periodically have students change seats so that all students have an equal opportunity of being in the front and center seats.

2. Personalizing the Classroom:

According to classroom management experts Carol Weinstein and Andrew Mignano (1997)classrooms too often resemble motel rooms-pleasant but impersonal, revealing nothing about the people who use the space. Such anonymity is especially true of secondary school classrooms, where six or seven different classes might use the space in a single day To personalize classrooms, post students’ photographs, artwork, written projects, charts that list birthdays (of early childhood and elementary school students), and other positive expressions of students’ identities. A bulletin board can be set aside for the “student of the week” or be used to display each student’s best work of week personally chosen by each student.

Steps for Designing a Classroom Arrangement

Follow these steps in designing a classroom arrangement

  • Consider what activities students will be engaging in:
  • Draw up a floor plan:
  • Involve students in planning the classroom layout:
  • Try out the arrangement and be flexible in redesigning it:

1. Consider what activities students will be engaging in:

If you will be teaching kindergarten or elementary school students, you might need to create settings for reading aloud, small-group reading instruction, sharing time, group math instruction, and arts and crafts. A secondary school science teacher might have to accommodate whole-group.- instruction, “hands-on” lab activities, and media presentations. On the left side of a sheet of paper, list the activities your students will perform. Next to each activity, list any special arrangements that need to be taken into account; for instance, art and science areas need to be near a sink, and computers need to be near an electrical outlet.

2. Draw up a floor plan:

Before you actually move any furniture, draw several floor plans and then choose the one that you think will work the best.

3. Involve students in planning the classroom layout:

You can do most of your environmental planning before school starts, but once it begins, ask students how they like your arrangement. If they suggest improvements that are reasonable, try them out. Students often report that they want adequate room and a place of their own where they can keep their things.

4. Try out the arrangement and be flexible in redesigning it:

Several weeks into the school year, evaluate how effective your arrangement is. Be alert for problems that the arrangement might be generating. For example, one study found that when kindergarten students crowded around à teacher who was reading a story to them, they often misbehaved just spreading the children apart in a semicircle significantly decreased the misbehaviors.

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