Increase student attention and learning by reorganizing your classroom arrangement with these helpful tips.

Student engagement becomes more difficult as additional distractions — such as new electronic devices and board of education demands that shift teacher lesson plans — are introduced. Whether engaging in group work, pursuing project-based learning, embarking upon a virtual field trip, focusing on a presentation, or simply teaching a standard everyday lesson, seating and classroom arrangement is essential to maximize student engagement. To help regain student focus, start by bringing a fresh, new classroom arrangement to your space.

classroom arrangementTeacher-centered Setup

A traditional classroom arrangement in which a teacher’s desk sits at the front of the room, facing students, is still useful when administering lectures. By using this arrangement, students are focused only on the teacher who is presenting the lesson at the front of the room. Organizing this setup would be most useful for smaller class sizes, however. In a larger class, students located in back rows might feel isolated from the lesson. These students and the teacher could also feel a lack of engagement from each other due to increased distance. If you have a larger class, consider using one of the other arrangements instead.

Designed for Discussion

classroom arrangementUtilizing a U-shaped desk arrangement with the teacher located in the middle can maximize efficacy of discussions between educators and students. For larger classes, arrange two U-shaped rows. This setup allows all students to feel engaged and interested in class discussion, while teachers are able to see each student and fully lead everyone in conversation. This close classroom arrangement promotes a more personal setting. The focused attention necessary for class discussion is more likely to be successful when teachers feel connected to all students and pupils have a sense of involvement that is fortified by this type of classroom arrangement. Teachers can also strategically place students who are disengaged or have trouble focusing close to them in the center of the arrangement to boost concentration and involvement.

Grouped Together

classroom arrangementWhen assigning group activities, don’t forget to designate seating that promotes cooperation, which is most beneficial to project-based learning. When students are seated together in a classroom arrangement that promotes collaboration on projects, they will learn the benefits of working with others and cultivate skills necessary to pitch their own ideas to fellow classmates, who will eventually be colleagues in the real world. Depending on class size, group together students in bunches of two, four, or six and rearrange desks to represent these sections.

As with any classroom arrangement, try to avoid seating students in areas that allow them to daydream by gazing out windows or doors. By using the resources provided by Classroom Architect, teachers can design a classroom arrangement that seems useful and change the layout if it doesn’t look good on paper. For classroom arrangement inspiration, refer to Vanderbilt University’s Effective Room Arrangement  case study, organized by the IRIS Center Peabody College. Remain consistent by avoiding needlessly reorganizing classroom arrangement, which could lead to a disruptive or chaotic atmosphere. Instead, only rearrange your classroom when it benefits your students, and do it in a very intentional way with your goals in mind.

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