Many new teachers walk in to their own classroom for the very first time and are faced with a major decision…”How do I arrange the room?!” It is widely debated which classroom arrangement works best and why or how each arrangement affects students and their learning. There are pros and cons to each type of set up and classroom environment and this paper discusses them.
Does the Classroom Environment Affect Learning?
Through my research I have found that the arrangement of a classroom greatly effects learning in the classroom, especially amongst young children. There are many different options when it comes to classroom arrangements to choose from that any class could benefit from. ...view middle of the document...
” On the very first day of class the effective teachers’ classroom is “…well organized. Nametags [are] ready. There [is] something interesting for each child to do right away. Materials [are] set up.” This type of teacher has addressed stressful concerns that a child may having coming in to school such as, “Where do I put my things?” or “How do I pronounce my teachers name?” Classroom expectations and rules are simple and clear and are immediately put in to place. The first day of class in a poorly managed classroom greatly differs. In a poorly managed classroom “rules [are] not workable; they [are] either too vague or very complicated…Neither positive nor negative behaviors [have] clear, consistent consequences.” Procedures vary day to day for simple routine tasks, and the correct way of completing these tasks are never taught or explained. (Woolfolk, 2014, p.532-533).
Types of Arrangements and Pros & Cons
It is crucial for the sake of the classroom environment to find the right classroom arrangement. The “right” arrangement varies from class to class, and especially from grade to grade. What may work for a kindergarten class would definitely not be appropriate for a high school classroom. Denise Young contends, “Your classroom is your ‘home away from home’ for you and your students. Make it attractive and functional. Consider grade/age level appropriateness, the type of classroom activities you will be implementing, and your particular style” (Classroom environment: The basics, n.d.). There are many different types of classroom arrangements, and each yields their own pros and cons.
The most common style of classroom arrangement is the “Traditional Classroom.” In this type of classroom setting the “desks are arranged in rows with the teacher standing at the front.” This allows the teacher to be the main focus, however is designed specifically for lecture-based instruction. It is an efficient setup, but allows no space for group work and makes students feel like they are sitting in class. This style of arrangement is “considered by many to be the ‘least favorable’ way to facilitate learning” (Seivert, n.d.). In regards to this specific arrangement, Bigelow (2010) states:
Many teachers use this arrangement as the “default.” However, there are “dead zones” in the corners and the back of the room with this arrangement; students in the front center also are more likely to get your attention. While this arrangement minimizes distractions, it also limits student-to-student discussions since students are looking at the backs of other students. (n.p.)
The second type of classroom arrangement is the “Discussion Classroom.” In this type of arrangement the class is split in half and arranged to face each other. This type of setup is great for discussion amongst the class and the students do not feel like they are sitting in a typical classroom. This arrangement is great for cooperative learning, as well. However, one main issue with this...