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Discussion in 'Primary' started by rmaddock, Apr 13, 2011.
Someone was very quick of the mark.
Thank you very much indeed.
19 responses in the time it took me to collect my boys from holiday club.
I would love to have rows - even for my Year 1's sometimes but my class room is far too small and I couldn't accomadate such an idea. It really worked well with a difficult class of Year 3s I taught in another school, where the classroom was massive.
I did some similar research as part of my degree course a few years ago. As a result, I vary my seating arrangements depending on the work we're doing. Once the children are reminded of the ground rules they move the tables safely and quickly with minimal disruption to the lesson.
I think it is an oversimplification to say seating arrangements alone cause good or bad behaviour. The result of groups for seating does not equal chaos.
I have groups (2x6, 1x10 and 1x8) in my year 6 class with no real behaviour problems. One of our year 3 teachers has 5x6 groups and no real behaviour problems. The other year 6 teacher has a mix of rows and groups and a huge amount of low level bad behaviour. The other year 3 teacher also has groups and a huge amount of very poor behaviour.
Being flexible for the lesson, the task, the individuals is important, vital even. But is still not the whole story. A huge number of factors create a calm, orderly, learning focussed room.
I I like group seating for group tasks. Otherwise I prefer the children sitting in rows. However, it is frowned upon in my school for the younger children to sit in rows as it is seen as too formal.
I also find that the rows seem to move through the day and I am forever shifting them back. And the children drop their things on the floor more easily.
Oh, and the caretaker doesn't like it as it is harder to clean around.
As a result I am in group tables most of the time, with rows occasionally if there is something formal (like cats) to be done, or when I am fed up of poor listening etc.
Oops! Didn't mean chaos in terms of behaviour, meant chaos in terms of chn moving groups for Lit, Num, Science and creative. I have seating plans up for the chn to follow so that they remember where to sit for each lesson, but it can be chaotic!
Ahhhh Sorry. Misunderstood.
we're not really allowed to seat our children in rows so i sit them in 'L' shapes which has the same effect but looks more 'interactive'
Fantastic data here everybody. Thanks! 93 replies to the survey now and the comments above will be great too, asssuming nobody minds my using them...anonomously, of course.
150 responses now and some interesting results so far.
My interest in this topic stems from some work experience I did before starting my PGCE. I spent a day a week at our local Pupil Referral Unit working with the KS2 teacher there. Now, obviously, she has to deal with the more extreme elements (aka children) in unusual and, some would say, unrealistically good conditions. She swears by row seating and makes a very good argument in its favour. She also told me how little evidence had ever been produced in favour of groups.
Whilst working in "normal" schools, I began to notice just how much, addmitedly, low-level disruption was casued by the grouping of tables - it facilitates eye contact and shin kicking for starters.
Now I'm not suggesting that we sit children in rows all of the time a la Tom Brown's School Days but it does look like there are plenty of times (probably the majority) when children are, really, working individually and don't need to be in groups and certainly don't need the distractions.
Having reviewed a lot (I;m sure not all) of the research, on thing that came out was the opinion that teachers didn't truely know why they were sitting children in groups and that it was basically habit and tradition. Hence the survey you've helpfully completed.
I have, of course, now spotted a question which I forgot to ask, namely: "Were you aware of this research?" But, too late now. I shalln't ask you to do it again."Phew!" I hear you all cry.
I'm taking the liberty of bumping this post up again, just to eke out a few more responses if I can. Having said which, I've already got far more data than I'd have got from handing out paper copies to local school teachers.
It is sort of habit, but also it makes the room look friendlier and more 'cosy' if you like. On walking in you get a totally different idea about what goes on in a room when it is set out in rows to when it is set out in groups.
Mine change quite a lot. I've had groups (small, big), horseshoe shape, rows, mixtures. Sometimes it changes between lessons, depending on what I need them to do. For the two weeks before half term, mine were all in rows (and boy, girl)...and I had explained to them why that was. They lacked focus and were too fussy, not listening and not working well enough. They settled down well in these two weeks and I asked them before we broke up whether they would like a change. Some wanted to go back to groups, others wanted to keep the rows because they liked it better. We'll have a mixture of both when they get back after the holidays. My LA are in a row at the front of the classroom. My HA are in two rows, one on the side, one on the back. My MA are on two group tables of 6, although I'd prefer 4s, but don't have the room. We'll see how it goes. My class are quite used to me changing the seating arrangements on a regular basis. They've learnt to live with it...and it means they have to work with different people.
Many, many thanks to all who completed the survey. 177 of you in all!
I'm closing the survey now so I can download the results. I shall post the final report when it's all done, dusted and marked.
I love L shapes set diagonally... rows by another name. And then move them into groups for certain things. I work in a school with small classes and some "interesting" personality clashes... so it is useful for keeping the culprits well away from each other and getting on with the task.
Added value comes from the fact that everyone is facing mostly forwards.
I'd have loved tables that actually gave me flexibility in seating instead of the mish-mash of ones as my good ones got systematically "borrowed" and replaced by cruddy ones meaning I was stuck with a nice mix of rectangular and square ones of different heights which was a pain in the utter bottom to deal with!
Like Robert is EVER going to come back to this thread! Anyway, he's probably dumped teaching and working as a plumber in Rotherham now.
My favourite ever table was one I discovered last week in a classroom movearound which had "Miss *insert previous roomowner's name here* is a fockin bich" scrawled on the underside of it. I'm still laughing now, just thinking about it.
Phonetically plausible, too.