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Seating Arrangements

Discussion in 'English' started by sweetie1, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. sweetie1

    sweetie1 New commenter

    I currently have tables of four. I find it easier to wander around and discreetly help the less able (and *** the lazy!). Rows makes this quite difficult - I find I'm constantly squeezing past students - but that might be due to the size of our rooms.
    I always use a seating plan. It helps me to get to know the names of students I haven't taught. I usually start it off fairly randomly - mixed ability tables, girls next to boys etc and then adapt it as the friendship groups etc begin to rear their ugly heads. In my experience, alphabetical order just means that some students are sat with each other in every subject - sometimes a good thing, but, as you say, more often than not a bad one!

  2. For classes unknown, I usually start the year with a boy/girl plan, broadly alphabetic as far as possible. I might put any 'characters' I already know of in particular places or avoid combinations. After a week or two, I have a good understanding of who my characters are and which combinations are not going to work. I usually seat the students in rows, which I know is unpopular, with two students to a desk and a gap between every desk. I do this because I'm disabled and find it easier to get to every student and also because I am boring rather than radical. The pairings will be mixed ability and will avoid friendship pairings. This is because I have quite a laid back teaching style but I want the students to know this is a classroom/space for learning and not a youth club. However - and this is where it becomes a logistical exercise - I try to seat children where they can easily turn around and make ability groups around a table. I change the seating plan every month or two to keep them on their toes and also allow me to bring those students who are underachieving or becoming less focused closer to me.
  3. Asta9

    Asta9 New commenter

    Withclasses I don't know I sit them alphabetically by first name. Most teachers don't use that and it helps me remember the names.
  4. emillie2007 - do you find that group work is okay in the pairs/4s - with Speaking and Listening now being such a big part of the GCSE and the curriculum I'm a bit worried that if they are only seated in pairs then they wouldn't get as much practice/they would end up turning around and chatting whilst I'm trying to teach.
    ...................I'd never thought of seating by first name - seems a really good idea to learn the names but I have 4 Bethanys in one of my classes and if I sat them all together they'd never know which one I was talking to! x
  5. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    my classes sit in rows - but it is a large space. It is easily adaptable for group work too (very easy to move furniture into group work areas). I have tried pupils sitting in group tables permanently but with mixed results so tend to stick to rows. In terms of where they sit, on the very first day I get the boys to go in first and choose a desk (one boy per desk), then the girls go in and chose a seat next to a boy. However, before the girls go in I usually move the boys who choose the back of the room straight to the front! It works a treat every time. Plus, when they line up outside the classroom, I see who is talking to whom and make sure they sit away from each other. Then I just tweak the seating plan as the weeks go by and I will let friends sit together sometimes if they can work together (and be quiet at the right times!).

    I quite like the U shape (in my previous schools many of the classrooms were set up this way) as it usually leaves enough scope to have a large table in the centre which is excellent for A Level groups or bottom sets. I have never used the alphabetical system but could give it a whirl this September!
  6. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    I like using a horse-shoe shape. I put a wide one around the outside and then have a smaller horseshoe in the middle. For small classes, we all sit together around the small horseshoe. I too use alphabetical order, usually by surname as I usually find the register is random enough to mean than most of the naughties get split up. I sometimes work it out so that any naughties who ARE next to each other on the register are divded between the large and small horseshoes, if that makes sens.e
  7. Horsehoe around the outside and then three rows of two desks in the middle - just not wide enough to get a second horseshoe into the room. I do also move the furniture a lot and do spend time working with groups of four. How you arrange the furniture should affect how you teach a class. If you have group tables but there's not a lot of group work, I find that behaviour management becomes more of an issue. A horseshoe with rows works well for pair or trio work and a bit more teacher input in my experience. As for seating plans: yes. I always have them but start every year with every class being allowed to sit where they want and when enough of the students (three or four) misbehave or really show they shouldn't be sat where they are, I implement the seating plan. First seating plan of the year is, as for other posters, boy/girl and broadly alphabetical to ensure I pick up on names I don't know.

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