Classroom seating plans

classroom seating plans

Classroom seating plans can have a huge impact on how your students interact with you and each other.

Sometimes we don’t have a choice about classroom seating plans. Maybe its not our classroom or maybe perhaps your school is security obsessed and bolted the chairs and tables to the floor. If you do have some freedom to move your tables and chairs, there are a few things to consider. Your classroom seating arrangements will vary depending on your interaction patterns. The most obvious example is test positions, students sitting individually. So they are encouraged not to talk to each other. This is great for testing but little else. It is obviously rubbish if you have to teach like it all the time.

I teach young learners most of the time and my favourite layout is groups of tables. It creates a great social atmosphere. It’s easy for monitoring, it’s great for small group demonstrations and if you organise the numbers well it’s also great for pair work. The problem with this is that you may have students that have difficulty seeing the board.

When I do teach adult classes, I often have my students in a horseshoe. It works well with pair work, once a student has spoken with someone on their left, they can speak to the person on their right. The horseshoe is also excellent for giving feedback, you can ensure you have all the students focus, and it also means students can see each other, great for student to student interaction. The one problem for this is that it is very teacher centred.

We have talked about managing large classes in a previous article. Thinking about your classroom seating plans will help with managing large classes, particularly those with difficult students. Considering who sits next to who will also help you with excitement management.

Dan has been teaching English overseas for more than six years. He specialises in teaching young learners and has experience in teaching in the UK, South Korea and Thailand.