Seating Arrangements

by Helene J. Uchida

The manner in which we seat students makes a statement about how we are going to teach them. Which of these three suits you?

Traditional

The teacher does most of the talking/lecturing. The students are usually passive. The subliminal mentality of the lesson is me (teacher) and them (students). There is a hidden wall that separates the two groups. All students have desks. The teacher has to walk around the room to get into the flow, and the students have to walk up to the teacher’s desk and wait on line for attention.(Class size of 25-50) seating1

Semi-Circle

The teacher sits in the middle and coordinates the flow of conversation among members in the group. Students do not have desks. The teacher is “among” the students and in the flow. Paperwork cannot be done in this area.(Class or group size of 2-16) seating2

Butterfly

The students sit at either of two tables. The teacher sits in the middle. The teacher can correct homework and walk around the tables to check written work. The students can do pair practice, turning sideways, facing each other.(Class size of 2-14) seating3