Teach English in Yangxie Zhen - Shangluo Shi

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Seating in the classroom is an effective way to take control of behavior, good or bad. Many teachers overlook these simple arrangements of the room. The summation will be to describe several types of seating arrangements along with the advantages and disadvantages. This information comes from course material and experience. The first of these seating arrangements is the traditional rows. Though there are some advantages for the teacher such as this arrangement forces the students of focus on the teacher. This arrangement is easy to set up with a large number of students. The major disadvantage is the method does not allow for student interaction. If there is, then it is behavior not approved by the teacher. Students become disengaged especially from the mid-rows to the back of the class. The only cure would be to place the behavior student on the front row. Then the issue becomes what of those students who need to sit up front because of not being able to see the board. There are only so many seats up front to place students. The next seating arrangement is a circular arrangement. This arrangement is suitable for the students when they do not need to focus on a board assignment and are only required to interact with each other. The teacher could place themselves in the middle of the circle. Here the teacher could monitor student activity. One of the disadvantages is the students and the teacher does not have access to the board if necessary, to convey an idea or concept. Depending on the number of students, the area of the room may not accommodate a circular arrangement. If the teacher walks out of the circle to the board, some students would be forced to turn their heads or rearrange the seating. With the teacher leaving the circle, they are no longer part of the group and will have to look in. The u-shape or semicircle seating arrangement is more conducive to whole learning. This seating arrangement allows for cooperative learning and encourages discussion and interaction. This configuration has the same advantages of the circle where students can communicate with each other. The teacher is now the center, and all students have eye contact with them. Students now feel they are something more significant than the circle. The front of the class position allows the teacher to do demonstrations on the board and record student responses easily. It is also easy to control behavior as they are on the front row. One disadvantage is it may make shy students feel anxious being in a large group with so many eyes on them when they speak. Also, the teacher may not be able to use this configuration for all age groups. Again, the classroom size and the number of students may be a deterrent of using this arrangement. The final arrangement is the group or clusters seating. Students sit in groups or pairs. Experience and other teachers feel this may be the preferred seating arrangement for cooperative learning as students deem, they are in a safe area to interact with each other. It also allows students to share their knowledge. Students can quickly change from pairs to form a larger group. An advantage to pairs or small groups is when it comes to feedback. Here the students can practice with each other before delivering to the whole class. Behavior can be a potential problem as students that are prone to be disruptive tend to think they are immune from doing small group work. Group work tend to favor copying and not being part of the discussion. Therefore, the teacher may not be able to assess the students’ ability. Of the four seating arrangements, my preference has been ‘it depends’. Depending on the assignment, each grouping has its merits. For most lessons, my choice would be placing students in groups. It allows for easier monitoring of behavior and provides students with additional assistance, whether it be peers or instruction, without interrupting the whole class.