Sitting in rows is best

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Susan Godsland
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Sitting in rows is best

Post by Susan Godsland » Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:14 pm

Sitting in rows

Wheldall and Bradd's book chapter on the evidence:

http://www.filedropper.com/wheldallbrad ... ingchapter

‘’All studies consistently revealed appreciably
higher levels of on-task, work-related behaviour when seating was arranged
in rows’’

elsiep
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Re: Sitting in rows is best

Post by elsiep » Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:25 pm

Or, as the conclusion points out

"The clear implication to be drawn from these studies of classroom arrangements,
particularly when attempting to meet the needs of students with learning
and/or behavioural/attentional dificulties, is that teachers should consider the
task in hand when determining the appropriate seating arrangement."

elsie

JAC
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Re: Sitting in rows is best

Post by JAC » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:46 pm

The conclusion is important, but, and a huge but, is that moving furniture around for maximum effectiveness is a pain. I speak from bitter experience of being a support teacher where I have to fit into existing arrangements! And working - usually with the lower progress children - it is absolutely a fact that more time is spent on task, and less time on behaviour management, if there is less face to face contact from child to child. I also work in different schools from time to time, and again and again I see that the rows result in quieter classes. It's the same with adults - go to a pd where there are circular tables, and there is much more chatting( discussion??) among the adults - that can be a plus or a negative, depending on the content and the task!

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palisadesk
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Re: Sitting in rows is best

Post by palisadesk » Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:18 pm

It's often the case, as JAC's experiences suggest, that teachers do not necessarily have control over the seating arrangements in a classroom. Several schools I've been in recently have moved away from individual desks to tables, less for pedagogical reasons than for optimum use of space. The schools built since, say, 1960 have much smaller classrooms than those in the "good old days," and when 30-40 middle grade students are packed into a room, the only way to provide enough seats with room to walk around is by having students share tables -- most often the trapezoid-shaped ones that can be grouped in a variety of ways, but some classrooms work well with rectangular tables, which still allow the option of having all students facing forward, rather than towards each other. Circular tables are less popular because they aren't as space-efficient.

I'm still partial to the individual desks, myself, because they permit easy regrouping depending on the instructional task at hand. Students can push desks together to work in partners or small groups, the desks can be arranged in a horseshoe shape for a teacher-directed lesson (as in Direct Instruction), and students who are highly distractable can put their desks against the wall or a filing cabinet for independent work so that they are not as easily led off-task. i find that given the opportunity to do so, many students will request a sheltered spot to work or a private niche. We also have found cardboard foldable partitions -- resembling the triptych-type boards for science fairs, but only about 30 inches high -- very useful for many students during independent work or test periods. These can also be used with tables.

We get them from our district supply warehouse, in white, but they look like this (only not so fancy):
http://search.reallygoodstuff.com/searc ... earch.y=16
but I've known teachers who make their own, using heavy duty cardstock or wallboard. You can probably find examples of how to do it by googling "student desk dividers" or something similar. They really help minimize distractions.

Susan S.

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Re: Sitting in rows is best

Post by volunteer » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:51 pm

My children like to pile up cereal boxes so that they can't see one another at breakfast. It has a similarly beneficial effect.

elsiep
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Re: Sitting in rows is best

Post by elsiep » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:41 am

:grin:

elsie

Elizabeth
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Re: Sitting in rows is best

Post by Elizabeth » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:24 am

Forget about desks and rows. When I train in England, the majority of Reception class teachers (4 and 5 year olds) do not even have enough seats for all the children. Their advisers have told them they shouldn’t because the children should choose areas to go to (e.g. the writing area, the role play area). One adviser told me, “Chairs for all children create the wrong ambience.” At the same time, the children are expected to take part in phonics lessons, which include reading and writing. The poor teachers get contradictory messages.

I’ve just finished training in Glasgow. The Scottish teachers were appalled when I told them about the situation in England. One said to me, “But these very young children need the security of their own place. They go to it and sit down and settle happily.”

So, sitting at your own place is best for behaviour, for writing with good posture and for children's sense of security. Why are so many English advisers so removed from reality?
Elizabeth

elsiep
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Re: Sitting in rows is best

Post by elsiep » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:07 am

Hot-desking is still trendy amongst policy-makers?

elsie

JIM CURRAN
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Re: Sitting in rows is best

Post by JIM CURRAN » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:35 am

One adviser told me, “Chairs for all children create the wrong ambience.”

Could someone please translate this for me?

Elizabeth
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Re: Sitting in rows is best

Post by Elizabeth » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:24 pm

I think she meant that chairs for all children make the classroom look formal, whereas she thought the room should look informal, with children busy choosing what to do in different areas, e.g. areas for painting, role play, small world toys, writing and many more.

I am all for these areas for children to choose from for part of the day, but the problem is that most classrooms don't have the space for lots of different areas like these, as well as for chairs for all children. So it becomes a matter of priorities.

However, this adviser was against seats for all children in principle.
Elizabeth

elsiep
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Re: Sitting in rows is best

Post by elsiep » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:24 pm

Is that a serious question, Jim?

elsie

Elizabeth
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Re: Sitting in rows is best

Post by Elizabeth » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:50 pm

Elspie, why do you think this question might not be serious? Anyone outside the brainwashing that goes on in Early Years education would not begin to understand why chairs for every child creates the wrong ambience.
Elizabeth

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maizie
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Re: Sitting in rows is best

Post by maizie » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:52 pm

Perhaps Advisors have been influenced by this:
http://t.co/7ncSVo5koE
The Power of Movement in Teaching and Learning

tweeted by Kevin Wheldall. Thanks Proff :grin:

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Re: Sitting in rows is best

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:01 pm

climbing into the skin of a literary character or improvising a creative-movement response to a plot element; enacting a journey through the water cycle; or arranging themselves as solid, liquid, and gas...
When class teaching, I have done all of these things with the children as I'm sure many other teachers have - but this is not to suggest that all learning is best undertaken with such 'kinaesthetic' activity.

The school day surely needs to be broken up with a variety of activities and methods to make them both memorable and enjoyable - but with some simple common sense, these range of activities can be both varied and fit-for-purpose.

The worry is when common sense seems to be replaced by philosophy and prevailing views which dominate the practice of the day. Teachers worry about what the advisors and inspectors 'want to see'.

I have to admit to the feeling myself of 'Big Brother' sitting on my shoulder when working in mainstream teaching - but when my headteacher was strong and liberated, I was protected from the effects of 'Big Brother' to a large extent - and when I was the headteacher, I got a taste of what it meant for 'Big Brother' to disagree with our practices and to fail to look at the reality of our results because our methods did not conform.

Here is the conundrum: - It's surely good that Sir Michael Wilshaw is suggesting strongly that different teachers using different methods can achieve great results with their pupils and it is the results that count - but, ironically, at a time when we don't expect teachers to have a free-for-all approach over methods of teaching basic literacy when we know what is most effective. :???:

Elizabeth - it must have been refreshing to have trained up in Glasgow where you did not have to battle with such practical ideas as children having a desk to enable them to sit and write comfortably.

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Re: Sitting in rows is best

Post by JIM CURRAN » Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:01 pm

"I think she meant that chairs for all children make the classroom look formal, whereas she thought the room should look informal, with children busy choosing what to do in different areas, e.g. areas for painting, role play, small world toys, writing and many more."

Thanks Elizabeth.

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