There’s more to a student’s academic success than just being taught; the environment in which they learn in has a major impact on their progression. Effective classroom management plays a huge role in this and includes seating plans, as where students are seated can benefit student behaviour, academic performance and class participation. Studies have also found that students perform better in seats that are allocated to them as opposed to choosing where they sit themselves.
The importance of seating students is considered so highly that it even features as suggested evidence for classroom management for Ofsted. However, there are many other benefits of seating plans for students which we’ve outlined below.
The use of seating plans helps you, as a teacher, to exert a level of control over the class. Plans also allow you to cater for individual students’ learning needs without bringing attention to them - for example, seating plans may need to be tailored for specific pupils for medical reasons. Seating plans are a quick and easy way to improve students’ relationships with one another also, seating’s impact on behaviour can be significant. The implementation of a seating plan ensures that you can easily manage students and position them where they’ll learn best.
The ways in which you seat students is of course dependent on the class - if you have a mixed ability group this may include putting the lower achieving students with someone who is performing at a higher level in a bid to motivate the lower achiever, whilst encouraging the higher achiever to consolidate learning through explanations. Alternatively, personalities within the class could heavily influence where you place students, if pupils don’t get along with each other, or you have clusters of louder students, it’s in your best interest to keep a distance between them in order to avoid class disruptions.
Seating plans can also be used to provoke more interaction from certain students, this can include centering the position of specific students who you want to be more involved. Structuring the layout of your classroom ensures that actual desk configuration has a positive impact on the nature of student interaction. When arranging your classroom, consider what position will help you achieve the desired response from your class.
Ultimately, the use of seating plans can help you gain full control over your classroom and can orchestrate the class to learn in a way which you feel will benefit them the most. Having these in place will also mean that you can rest assured you are doing all that you can to help them to truly achieve their full potential.