Students are heavily influenced by their learning environments. As such, it is important to organize your classroom in a way that will provide a nurturing educational space. By reducing clutter and arranging desks appropriately, you can increase student attention and performance. The physical layout and design of the room can create a positive work environment for students. Improve your classroom management with a few of these helpful tips:
Eliminate Hiding Spots
With younger students, it is important to arrange your classroom in a way that eliminates blind spots. When there are many different hidden nooks and crannies, it is very difficult to keep all students in view. Such hiding places will entice students to be disruptive rather than listen to your instruction. In an optimally designed classroom, all areas of the space are visible from the teacher’s desk.
Large furniture pieces such as cubbies and bookcases are often the most problematic when it comes to creating blind spots. You can solve this problem by making sure that such furniture is always tightly anchored to a wall. Doing so not only prevents students from hiding behind such structures, but also ensures that nobody is at risk of being hurt by toppling furniture.
Structure your Learning Environment
The way you arrange the desks in your classroom will have an undeniable effect on the kind of learning that occurs. Seating arrangement should match the purpose of the lesson. For instance, many science classrooms use a combination of single desks in one part of the room for individual work and lab benches in another area for group experiment work. In this way, students receive the benefits of both cooperative and independent learning.
However, many teachers do not have enough space in their classrooms for two distinct setups. As such, they will have to decide what kind of learning environment they would like to create. Tables facilitate group work while desks do the opposite. Desks can be arranged in different patterns depending on educational goals. For example, a circle of desks promotes discussion and the free exchange of ideas between teachers and students. Rows of desks facing the teacher are adapted to more of a lecture-based style.
Keep it Organized
Maintaining a clean and organized work space is a great way to establish a calm and focused learning environment. Clutter around the room is distracting and should be kept to a minimum. This includes the teacher’s desk. Create a thorough filing system to keep completed student work separate from graded work. This will help you maintain an even turnaround rate when it comes to returning assignments to students. Rifling through a desk full of papers diverts your attention from the class. Unruly students may take advantage of this to misbehave. Use an inbox/outbox system to eliminate this problem.
Desk organization extends to other parts of the classroom as well. During the winter, make sure students are keeping the jacket area neat and tidy. In elementary school classrooms, clearly mark where everything belongs so all enrichment materials and classroom supplies are returned to a proper space. Messy rooms often leave children feeling lost or overstimulated because this structure is not maintained.
Ultimately, an organized classroom will provide a peaceful and safe environment where students can learn. Do not underestimate the impact that the physical layout of a room can have on academic performance. Don’t be discouraged if your classroom needs a bit of rearranging. Once you arrange an effective classroom layout, you are likely to find classroom management much easier to maintain.