The way you set up your classroom tells a lot about you as a teacher. The placement of desks and tables and types of instructional displays (or lack thereof) can set the stage for how you plan on interacting with the students. As you move into your classroom, keep the following questions in mind: Does the form of your classroom follow its function? Does it reflect how you teach? Will it be a place that supports transformational education? Some other principles to keep in mind when setting up your classroom include:
- Visibility: can each student see the instructional spaces (e.g., whiteboard, maps, etc.) clearly? Can you, as the teacher, see each student clearly?
- Accessibility: Does the space allow freedom of movement (for teachers and students) around the classroom? Is there adequate storage space for learning resources, backpacks, etc.? Can students easily access shared learning resources? Can you?
- Distractibility: Are student work spaces situated in such a way as to minimize distractions? Think about what your students can see/hear/ touch from their seats.
If you are new to your school, you might check with one of the returning teachers to discover if there are any cultural norms or school policies you need to keep in mind when setting up the room. You also might want to think through space and procedures for bringing in shared A/V equipment (if you don’t have access to your own). Sometimes even our best laid plans don’t work out the way we expect, so if you try out a set up that doesn’t work out, give yourself the freedom to change it.
What other classroom set-up suggestions do you have?