Classroom Organisation

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CLassroom Organisation

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Everything about the organisation of a classroom has an influence on the effectiveness of the space for learning and the management of behaviour. As a teacher you may have a lot or very little control over how the classroom is organised.

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Layout

Unless you are lucky enough to influence the building of a brand new classroom the position of doors, windows, built-in cupboards, sinks and sockets etc will be all be fixed and will limit the possible organisation of moveable furniture such as desk layout. In specialised classrooms such as those used for computing, science and technology all furniture may be permanently fixed. The position of white boards particularly interactive white boards (IWB) can limit options for the organisation of students when directly teaching, demonstrating and modelling. Other considerations are direct sunlight into the classroom and how this affects student's ability to see the IWB and also the ambient temperature. The acoustic quality of a classroom can be particularly dependent on the ratio of hard and soft surfaces. Schools built in the 19th and early 20th centuries often have very high ceilings which tend to distort sound. Blinds, carpet, felt display boards and soft furnishings can all help to absorb sound and reduce reverberation. Classrooms fitted with Sound Field Systems provide the best acoustic support for all students.

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Moveable furniture

When you have complete freedom to rearrange furniture; such as that enjoyed by most primary classteachers; then you have the opportunity to mould the classroom to reflect your own ideas of what will create an effective and efficient learning space for the age range of children being taught. Space is always limited and compromise is always necessary to create a layout that works for the range of activities and teaching methods that are used daily. Creating book corners, imaginative play areas, free-flow activity areas and carpet areas may be essential if you are teaching younger children. Equally desk arrangements that strike a balance between the need for all students to face and listen to the classteacher but also enable collaborative working to be possible are often essential for older children.

Storage and access to resources including the students' own belongings during lessons must be considered. An arrangement that reduces the need for unnecessary student movement during the lesson is often desirable. Equally, developing autonomy and engendering independent learning means enpowering students to access resources as needed.

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Reflection Points
How fixed is your classroom?
What influence do you have over layout?
How does the layout support or hinder student learning?
What improvements would you wish for?
Is the classroom set up to meet your needs or the students?
What actions, if any, do you feel you need to take to optimise the layout?

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