Some Thoughts On…Classroom Layout

During our INSET recently we were given some AFL training. The first part focused on the layout of classrooms and how pupils interpret this.

Unbeknowns to me, the ASTs leading the training had taken a photograph of my classroom as one of five examples presented to pupils whilst they discussed what they felt the lesson would be like. It was interesting to see how pupils viewed my new layout (which can be seen in the photo below). The words they used to describe the classroom were: colourful, fun, group-work and creativity. Of the five, they ranked this layout as third. I was surprised that they thought the double horseshoe layout lead to more group-work than the grouped tables and raised some concerns about pupils having their back to the board (this actually isn’t an issue in my classroom as it’s large enough to position the chairs so that no pupils do). Unsuprisingly, perhaps, pupils described a traditional “row” layout as cold, strict, hard and exam-like.

I was apprehensive at the start of our academic year in June about how well the layout would work and whether pupils would be able to focus on independent work when I wanted them to. I have been pleasantly surprised with how well the pupils have responded and the impact that discussion and collaborative working have had on learning and progress. I have invested time in teaching pupils good listening skills and learning how to work well as a team as well as a introducing Team Point to motivate pupils.

Out of interest the ranking that pupils came up with was as follows:

  1. Sports Field
  2. Double Horseshoe
  3. Grouped Tables (2 desks together in a square)
  4. Traditional single desk arrangement in rows
  5. Drama Studio

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