Top 5 Classroom Designs

One important aspect at the start of every school year is how to organize the classroom. The layout and design of the classroom have a significant effect on the quality of the educational experience. The optimal use of lighting, acoustics, color, and furniture can affect student attention span and achievement. To give you some ideas, provided below is a list of the top 5 classroom designs, complete with images, pros, and cons.

  1. Traditional Rows or Columns

 

The traditional rows or columns configuration complements all class sizes, with emphasis on teacher-centered instruction and independent learning format. It is the most common classroom arrangement.

Although this seating arrangement can be used with any class size, a big class may see uneven levels of interaction. Students seated in the front row are likely to participate more, while those at the back may find it challenging to focus on the lesson. With this layout, students are less likely to cheat because the teacher has a pretty good view of everyone in the classroom.

PROS

  • Easy to supervise
  • Minimizes disruptions and cheating
  • Promotes individual work and productivity
  • Ideal for tests and presentations

CONS

  • Uneven levels of interaction
  • Difficult for teachers to move around the classroom
  • Discourages group work
  • Students at the back may find it hard to focus on the lesson

 

  1. Horseshoe or U-shape

  

The Horseshoe configuration is best for small and medium-sized classes. This arrangement supports both teacher-to-student and student-to-student interaction. The class can interact as a large group, although teachers still have the option to work with students one-on-one. The U-shape is ideal for discussions and presentations.

PROS

  • Easier to interact with the whole class
  • Ideal for discussion and participation
  • Large area for demonstrations and presentations

CONS

  • A large class may have difficulty engaging in discussions
  • Controlling behavior may be challenging
  1. Groups

 

Best suited for smaller classes, this configuration puts emphasis on the teacher. Arranged just like a fashion show runway, the teacher can use the two rows of desks to conduct lessons. This setup is ideal for discussions and lecture-based classes.

PROS

  • Supports cooperative work
  • Saves floor space

CONS

  • Can be distracting
  • Encourages off-task behavior
  1. Stadium

 

The stadium is a variation of the traditional row configuration, wherein desks are grouped in clusters, all facing the same direction. This classroom arrangement is best suited for teacher-centered classes.

PROS

  • Enables the teacher to see what every student is doing
  • Gives students a clear view of the front of the classroom
  • Makes it easy for students to work in pairs or groups

CONS

  • Doesn’t work well with a large number of desks as students will be too far away
  • Harder to manage when more than two rows are used
  1. Combination

 

Photo: Thelmadatter/under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-SA 3.0)

This arrangement is ideal for classes with students of varying levels of learning and behavior. You can mix and match any configuration to best suit your needs and your students’ abilities. A teacher can setup part of the room as rows/columns for students who must focus on individual work, while another part can be arranged as a U-shape, for students who need more discussion-based activities.

PROS

  • Extremely flexible
  • Provides for each student’s individual needs

 

CONS

  • Requires extra effort when passing out and collecting papers or supplies

Conclusion

The classroom provides a space where learning can take place. Various classroom designs suit every teaching style, student, and classroom space. An effective classroom seating arrangement can benefit both the student and the teacher, making the learning process much easier.

 

 

 

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