Connecting the educational world to your classroom

Seating Assignments in the Classroom


Where students sit in class can affect how they learn, studies say.

Arranging students in the best configuration and with peers they work well with can take some time and trial and error. An arrangement that works well with one group of students can be a disaster with others.

Neat rows of desks can provide easy walkways for educators and janitors, but limit interaction between students at the ends of the rows. Perhaps limiting interaction is the goal when students with conflicting personalities are involved.

Collaborative learning is popular in many of today’s classrooms, so it is not unusual to see learning circles or pods throughout the room. Many modern desks and tables are shaped to allow them to be pushed together for group work. Mobile desks and tables are also an excellent option. Move the desks together for collaboration then easily push back into rows for testing or independent work.

Another challenge in classroom seating is deciding which students should sit together. Are students given free choice regarding seats or are they assigned by the teacher? Will uninterested learners naturally choose a seat in the back of the classroom and cliques exclude student who aren’t a part of their peer groups? It may take a few weeks to learn about your students to know who will work together. Put together group activities to find those who are comfortable leading, those who prefer to support and those who need a little encouragement to participate at all.

What are your strategies when deciding classroom seating?