Friday, July 20, 2012

Seating Arrangements - What's The 'Right Way?'

Do you need a lot of help figuring out what works best with adolescents? I do. That's why I  read a lot about classroom management.  In fact, I've read quite a few articles about the 'right way' to arrange seats. One article will say, the teacher should decide where students sit because you need to show them you're in charge.  Another article says, let them pick their own seats.What’s the answer?

Well, through a lot of trial and error,  I've decided to let them pick their own seats. Why, you may ask. Well, I need something that is of value to them, that I can use as currency if some sort of problem  needs to be dealt with in the future. Being with their friends is something that is of great importance to adolescents,  so sitting next to their friend is their currency.  And it's my collateral to ensure proper behavior (most of the time). There is only one demand  I have. If it is a small class they should sit up close to the board, no sitting in the back. Even if I see a bad combination, I’ll let them choose to sit together. I’ll just gently ask, “Are you sure this is the best seating combination for you?” They have to be the one who decides at that point. If there is a problem in the future, then I get to decide the seating combinations.

Does this solve all behavior problems?  No, but it does make them think twice.  They know they may lose the chance  to  sit next to their friend if there is a problem.

What do you think? Should the teacher or the students decide the seating arrangement? 

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