Should we scrap classroom seating plans?

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Traditionally, the seating plan has been a valuable weapon in the war against classroom disruption. But have you ever thought that your approach to placing pupils might be doing more harm than good? Grainne Hallahan uncovers research suggesting that some common seating-plan strategies could hinder learning, crush students’ confidence or even reinforce gender stereotypes

seating plans

A seating plan is a teacher’s usual weapon of choice when establishing authority in a classroom. It sends out a clear message: “I am in charge.” And it provides tactical advantage – you set the players where you think they need to be to best facilitate learning.

Regardless of how you do the seating plan – girl-boy, fixed groups, alphabetical or countless other options – it seems to work. But work for whom?

Many of the methods we use for seating plans are more problematic than we might think. The perceived benefits are often false, the impact less positive than imagined and, in some ...

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