I strongly believe that we all learn in our own unique learning environments. I tend to do a lot of my writing while sitting on my couch with my feet up. I often prefer to stand instead of sit. And just like me, my students work best in different environments too. It's kind of sad that many teachers expect children to sit in desks (or tables) with little or no say around where they can do their work. I wonder if it's a control issue (I'm pretty sure that's what it was for me when I had assigned seats for my students), or if it's the only furniture that's available to them. In either case, for the sake of our learners ,shouldn't we be creating the best learning environments we can to help our students be the best that they can be?
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not about to run off to the nearest furniture store (or thrift store) to buy what my students need. I'd be broke before I started and personally I'd much rather spend my money on good children's books. But I can be open to letting my students work around the room in spots that are best for them. And the thing is, when you let them choose where to work, they will surprise you with where they want to work. For some that has meant always standing up, and learning against a higher piece of furniture. For others it's meant taking a plastic TV tray and finding a quiet place to get things done. Some students love to work on bean bag chairs, while putting their writing on a hard surface. Some love to be under a desk, or inside an inexpensive tent. Some work on their belly's, some work on their backs. But the thing they all have in common, is that wherever they chose to work, they DO THEIR WORK! Crazy right?!
So as you set up your classroom for the 2015/16 school year be sure to think about how you can let your students work in environments that are best for them. You'll be surprised to see where they chose to work.
Curious about some of the places my students have chosen to work? It's nothing mind shattering, but perhaps it might give you a bit more confidence to let your assigned seating plan go. Here are a few of their favourite learning spaces...
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