How to Arrange an Effective Classroom

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    • 1). See things as the students do. Sit in different parts of the classroom, from the front to the very back, to get a firsthand idea of their visual perspective. Imagine you've never before set foot in the room, and note what you see that might be distracting or impeding your view.

    • 2). Avoid or discard clutter. If something has not been used in years, it doesn't need to take up precious classroom space. Donate old materials and books, toss what's actually trash and organize what you keep. A clean, organized work environment means fewer distractions and clearer thinking.

    • 3). Arrange the seating, so it is easy for you to make eye contact with students in every part of the room. Consider an arrangement that is wide, rather than deep, because this narrows the distance between instructor and student --- even those at the back of the room. Take care to provide ample space to move about. Accessibility is important not just for students with limited mobility, but also for classroom safety.

    • 4). Organize desks in logical patterns that complement students' learning styles. A semi-circle allows students to look at the instructor and fellow pupils at the same time, encouraging interaction and discussion. Small clusters of desks work well in classes that emphasize group work and projects. If the furniture is fixed in position, teachers may wish to move about the classroom to engage individuals and groups.

    • 5). Consider the color palette. You may not have the resources to paint the walls, but splashes of color in the form of posters, bulletin boards or presentation backdrops are cost effective attention grabbers. Bright colors have an energizing effect, while light colors tend to be soothing. Likewise, dark colors can make a classroom feel dreary.

    • 6). Display student work. At any age or grade level, students take pride in being recognized by teachers and peers. Post examples of exceptional student-produced material to reward effort and to give students something to which they can aspire.

    • 7). Maximize classroom technology. Make sure students do not have to reposition themselves in order to see a presentation. No matter the medium, double-check your display to make sure it's readable from all vantage points. If there are computers at every student work station, ensure that each is fully operable and does not prevent students from viewing important activity at the front of the classroom.

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