The arrangement of desks in a classroom ensures safe learning and enhances student participation. Additionally, the physical layout of the room is important in developing a productive classroom. If your school doesn't have mandatory seating charts, find one that best fits your needs and your students'. Some teachers may opt to rearrange desks in a different style at times throughout the year.
Traditionally, desks are arranged in rows. This allows all the students to see the blackboard, and the desks are easy to get around. This also makes it easier for teachers to walk through the rows when providing individual help to students. This desk arrangement lessens the possibility of cheating, but increases students' ability to pass notes. Because of this, it is important to place the teacher's desk in a place from which all the desks are visible. Group activities are harder to incorporate in this desk arrangement.
For more focus on the class as a group, consider arranging the desks in a circle. Most seen in high school and colleges, this arrangement encourages all the students to get involved. It allows students to have more interaction with their peers. Unfortunately, students in the arrangement may have difficulty seeing the blackboard because some will be facing the rear of the classroom instead of the blackboard.
The U-style, or horseshoe, arrangement combines the rows and circle structures. The horseshoe is beneficial for group assignments, discussions and lectures. All the students are facing forward and can see the blackboard. Usually the teacher's desk is in the centre of the horseshoe. The disadvantage of this arrangement is that it takes up a lot of space in the classroom.
Most seen in elementary schools, clusters are groups of four or five desks. For example, 20 desks can be arranged in five groups of four or four groups of five. This style allows students to work together in small groups and allows the rearranging of students if necessary. Students in this arrangement can see the blackboard, but they can see the other students as well, which can become a problem. These clusters are formed around the teacher's desk so that she can see all the students.