Purposes for seating arrangements in the classroom

Written by kara bietz
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Purposes for seating arrangements in the classroom
Classroom seating arrangements can be an effective management tool. (Geography Class image by redrex from Fotolia.com)

Classroom teachers that have been teaching for many years have developed classroom management skills that work well for them. As a beginner teacher, you may have to try several different approaches before finding what works best for you. Student seating arrangements are an effective classroom management skill that can also be used as a proactive discipline technique. There are several different seating arrangement methods that work well in a classroom.

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Single Seating

Many teachers begin the year with traditional single seating in the classroom. Single seating may cut down on the amount of conversation between students and discourages students from glancing at their neighbour's work. You can seat students in any way that you feel comfortable. Some popular ways are alternating boy/girl, alphabetical or by height.

Cooperative Groups

If you choose to run your classroom with a project-based curriculum, cooperative group seating may be the way to arrange your classroom. You can choose to push four to six desks together, creating small study groups. Students working in cooperative groups will be able to discuss classroom lessons with each other, as well as share information with other members of their group without distracting other groups. The teacher can move freely between groups, helping and monitoring her class as she moves.


If you have a small class, or a subject that requires much class discussion, a semicircle may be an option for you. With this type of seating arrangement, the teacher is an equal, and should participate in discussions freely with the students. This type of seating arrangement works best with very small class sizes, as a semicircle with a large number of students can quickly become unruly.

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