The foundation of current pedagogies in education – child-centered, personalised learning from the bottom up – flexible seating! Not sure what that means? Read on to find out more…
Also known as alternative seating, flexible seating actively brings students into decision-making and taking responsibility for their learning. It lets them identify the kind of furniture they find most comfortable, and gets them motivated to learn. The process promotes student creativity and collaboration, and lets students work toward making the right decisions to achieve the best they can, within some practical constraints.
A flexible-seating classroom is anything but a dull, uniform row of identical chairs and desks. Yes, a classroom may be set out this way, especially during testing, but does it does not have to be like that all the time. With an alternative seating arrangement, there are various types of seating spread throughout the room. They vary in shape, height, material and motion, and will also include a few traditional choices, as well. Typically, students decide their spot on a rotation basis, decided by the teacher and aided by clear classroom rules, which should be displayed, to help with classroom management.
After thinking about incorporating flexible seating in my classroom for some time now, I finally decided to bite the bullet and go for it! I feel like the timing is perfect as our standardised tests are over. The classroom does not look anything remotely like the wonderfully colourful classrooms on Pinterest and on different teaching sites, but it cost no money to put together and it’s a start. I literally used anything I could get my hands on around the school, and brought some things from home, too.
One of its principal objectives is to reduce the number and duration of sedentary periods of time, which research has identified as a danger to health. According to Dieter Breithecker at Germany’s Federal Institute for Posture and Mobilisation Support, brain activity slows down when the body becomes stationary, for example when sitting in a traditional classroom for extended periods of time. Breithecker recommended flexible seating arrangements to remedy these dangers.
Flexible classrooms give students a choice in what kind of learning space works best for children, and helps them work collaboratively, communicate, and engage in critical thinking. It also allows for time on their own, if they need that to concentrate and work better on a task.
Let’s see if it works – the children love it so far but is it sustainable in the long run? If it does work, it will need some jazzing up.
Stay tuned to find out how it goes!
Have you tried flexible seating in your classroom? Did work for you? Tell me about it in the comments section!
Like and share this post with your teacher friends. ❤
Till next time…