Feb 27 2014

Do Teachers Still Need Classroom Seating Charts?

Educators are reimagining everything in the face of disruptive technology, including the seating chart.

Last year, when EdTech: Focus on K–12 reported on the trend of teachers getting rid of desks in the classroom, we heard from numerous educators who’d successfully gone deskless and loved it.

Similarly, some teachers believe there should be freedom of choice and movement when it comes to seating arrangements in the classroom. These teachers are choosing to forgo the roll call–friendly seating chart and instead are empowering students to sit where they please.

Commenting on the education blog Building Our Classroom, an educator who goes by the screen name Mathcurmudgeon wrote, “No seating chart 98% of the time. I tell the students straight out that they are in high school now and that they may sit where they like — I will only impose a seating chart as a doomsday final resort when their choices and behavior demand it.”

But survey data from ClassCharts, an online seating chart manager, shows that seating charts actually may improve classroom engagement, according to an article on Edudemic.

If the data is to be believed, seating charts benefit both students and teachers by:

  • Making teachers twice as effective
  • Increasing attainment for “lower ability” students
  • Boosting teachers’ comfort level and confidence

While seating arrangements are good for separating students who distract each other and helping teachers to memorize student names, in many ways they seem as antiquated as the sage-on-a-stage lecture model or chalkboards.

If we’re letting students bring their own devices to the classroom, why shouldn’t they pick their own seats?

Weigh in with your point of view in the Comments section.