Redesigning Learning Space

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Redesigning Learning Space by Mind Map: Redesigning Learning Space

1. Background

1.1. Flexible seating is incorporating any type of seating that is not the traditional classroom desks. Some studies have shown that this increases student engagement, focus, and comfort. As you can probably relate it is hard to focus when you are sitting in uncomfortable seating especially for hours on end. However, studies only go so far. At some point you must actually dive in and try it for yourself and that is exactly what I have done this year. Flexible seating is incorporating any type of seating that is not the traditional classroom desks. Some studies have shown that this increases student engagement, focus, and comfort. As you can probably relate it is hard to focus when you are sitting in uncomfortable seating especially for hours on end. However, studies only go so far. At some point you must actually dive in and try it for yourself and that is exactly what I have done this year.

2. Pros

2.1. Comfort

2.2. Engagement

2.3. Comfort

2.4. Higher Retention

2.5. Better Test Scores

3. Cons

3.1. Cost

3.2. Potential Behavioral Issues

3.3. GERMS!!! (Lysol classroom a lot more often!!)

3.4. Change

4. Educational Impact

4.1. Increase in understanding of the material

4.2. Increase in student engagement

4.3. Increase in test and quiz scores

4.4. Increase in class participation

4.5. Increase in group work activity options

4.6. Increased confidence in math class

4.7. Increase standardized test scores

5. Controversy

5.1. As with every new idea there are a lot of questions. These changes lead some people to believe that flexible seating should not be introduced in the math classroom. People can easily see the benefits in an English or Library class but it is harder to see the benefits in a math classroom because people see math as a lecture then work. However, by incorporating flexible seating into my class I had the option to change this in my classroom. My class went from a lecture then work kind of class to a group led discussion. I had to make some changes to the style of teaching when I implemented this. I told my students that this is no longer called a lecture but it is a mathematical discussion that we are having. They are required to participate in the discussion and ask questions and make hypotheses as if we are researching this not just simply me getting up and teaching them. In an article by Stephen Merrill I found this quote and couldn't agree more, "Flexible spaces, educators agree, alter the fundamental dynamics of teaching and learning, giving students more control and responsibility, improving academic engagement, and undermining the typical face-forward orientation of the traditional learning environment."

6. Real World Example

6.1. My classroom is a real world example of the change of flexible seating implementation has on a math classroom. I incorporated this at the beginning of this year. I have noticed and increase in student understanding, engagement, and just overall participation. Students scores have increased from last year and my students actually want to come to my class because they know they will be comfortable.

6.2. Here is a link to another real world example. This is a blog written by Meghan Snable about her journey into the world of flexible seating in her classroom.

7. What school have/have not done

7.1. What schools HAVE done...

7.1.1. My district gave me the go ahead to try this but made the comment that if it goes well they may consider buying me more seating options. I kept a few traditional desks in my room just in case but am looking into getting a futon and some more rugs. I have even read articles of schools that have taken flexible seating options as far as tearing down walls to build more open and collaborative classes. So instead of my class just being mine and only teaching math they may make my room bigger and bring the art teacher into my room to share our space and incorporate math and art together.