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Flexible seating in a classroom is one of those unconventional classroom technique that always works for the best. However, there are many perspectives and perception of sitting flexibly. And this does not mean that the student can sit in the manner they wish. It simply means that students make use of unconventional seats and can change their seating area on a frequent basis. Do you remember the time when your school teacher would allot a particular seat for you for the entire term? ‘Flexible seating’ frowns upon that age-old practice.

In other words, a flexible seating classroom is one in which traditional seating charts are replaced with a seating arrangements that allow the students to sit where they choose. Further, one of its principal objectives is to reduce the number/duration of sedentary periods of time, which research identifies as a danger to health.

flexible seating

Benefits of Flexible Seating

Allowing your students to choose their seats and not stopping them from changing often, is a great classroom practice. Moreover, this classroom practice might just make you one of their most favorite teachers. But apart from making students fond of you, flexible seating in classrooms comes with many merits. Following are some of the advantages and benefits of implementing this classroom practice.

  • Unconventional classroom practices help students think of unconventional and useful ideas.
  • However, this type of seating arrangement can directly influence a student’s ability to network and interact.
  • Many students dread coming to classes because they have to sit in a seat that they do not prefer. They could not like to AC/fan angling. They may also not be getting along very well with their seat neighbor. However, there are many such reasons that may seem petty to you but it affects a student’s concentration and thinking ability in a negative way. By encouraging flexible seating, the student can be carefree when it comes to seating arrangement.
  • Flexible seating gives students the liberty to make an informed decision regarding where to sit at the moment. This decision needs the help of various references such as – ability to view the board, glare form the window, away from an uncomfortable fan/AC, ability to hear and listen to the lecture, etc.
  • Flexible seating shows to the students and the outside world, that the school/college is student-centric. And this is a great term for an educational institute to be known by.
  • Moreover, by encouraging flexible seating, you, as a teacher are eliminating the possibility of an unhappy student.

How to Create a Flexible Seating Arrangement in a Classroom?

Knowing the above benefits that come along with arranging for this seating in a classroom, your next question probably is – ‘how do you create a flexible seating arrangement in a classroom?”. Following are some of the popular and beneficially proven techniques to create this sort of a conducive classroom environment.

  1. Ensure that the classroom has more than at least 3 variety of chairs.
  2. Remember that there does not always have to be the existence of chairs in a flexible seating arrangement. A classroom following this practice can also encourage students to sit and focus on comfortable cushion mats.
  3. With the help of small size bean bags, this classroom practice can be a great hit. However, recently, many libraries have been stationing bean bags for their student librarians to make use of. This is so because, bean bags are very comfortable for a short duration. And a comfortable student is also an attentive and happy student.
  4. Install wobble chairs. Although they are not often termed as ‘comfortable’, they do keep the student away from dozing during the class.
  5. Scoop chairs are a great tool as well. Debates have it that these chairs ruin a student’s posture. But this is not always true. Let’s say that you decide to install wobble chairs or tall stools that do not have back rests, these scoop chairs and bean bags often help facilitate ease in sitting posture. A constant and timely regulation of one’s sitting posture eliminates one’s chances of developing back problems.

Therefore, it is important to learn about your classroom, your course and your students before deciding on the best combination for your flexible seating classrooms.

Solved Question for You

How do you decide if flexible seat classroom is right for your classroom?

There has been considerable research on the benefits of students being able to move around for their health and fitness—and suggests that it helps their brains too.

In her book Smart Moves, Why Learning is Not All in your Head, education consultant Carla Hannaford suggests that some 13 studies show that when students move around in a classroom, they are more engaged and can better “anchor new information and experience into neural networks.”

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