Teachers can make their classrooms more interesting, more dynamic, and certainly more compatible for students: as evidenced from this commentary from  Teaching from the Middle of the Room: 

In most schools, classrooms still belong to individual teachers. Unless we share a room, we can choose how to arrange it. We can either use it as we find it, most likely desks in rows and columns, or we can rearrange it. Before we decide, especially for our first impression, we need to be clear in our minds why we are rearranging. If we want students to understand that sitting face-to-face is more important than only facing the backs of the heads of classmates and the teacher, a circular arrangement would make sense. We should prepare a lesson that necessitates this arrangement; otherwise, it might appear gimmicky.

Regardless of what we decide, we need to let go of the traditional classroom mindset. This arrangement has been the staple of classrooms for generations and signifies the teacher as authority, controller, and dispenser. Setting permanent clusters of desks, which are common in elementary schools, also perpetuates the teacher’s traditional role. The best alternative is to develop a variety of arrangements to suit the intended learning.

Possible arrangements include facing the front for giving instructions or demonstrations, listening to student presentations, or watching a DVD. But, we do not have to use rows and columns. We can make two or three horseshoe rows to allow for interaction. We can also create clusters of desks for group work, spread them out for quiet study, and push them to the sides to open the middle of the room. In my experience, tables proved more useful than desks, especially trapezoids, which facilitate a wide variety of arrangements. Most of us shy away from rearranging furniture, particularly during class, because we believe it wastes time and creates chaos. So, we make do, leaving the room either as we found it, or keep it arranged the way we’ve set it.

For more specific ideas about teaching see Teaching from the Middle of the Room: Inviting students to Learn from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Teaching-Middle-Room-Frank-Thoms/dp/0615358918.

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