Assigned seating or not?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by a teacher, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Every teacher is different. There's nothing wrong with assigning them seats -- whether you do it randomly? Alphabetically? However. There's no right or wrong answer. It's your classroom and those are your kids. It depends on the grade you teach and the kids in your classroom. I taught third grade so they needed to be more directed than maybe the MS/HS kids do. But even with my kids, I could have let some of them pick their own seats and they would have been fine. They knew when it was time to talk and when it wasn't. And I had some talkers. Oh boy! :rofl:

    Maybe you try it YOUR way and offer it as a reward to allow them to choose their own seats if/when they earn it?

    There's a lot more to worry about than just seating. Mine never even stayed consistent all year anyway. I was constantly moving the seats -- in terms of how the desks were arranged and the students' assignments. By the end I ended up with the horse-shoe and instructed them from the carpet anyway so if I needed to, I'd send the talkers back to sit by themselves. And then we'd move on with the lesson. I will say that I probably will assign spots on the carpet in the future because THAT was a problem.
    :)
     
  2. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    No technique comes with a guarantee. Whether assigned seating or student choice there is always a chance any student will backtalk. Cooperation and time on task are far more complicated than a seating chart.

    Your notion about trying to prevent discipline problems from occurring is sound. Generalizing because teachers do not assign seating they can expect backtalk is not. Example: Many teachers are experts in using proximity. They may have fewer disruptions in spite of student choice seating because they are constantly moving among and between students. Preventing talking can be viewed as a "system" of techniques that, together, and used correctly help to increase student engagement. This is why effective teachers are constantly trying to increase their repertoire of skills, never assuming they have found "it" rather a large cupboard of "it" to choose from.
     
  3. a teacher

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    Aug 8, 2016

    Don't respond if you are going to make assumptions. You usually miss the point anyway.
     
  4. a teacher

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    I'm not assuming. I am stating fact. If you understood students' mentalities better you wouldn't be so confused about what I am saying.
     
  5. a teacher

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    We are not talking about guarantees. What we are talking about are odds. The odds are much higher that you will have disruption earlier and more frequently when you let them sit with friends. This is a simple fact. It seems the only rationale for allowing them to choose their own seats is that it is either a) a reward, or b) it makes them like you more or like the class more. And it is also a simple fact that when a student gets the idea that they have a certain kind of choice such as seating because they are entitled to it (because too many of their teachers let them choose) they are more likely to argue about a seat change and be confrontational. Lastly, the teachers choice will always be better for the students learning than the students choice, except in rare cases when it may be of the same value.
     
  6. a teacher

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    This sounds workable, but what's the specific method you use? Do you project your roster? Are the names big enough to see? Do you write numbers on index cards and leave them loose on the table or tape them down? How exactly do you set it up?
     
  7. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    I do this and I project the seating chart on the board. The chart has their names and pictures and I write a number next to their name. They find the number on their desk. Now they can look at the chart and see where they are seated without numbers, but it's confusing because it looks backwards since it is projected.
     
  8. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    I too prefer to have assigned seats for the reasons you mentioned and it's much easier to learn names that way. I let seniors pick their seats last year and it was not a good idea. Won't be doing that again...
     
  9. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I don't understand this thread. If you had already made up your mind that not assigning seats is a terrible practice, then why did you call the thread "Assigned seating or not?" If you only wanted ideas for how to tell students their seats on the first day, fine, then say so from the beginning.

    Linguist is an excellent teacher who works wonders with students many teachers would consider too difficult to reach. I have nothing but respect for her and always enjoy her contributions to this board. If flexible seating works for her, then great! If it doesn't work for you, fine, don't do it. I don't understand the problem. Teachers don't have to and should not do everything the same way.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2016
  10. a teacher

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    I originally wanted to know how many assign and how many don't assign seats. I was surprised how many just let the kids sit where they want. Nobody who lets kids sit where they want has provided an argument for it's value, so it seems to be a poor approach.

    Then I asked about methods for getting them their assigned seats.
     
  11. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I start with kids in alphabetical order. I write numbers in the desks with dry erase markers, then project an alphabetical class list on the board. Students come in, find their number, find their desk. I do this for the first few days because rosters change so much and I'm bad with names. After the first week or so I put them in a more permanent arrangement.
     
  12. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    I don't think the discussion is about "value," per se, it's all about what works best for YOU and your students in YOUR classroom. If I can let my kids pick their seats and they can still focus and stay engaged in the lessons, cool. And yes I did have it so I know first hand that it's possible. Randomly assigning seats, alphabetically, boy-girl, etc., may not necessarily be the "best" (whatever that means) method either. Sure it helps take some of the "control" and decision making away from the kids, which can be good or bad. Sometimes students can't handle having choice like that, and sometimes they can. I don't think there's an argument for either side. It's all anecdotal evidence at this point. Even "best practices" books may not be too helpful because every class is different. It's about setting the tone and culture of your room. Hell some of my kids could pick their own seats and some there's NO WAY I would leave it to chance.
    ;)

    Also:
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Aug 9, 2016

    I agree the odds favor fewer disruptions when students are not just assigned random seats rather placed where they and others can work with fewest distractions. This speaks to those teachers who don't assign seats the first day. Instead they watch and take note of talking to neighbors. Then they move. It also points to teachers who understand random seating - alphabetically; # etc. - does not guarantee final placement. As often happens some students end up together by luck of the draw. In any event, whether assigned or choice, the question might be "Is what I'm doing increasing cooperation and time on task?" If the answer is "Yes" then run with it.

    As far as students arguing over seating research based data collected in scores of classrooms suggest backtalk has more to do with a student's perception of the teacher than where they sit. In some classrooms teachers couldn't get students to sit in their assigned seats to begin with let alone move them when asked.
     
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  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Twice in the past few years, I have had students who should not--ever--be sitting together. Not because they got along too well, but because they detested each other so much that it was more of a disruption than friends socializing ever has been. Given a choice, they separated themselves and let their teachers know why. However, if they were assigned a place alphabetically (first or last name), by birthday, or alphabetically boy/girl, they were together.

    Allowing students some choice in their seats, especially in the first couple of days, doesn't mean that all is a free-for-all. In my room, it's one of the many ways I get to know my students (and they get to know me and where I draw the line).
     
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  15. linswin23

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    There's a kid like this in every class, lol! Love this meme!
     
  16. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Or kids. And it doesn't matter if you assign them seats or let them decide. It's who they are.
     
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  17. linswin23

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    Yup...I had classes like this in middle school. Making a seating chart was like playing chess.
     
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  18. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    Aug 9, 2016

    I always think it is good to start with assigned seats even in high school. Then after 1 week or more there is nothing wrong with letting them choose their seats IF that is what you want. They will see it as a privilege while if they get free seating from Day 1, they'll see it as a right.
     
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  19. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Aug 10, 2016

    I think it depends on the individual classroom so i'm sure there's no right/wrong way to do it. When I taught middle school we always had assigned seats. When I subbed, I noticed the class behaved better when there was assigned seating (but that's just a sub observation). My special ed students now are low functioning and don't do much academic work but I also need assigned seating for them. Some complain about where I tell them to sit and some don't. It really just depends on the class/students!!
     
  20. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Each one of us needs to make our own professional decisions about what practices we will use in our classroom and be able to reflect about whether or not they are effective for our students. There is no one-size-fits-all where teaching is concerned (how boring would that be!?). I know that my practices won't work for everyone (or even for the teacher across the hall), but they work for me. When they stop working, I'll re-evaluate and make some changes.
     

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