Introduction

A flexible classroom is a learning environment where traditional seating is replaced with a seating arrangement that gives students the opportunity to pick their own seats. Flexible seating allows students to collaborate more easily with one another in a way that traditional seating does not permit. There are many other benefits to this arrangement of seating, including an improvement to the physical health of students, which is why the prospect is becoming more popular in the education world. The resources provided will help you to figure out how you should approach transforming your classroom into one with flexible seating!

Resources

As time has gone on and it has become more apparent that all students don’t thrive in classrooms with traditional seating, more resources have become available online for teaching with flexible seating.

Lesson Plans

  1. The A to Z of Flexible Classrooms: edutopia provides many resources for educators who are looking to bring flexible seating to their classroom. The site has looked at the “research, raw materials, and funding options for flexible spaces” and asked several teachers how they converted their classroom. There are many articles which explain the research behind flexible seating and give advice on how to fund and assemble your flexible classroom.

Articles

  1. 5 Tips for Setting Up A Flexible Seating Classroom: Scholastic offers five tips for setting up a flexible seating classroom. The author, Rhonda Stewart, walks educators through looking for creative ways to incorporate seating options, letting the room speak to you, setting up guidelines for the privilege of changing seats, starting out small, and creating a seating chart for those times when you are absent. These recommendations will be very helpful when you are figuring out how you should begin to set up flexible seating in your classroom, so take a look!
  2. New Classroom Trend – Flexible Seating: Psychology Today has published a brief article on whether flexible seating will benefit students. Healy explains how flexible seating supports different modes of learning, which is why students are more likely to stay engaged. Studies show that students take more ownership of their classroom when they have the ability to choose their own seats, especially if seating location is an important factor in their learning. The author also recounts the real-life experiences of different educators with flexible seating, which may sway your decision one way or the other!
  3. Top 10 Benefits of a Flexible-Seating Classroom: The Smith System has put together a list of ten benefits of a flexible seating classroom, which includes choice, physical health, comfort, community, collaboration, commitment to learning, communication, sensory input, and fun. Overall, there are a multitude of different reasons why flexible seating benefits students in various ways.

Informational Sites

  1. Is Flexible Seating Right for Your Classroom?: education world provides educators with information on whether flexible seating is right for their classrooms. Several teachers are quoted recounting how flexible classrooms have worked in their experience, and the author goes over the research supporting flexible seating. Lastly, educators are given a few different points from experts to consider before jumping onto the flexible-seating train, which includes the fact that the classroom environment should be suitable, comprehensive, and exciting.
  2. How K–12 Schools Can Create Flexible Seating in the Classroom: EdTech has published a guide on how K-12 schools can create flexible seating in their own classrooms. First, Zimmerman describes what a flexible classroom is, the benefits of a flexible seating, and what to include in your flexible seating classroom. There are a few different suggestions for how to start transforming your classroom into a flexible one, such as unconventional chairs, adjustable standing desks, and cushions or maps, and other useful pieces of information on this page.
  3. 7 Outstanding K–8 Flexible Classrooms: edutopia offers a few different examples of outstanding K-8 flexible classrooms which educators can use as inspiration for their own. For each classroom, the grade level, name of school, number of students, and room dimensions are provided along with information from the educator on how they set up the classroom and tips for making this type of classroom work. There are many great images and tips here that will give you great ideas for adding flexible seating to your own classroom!

Conclusion

Adding flexible seating to your classroom may not sound like an easy task, but utilizing the resources above will lighten the burden on your shoulders. In the end, flexible seating will benefit the students in the classroom who are often overlooked because of their inability to fit into the standard mold. In today’s age, we know that not all students are going to learn in the same way at the same pace, which is why it makes sense that a classroom environment can have a great impact on the learning and engagement of students. If you want all of your students to be engaged in lessons and take charge in the classroom, flexible seating may be right for you!

Additional Resources

  1. How Classroom Seating is Changing to Help Today’s Diverse Learners: education world provides an article detailing how classroom seating is changing to help today’s diverse learners. For neurodiverse students, sitting on large inflated balls, personal bean bag seats, stools, or low-lying rocking chairs may be a better alternative than traditional seating, which clearly isn’t working for all.
  2. Flexible Seating Influencing Student Engagement: Samantha Burgeson of Northwestern College published a paper on flexible seating influencing student engagement. The experiment detailed in this paper showed that different seating options work well for different students, which is why some students will appear more engaged than others in either traditional or nontraditional seating arrangements. This piece may not give you the answer that flexible seating works for everyone, but it may help you to understand that flexible seating can give certain students who usually struggle in traditional classrooms the opportunity to thrive in a new classroom environment.