A teacher’s teaching methods aren’t the only factors that play into how well students learn class material—something as simple as the furniture in the classroom plays a major role in a student’s ability to learn and retain information. At every age and every grade, the classroom environment should provide a positive experience for both teachers and students.
Flexible classroom furniture allows the instructor to take the reins in their class, allowing for creative concepts and accommodations. By knowing how flexible classroom furniture affects learning, you can finally step away from stagnant, stationary furniture to provide students with a new level of comfort and adaptability.
Flexible Furniture Allows Teachers To Easily Experiment
No two teachers are exactly the same. Even when teaching on the same curriculum, the teaching methods and lesson plans that they make will differ from everyone else’s. Flexible classroom furniture ensures that every teacher has the opportunity to try new teaching methods whenever they think of a creative new idea.
Module desks, chairs, and tables allow the teacher to easily shift their classroom around based on their lesson plan for the day without taking up too much class or preparation time. Teachers can also have students move their stations around the room during class activities without any hassle.
Some classroom experiences that flexible furniture helps with include:
- Circular desk arrangement for presentations, acting out literature, or speeches.
- New types of icebreakers.
- Quickly rotating groups.
- Switching spaces for different subjects.
- New forms of classroom games.
- Team-based activities.
- Creating new exam classroom layouts.
- Active learning.
Modular Desks Inspire Collaboration
One form of flexible classroom furniture that is rising in popularity is modular desks and tables. These four-wheeled desks replace their stationary counterparts and neatly fit against other desks of the same kind for easy partner-based projects or teamwork. While stationary desks may only allow students to work with those who sit around them, modular desks and seating encourage students to move around the classroom—potentially to work with someone they don’t usually get to interact with.
During dedicated work time, students will find it easier to group up with their peers to brainstorm, solve problems, and see other points of view. Many students need to talk problems out with someone when they run into difficulties learning about a subject; often, it’s easier to talk to someone who is on the same level as them rather than a teacher.
Comfort Nurtures Focus
When students are comfortable, they can dedicate their minds to homing in on the teacher’s lessons. Discomfort can rattle their brains and prevent them from focusing on their tasks—or worse, it can cause physical pain or nausea in severe circumstances. By providing the classroom with flexible furnishings, you create a fun design that brings students joy and comfort rather than a tired design that makes them feel cramped and jailed.
Pairing flexible spaces in the classroom with pleasant room décor can help a child feel more like themselves during class. The stereotypical bromide of a classroom design to set up rows of stationary desks may make students feel as though they’re under a microscope throughout class, preventing them from being their usual selves. This inauthenticity may sap them of motivation and creativity during class discussions and projects.
Accommodations for Students Who Need Them
All students learn differently, but some students need a little extra help in the classroom. Students with autism, ADD, or ADHD may find it difficult or unpleasant to sit on certain types of furniture, in a particular area of the room, or far away from the instructor. Sometimes, the material of the class furniture bothers students, causing a high degree of discomfort. With several different options in the classroom to sit, students can find the furniture that works best for them so they can relax and focus.
Additionally, flexible classroom furniture also allows complete accessibility to students with mobility disabilities or injuries. Students can move their desks to allow a peer with a wheelchair or crutches to pass through without feeling as though they’re disrupting something. They won’t need to feel embarrassed with furniture that allows them to move around the classroom unhindered.
Encourages Student-Teacher Interactions
When a student has a question, they shouldn’t feel too anxious to bring it up with the teacher. The traditional classroom design often places the teacher’s desk away from the students and at the front of the room. Flexible classroom furniture can include a desk for the teacher as well, allowing teachers to choose where to place their desks depending on the activity and room layout of the day.
The different modules of the room encourage the teacher to walk around during class discussions or independent work to answer questions or participate in dialogue. Because students can be far away from their peers, they can seek an answer to a question on a more personal level rather than in an area where everyone can hear them. This influx in student-teacher interaction can help foster students’ growth, especially if they may have been too shy to ask questions before.
Creates More Space in the Classroom
From a design standpoint, the more flexible a room is with versatile furniture and zones, the larger it seems—the same law applies to classrooms. The more space you have in a classroom, the less likely students are to feel cramped and unhappy. By creating different zones in the room for classwork and activities, students will feel as though they’re more in charge of their learning experiences, as they can choose where to sit.
Flexible furniture isn’t limited to just beanbag chairs and module desks—even something as private as a study carrel desk can become its own space in a classroom for independent study or exams. As your school searches for new ways to help students improve their grades and reach their goals, don’t forget how flexible classroom furniture affects learning in a positive way. Help your teachers by providing them with classroom furniture that adapts to their teaching methods and evolves beyond the concept of a standard lecture-based classroom.