Hands typing on a keyboard

Classroom layouts: Ditching the desks in second grade

The layout and design of any space can impact the mood and productivity for the individuals intended to use the area. Prior to becoming a teacher, I studied interior design at Michigan State University for three years. I have come to learn how critical ergonomics and aesthetics can be when designing a space, especially for children. For those interested in reading more about how the brain relates to design in the field of education, I recommend checking out the work of Susan Kovalik at The Center for Effective Learning.
When I thought about my own classroom space, I went to sit in one of my student’s desks. Though I’m larger than the average second-grader, it was soon easy for me to realize how the furniture and layout did not lend itself for collaboration and comfort. I wanted my students to gather on the carpet, sit in nooks and work with one another. I had a vision of children using the space freely, as needed, to do meaningful work with one another. However, I had not given them a proper space to facilitate these sorts of activities. Instead, the over-sized, cold and hard desks were taking over every square foot of my room. This furniture was chunky. Even though I had the desks in groups to encourage discussion, they were still so far from one another just due to the sheer size of the table tops. When children tried to turn eye to eye and knee to knee to work with a partner, they were separated by the massive, steel desk compartments. Why can’t my classroom look like a creative play space in a museum or the children’s section of a Barnes and Noble?
Read more: SmartBlog on Education – Ditching the desks in second grade – SmartBrief, Inc. SmartBlogs SmartBlogs.

One thought on “Classroom layouts: Ditching the desks in second grade”

Leave a Reply