This video is one of the best I have seen of late in terms of looking at both sides of the issue when trying to create dynamic spaces for learning. Some of the common issues raised by staff when you suggest moving away from individual tables and chairs are addressed here.
Teachers always revert to the worst scenario when different options for furniture are put forward. They never look at the positives. When we went down this road a few years ago and a scenario was put forward it was greeted with a response about ‘how will I cope with the unruly students in an environment like this?’. It certainly gave me the impression that our classes were not about learning but rather about control.
When we experimented with large tables in some of our rooms the most common complaint was ‘that it resulted in the students being more chatty’. The Maths staff found them unsatisfactory because all students were not facing the board and they could not run tests effectively. What the tables did do was make staff confront situations where they had to think about how they taught in those rooms. The initial plan was that they would only be there for a short time.
This should have been a springboard to a wider discussion about how we were teaching and what were the different ways we could create diverse and interesting learning spaces in our school. Unfortunately this did not happen and a great opportunity was missed.
It is not too late for us to revisit the issue and come up with some great ideas for the future.