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PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING

Managing the Physical Environment in the Classroom

“The external environment helps create the atmosphere conducive for learning.”

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A well-designed utilization of classroom space is of utmost necessity if the aim is to be able to manage all learning activities to successful completion. How should the environment be structured for effective teaching and learning?

Furniture Arrangement

The physical features in the classroom must be located in areas where the contents could be viewed well and be made available for use. Well-arranged, they make the room look spacious and orderly. Furniture such as chairs and tables. for demonstrations or displays must be positioned appropriately. Exhibit shelves are either permanently pinned to the wall or are made to stand at the sides.

Whiteboard for writing and clarifying lesson discussions, together with bulletin boards, are available for posting important messages and outstanding pieces of students’ work, art and illustrations.

Seating Arrangement

The seating arrangement deserves foremost consideration since the students stay in each at the longest time during the day. They either remain seated if there is a lecture-demonstration or leave every now and then to gather the materials needed for an experiment or to operate a single equipment. Match the seating arrangement with the format and activities of your lesson plan.

The semi-permanent arrangement of the chairs is one where they are arranged in four rows with six to eight in a ‘row. Sufficient space is allotted in the aisles and in-between the seats for ease in moving around. If the activities need groupings, the chairs are organized in groups of four or five facing each other for a fast exchange of communications. If they need a wide space at the center as in exhibitions and short drama, the chairs are lined close to the wall around the room.

The choice of the right size of the chair would depend on the ‘students’ size. If kept on a large desk or a smaller one they will feel uncomfortable and their movements will be affected.

Below are some sample seating arrangements:

Traditional rows in columns are ideal for establishing classroom management. This arrangement allows students to focus on you when you are lecturing or teaching routines and procedures. It is great for direct Instruction.
Position student desks so that they face the center when you are facilitating classroom discussions. The outer area is ideal for skits, role-playing, and student demonstrations. It creates a friendlier atmosphere and can be used in lieu of traditional rows.
Situate chairs around tables so that students do not have their backs facing you. When it is time for small group activities, they can move their chairs to face each other. This arrangement is ideal for cooperative learning activities. Be aware that seating students in groups invites dialogue, which is great if that is your purpose.
This format is wonderful If you have desks because you can rearrange the•from traditional rows into groups and back again, depending on your lesson plan. Teach students how to quickly rearrange the desks to facilitate small group work.

Physical Condition of the Classroom

Clean rooms, hallways, and surroundings are wholesome places to stay in. The teacher should schedule who is responsible for their neatness on a regular basis. In case of accidental spills, the students should be trained to mop or wash the area immediately. Used instruments and devices must be returned to their proper places. Always erase the board after use. Place a wastebasket nearly.

The physical environment Must also be a safe place where curious, overactive, and energetic children are always on the go. Avoid slippery floors, rickety chairs, and old furniture. In performing experiments where heat sources such as electric stoves, gas burners, and bulbs are used, extreme care must be exercised in order to prevent fires.

For a lively and fresh look, potted indoor plants can be placed at the corners and flowers on the teacher’s table. During class hours proper lighting and ventilation must be provided and maintained for everybody’s comfort. Noise and discipline problems in the physical environment can be avoided in an orderly and well-managed classroom.

Let us not forget that equally important, if not more important, is the psychological atmosphere that reigns in the classroom.

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