How to Design Your Classroom: New Teacher Survival Guide Tips

New Teacher Survival Guide Series
Installment One
TutaPoint's New Teacher Survival Guide series is produced to help teachers new to the classroom navigate their first few months on the job.  

A teacher’s first year is often the most challenging. Learning how to manage a classroom, design lesson plans that work for students, cooperate with faculty and administrators, and manage the time to perform all of these tasks and more is difficult for entering teachers. This new teacher guide offers tips for new teachers and strategies for new teachers to help your first year be successful in seven critical areas.
 New Teacher Tip: Learning about Classroom Design

Michael David Leiboff, a renowned classroom architect, equates classroom lectures to “choreographed live theater”. In the context of a modular classroom that changes between sets, or lessons, his observation is apt. Use these tips for new teachers for a classroom to compliment your live theater.
§  Don’t rely on what you learned in pre-service instruction. In a 2008 study “Evidenced based practices in classroom management”,Simonsen, Fairbanks et al. noted that most pre-service teacher training on classroom management and arrangement is based on work done in the 1960s, which may be highly correlative (i.e., not evidence based) and/or outdated. 
§  Go modular. These classrooms institute elements such as movable small tables that can be arranged into large tables for larger group work, wheeled chairs for students, and movable white boards. Guildford, Connecticut schools are experimenting with these classroom elements to see if alternatives to traditional classrooms improve student performance. It’s too early to report any student achievement data, but the new designs are receiving rave reviews from students. You can read more courtesy the New Haven Register.
§  Use non-traditional set ups. In “Activity-enhancing arenas of designs”, a study by Amedeo and Dyck, teachers reported non-traditional classroom layouts such as T-shapes, L-shapes, and cross shapes are better for technology use, diverse/separated activities, flexible time scheduling, and group privacy.
§  Re-organize into traditional rectangles for testing. Teachers surveyed in the above study were more likely to associate rectangular layouts with “supervision and vigilance”, and felt that non-traditional designs made it more difficult to enforce a highly managed classroom.
§  Exploit the various characteristics of all of these orientations. A modular class room can be arranged into a traditional rectangle for testing periods, and re-arranged into a cross shape for group discussions, fitting the needs of the lesson as required.
§  Be familiar with the different modular set-ups, both traditional and non-traditional, to make the greatest impact with movable classrooms.

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