Theory Meets Practice

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Unit 4: Theory Meets Practice

Theory Meets Practice - Making Small Changes First

Many classrooms are dreary places where students sit motionless or uncomfortable. There is little stimulation and few colorful posters on the wall. There is no evidence of student work or excitement or interesting work in progress. However, it does not always have to be that way.

Stand in your own classroom and, using this list as a starting point, consider carefully the various aspects of your room as a space for teaching and learning.

Student seating:

  • How is student seating arranged?
  • Do students sit alone, in pairs, or in groups?
  • How flexible is it?
  • Can it be moved or re-arranged easily?

We suggest that some arrangements of the room itself lend themselves to effective teaching. Some arrangements do not. If students are asked to listen to a presentation, the rows might work. If students are to work on projects, their chairs and the room should be arranged to meet these needs. In short, the physical space makes a difference.


  • How easy is it to move around the space?
  • Are there aisles?
  • Which areas cannot be reached?
  • Where is the natural place to stand?
  • Can everyone see?
  • Can students easily get to the teacher and to each other?

Learning resources:

  • How many of your needed resources are in the room?
  • How will students have access to these resources?
  • If there are resources, how many students can use them?
  • What kinds of teaching aids do you have?

The room itself:

  • Is it lit well or poorly?
  • Is it hot in the summer?
  • Can everyone hear?
  • How can you and other teachers use this space effectively?

Now that you've had a chance to examine your classroom, reflect on your answers. Are you going to make any changes? If so, what are they? Will your classroom stay the same? Why?

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource. fred. (2008, June 13). Education for the New Millennium. Retrieved May 04, 2010, from TWB Courseware Web site. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.