Seating Structure Design and Active Classroom Participation of College Students

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Seating Structure Design and Active Classroom
Participation of College Students
Mildred S. Ruedas

Most settings of classrooms we see in the Philippines or observed even in our own schools and universities are almost similar with each other. Specifically concerning the seating style. Very few from our teachers or professors are changing the style of the seats like instead of using the Row Style in teaching, change it to Semi-circle style. The researcher also noticed that with the traditional kind of setting in seating arrangement, we hear teachers say, “People from the back, please stop talking” or in a scenario of recitation we often hear “Other hands please”. Many studies and articles as the researcher goes on with the study proven that there are actually effects of classroom seating arrangement with the performance of the students yet some still contradicts it and as the researcher observed in the Philippine setting of education, classroom seating arrangement is not a concern or a significant variable for most of the schools and universities.

According to Damer, M. (2000), classroom managements is a term coined by teachers and mentors which means a process of ensuring that a lecture in the classroom goes smoothly and delivered effectively despite disruptive behavior of the students. Classroom management, particularly seating arrangement is one of the factors and not saying the only factor to be considered in getting high grades as the researcher’s concern. As for the researcher, part of classroom management and one of the ways to maintain order and control in the classroom is to have seating style. According to Chinappi, J. & Wistrom, E. (2011), the physical atmosphere of the classroom can play a large role in how well professors are able to manage the students. In the Philippine setting, the most commonly used is called the Row-column style or the Traditional style. With this kind of setting, the students are arranged by rows facing the teacher at the front of the class. Based on Otrar et. al. (2004), students sitting next to the wall or at the back row have less participation and attention and are more likely to display undesired behaviors. Therefore, the researcher thought that it is harder to involve the whole class especially those who are seating at the back row. With this, during lecture period, it may be possible that student will feel boring or sleepy especially during lecture period thus may affect their active participation. In case like this, students who are usually participating are the ones participating over and over again. She stated, "I agree that the physical arrangement to seating and the assignment (or lack thereof) to such is basic classroom management” Fulton, M. E. (2001). According to Wannarka and Ruhl (2003), students at the back of the classroom tend to interact with each other more frequently than those seated at the front, potentially adversely impacting their attention to the task.

According to Fernandez, Careena & Rinaldo (2011), Parker, Hoopes & Eggett (2011) and Ikram (2010) other types of seating arrangements which are the following; the U-style arrangement helps the teachers to easily get along the class for monitoring students, it is also advantageous in a sense that the design encourages group discussion as students can see and interacts with each other, but it also allows the instructor to remain the central feature. The instructor can move freely through the space in the center while assisting students and presenting projects and assignments clearly. Therefore, it is also ideal for easy learning and participation in class since the students may easily understand the lessons. He stated “Question asking was more frequent when the children were seated in the U-style arrangement” (Marx et al. 2000). The professors could easily see the faces of the students thus preventing student to student chatting that...
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