Help me give my students flexible seating to encourage kinesthetic learning and allow students to choose which learning style works best for them.
I teach English in an urban high school with over 2000 students from low-income households. Most of my students are on free or reduced lunch which also includes breakfast for our population. Found in the middle of the downtown part of the city, absenteeism has become a wide-spread problem with our population because there are so many places students can go once they leave campus that it has become a perpetual problem.
Most of my students want to learn, they want to grow, and they want to succeed.
Sometimes, though, these students run into obstacles whether physical, mental, or physiological, that keep them from finding success. To help students begin to see themselves as members of a greater society, and their English class as a safe place for discussion of ideas, deeper thinking, and collaboration with their peers, my goal is to allow them the comfortable space to feel like their ideas are valued in a setting that encourages collaboration, promotes their success, and allows to feel like they truly belong.
With the traditional structure of a classroom, sometimes our students just need a break. Offering them flexible seating, a place to stretch their legs, move around, work in a different manner will allow them to keep their brains moving along with their body. It can be a long school day, knowing they have a place that offers some options for working can increase their focus and their thinking.
Also, allowing students to choose single seating, group seating, and/or standing will also encourage their collaboration with their peers.
So often, students share their learning experience with classmates who remain strangers after a full school year together, giving them tables and seating that offer flexibility naturally breaks down some of those barriers that students feel sitting independently at single desk. This collaboration allows more of an ownership to their learning because they feel a sense of community in both their struggles and their successes in the classroom.
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