Closing The Gap
We strongly believe that the correct flexible seating arrangements will create a situation that allows for the absolute best opportunities for learning to occur. We also believe that having the correct furniture is only 50% of how the learning process is transformed. The other 50% is solely dependent on how an instructor combined with the correct student mix are able to implement small group collaboration. Through research and development the Alumni Classroom Furniture 21st Century Learning Products are designed to achieve the best possible collaborative dynamic.
Truly our common goal is to get “B” and “C” students to move up. We also can’t forget that an “A” student can move up as well. The dynamic of the group of five will allow for discussion about the subject to have a smaller audience. When you don’t clearly understand what is being taught, it is less likely that you will raise your hand in front of an audience of twenty-nine of your peers to ask a question that you may assume that most others already know the answer to. The chance of a negative reaction from the class and the potential of being centered out could be very embarrassing. Most students have learned quickly at a young age that it is better to say nothing than be embarrassed. Most students would prefer to hide among the group of thirty student then go through this type of situation. In a traditional class situation the questions are directed to the teacher who is the central hub of control.
HOW DOES IT WORK
So let’s look at how the grouping of FIVE functions. Your peer group is now reduced to 4 other students. If the group has been set up properly, the group members will be comprised of students of all levels of achievement. The discussion is free flowing but still requires the respect of listening. Both verbal and written communications can be quickly shared. The group becomes self-directed by its members and is navigated back onto course by the teacher.
In a sense you can’t hide in this type of group sizing as you could in a class of 30 students. As the conversation stays on subject there is a high likelihood that you will have learned something more than what you’d known prior to the group discussion. This will now put any of these students in a position of being a comfortable participant.
The group of FIVE set up reduces the audience comprised of those that want to hide behind a class clown that will take the opportunity to embarrass anyone to take the focus off of their anxiety of not understanding. This is where we begin to “Bridge the Gap”. If the student can get a correct baseline understanding before each class ends, then they will not be left behind in the learning process. This is the stepping stone that will allow them to achieve a higher level of understanding. An “A” student can greatly benefit from this as well. They are placed in a setting that would potentially challenge there understanding and it would allow them to justify the path that they forged to get there answer. It can be a strong reinforcement of the details that justified a correct answer. It’s also very important to remember that we don’t collaborate all of the time. This means that the flexibility of the furniture is paramount.
This is why round table, horseshoe tables, kidney table, c-shape tables are not effective choices. They actually are becoming the dinosaur in the room that takes up valuable space.