To Foster Productivity and Creativity in Class, Ditch the Desks!
By Leslie Harris O’Hanlon When elementary school teacher Erin Klein sat in one of her students’ desks last year, she noticed a few things about her classroom space. For one, the room itself was long and narrow, and the space was awkward. Large, clunky student desks crowded the classroom. And the desks themselves got in the way of students being able to comfortably work together. “The desks didn’t allow for much collaboration or comfort,” said Klein, who teaches at an independent elementary school in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. What she wanted was a classroom where students could move around freely, sit comfortably, and work together. “So I decided that the desks were in our way,” she said. That thought led her to start the process of redesigning her room last school year to make it a more inviting space for her students. Research supports the link between classroom space and student learning, Klein said, including work done by Susan Kovalik at The Center for Effective Learning.