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. Even though Klein had the desks in groups of four, her second-grade students were far from each other because the compartments in the desks for student supplies were large, forcing the kids to communicate and work together over a vast span of desk space. “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. “They love comfy places to sit.
• Core Spring 2014