Why is it important to consider room layout?

In many cases you won’t have a choice of room layout, but identifying how to best use your room is a fundamental part of managing the practical classroom.

A well laid out room will enable you to facilitate a number of different learning activities in the same space. In any one lesson you may wish to have time for direct instruction, group planning and practical work. The correct positioning of tables and chairs would allow all of these activities to take place without the need to adjust the room lay out between activities, which would result in a loss of learning time and also focus. For practical work, you should also consider access to supplies of water and gas, access to sinks and equipment.

There are also important health and safety considerations, including for students or visitors with access needs, for example how use of a wheelchair or visual impairment is accommodated.

Your teaching space

We would like you to reflect on the current layout of your teaching room, or the way your students move around it, in the form of ‘two stars and a wish’.

In the comments below, describe:

  • Two aspects of your current teaching space that work well for practical lessons (the ‘two stars’).
  • One aspect that really needs improving or is missing completely (the ‘wish’).

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This article is from the free online course:

Managing the Practical Classroom in Secondary School Science

National STEM Learning Centre