The school and the classroom have traditionally been considered temples of learning which they most certainly are. More so the classroom that is quite compulsory even in the absence of an assembly ground and large student or teacher numbers like in remote villages. While the classrooms down the ages comprised of a chalk board and furniture for students and the teacher, changes have been brought by technology nowadays. A smartboard that plays audio and video files and uses the internet for teaching and innovative electronic writing boards besides ergonomic furniture have brought sophisticated standards to the teaching-learning experience. Yet, some old issues still remain with regard to the student seating.
The schools in greater Faridabad believe that several seating options in classrooms would create greater interest and give the girls and boys something to do. The unchanging system with fixed places to sit in the whole year through is not an attractive proposition anymore. No doubt it may bring a sense of belonging with deskmates partnering through the year and being remembered decades later in reunions with classmates! Considering the changing and enterprising nature of the present day society, such a fixed seating arrangement seems to be like restricting the child in physical movement and ideas.
Leaving the ‘home’ in the classroom
Though the classroom serves as a beloved home for thousands of teenage students, they keep moving around the school campus according to the schedule of the different activities. It may be visits to the science and computer laboratories, the library or the club hour and sports events. It is certain that they enjoy each location more than the classroom where everything has got so stale after the many months or even years. The furniture and the walls, the charts and paintings, calendar, notice board and the classroom library, if there is one, have all become routine. Nothing new is happening within the classroom.
Now it is easy to understand why the children are waiting to step out so enthusiastically for the activities outside. At each venue, they encounter a different style of seating and ambience. Though they may have been allotted regular places at these locations too, it is different from the several periods of passive seating within the classroom walls. Lingaya’s Public School, among the top schools in Faridabad, prescribes several seating options in classrooms to break the monotony.
The budget restrictions
While fancies may be indulged and fantasy may help in the process of study, the truth is that mundane matters like money and budgets decide the nature of the furniture. Whether it is a government or private school, some authority is making the decisions regarding furniture and it is meant for the entire institution. Many people would still speak in favor of the military style of working with regular arrangements of desks and chairs and the uniforms constantly stress that aspect of conformity that is essential to succeed in the real world. So be it if it really leads to success and much has already been achieved with such an approach.
The top 20 schools in Faridabad would stress creativity and allow students a say in the furniture arrangement in the classroom. Oval, round and square desk and chair arrangements are some possibilities. If the class teacher and the subject teachers cooperate, so much can be achieved. The class contains so much more than the furniture alone. Curtains and chart papers, covers for the chairs etc are some possibilities. A class fund is usually the norm that is spent on such purchases that are handed over to the next occupants of the class the following year in the boarding school system.
The several seating options in classrooms can become a delightful experience, depending upon available space that might allow simple performances in the center of dramatic monologues and poetry recitations, supervised by the teacher, of course. Drama has always played an immense role in education and the voices and actions get a chance to flower before a live audience. Why should the group depend upon the community hall when so much can be achieved within the classroom walls? Perhaps a little exhibition of drawings and paintings done by the students or wall magazines displaying writings could be displayed meaningfully within the classroom and judges invited to evaluate them?
Breaking away from that permanent seat all the year through, a rotating system of seating would keep the children mobile that they enjoy and essentially wish to be. It is the age-old system that keeps them rooted to a single spot like a tree. Lingaya’s Public School believes as does the list of top schools in Faridabad that the children should have a say in classroom furniture arrangement and happiness levels, the fun factor and performance are bound to improve. Every home and office similarly keeps making changes to furniture arrangement to beat boredom. Why should classrooms be any different?