Studies done since the 1970s have shown that students who sit in the back of the classroom perform worse than those sitting in the front.
As a teacher, this isn’t new knowledge for you. All of us can think of a time when bad incidents happened in the back of the classroom while the front had no issues. So, why does this happen?
The back of the classroom is the space with the smallest number of engagement opportunities with students and teachers. It’s harder to see and hear in the back than in the front. So, you need to find other ways to get those students engaged.
Here’s how you can do it.
Give the Layout of Your Classroom More Personality
The standard grid seating arrangement is organized, but it’s beyond old and lacks personality.
You’ll inevitably have students choose their seats in the back of the room because that’s all that is left if the front gets taken. One easy way to alleviate engagement issues between teachers and back-seating students is to give your layout more personality.
The runway formation—2 long, parallel, vertical lines of desks facing each other like a fashion runway.
Clusters of 4—Groups of 4 desks put together with students facing each other and sitting next to each other.
The half-circle—Horseshoe or U-shape desk formation facing the teacher.
The stadium formation—Rows of desks that are diagonal and make a V-shape formation.
Be More Creative with Your Examples
It’s commonplace for teachers to use examples when certain topics are harder for students to understand.
You can use those examples to engage your students in the back of the classroom by simply using their individual names. Students perk up whenever their names are called out. If you use a certain student’s name for your examples, it will stick with them more and they’ll feel more involved in the classroom.
If you want to get even more creative, give examples from the back of the classroom.
You can help your students perk up even more by walking to the back of the classroom often to give examples they would have struggled to see up front.
Give Your Students Fun Quizzes
These aren’t quizzes that will add more stress to your students’ day. They are fun quizzes that add more life to the room. You can take a quiz-style format and make a fun game out of it. Online quiz games like Kahoot are just the beginning.
Student response systems are a great way to add more classroom participation to quizzes as well. Some student response systems let students take quizzes with short answers, fill-in-the-blanks, true/false, and even multiple-choice questions.
It's easy for your students in the back to get bored due to the limited sight and hearing of the teacher. Quiz games will get your students in the back more involved while also making sure they retain the information they learn.
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