Saturday, February 26, 2011

Do Students Enjoy Change or Routine?

Today I changed the seating arrangement in my classroom, and split it down the middle with students facing each other, forming a kind of wide U. I decided to do this after a conversation I had about building community and creating good classroom space. But also I thought to myself 'we are in the third quarter now, maybe the students would like some change, something different may perhaps wake them up and reconnect them to what we're doing.'I wish I had recorded their reactions! Every time a student walked in and saw the room, the first thing they asked was why, then there was confusion in their faces as they tried to figure out the new seating chart, then a bunch of I like this'' or 'I don't like this', finally, one student yells out "I don't like change, can we go back to the way it was before?"This really made me think do they prefer the routine? Don't they get bored if we do the same thing every day? Are they more comfortable when they are bored at school? How dare I try to make high school fun? I felt that I was breaking some kind of sacred code by forcing them to sit in a less structured and more social setting. I should tell you that I teach religion and today I decided that, despite all the complaining I had a much livelier class than I usually encounter, it seems I finally broke through the 'so what' attitude. One way or another, they really cared that I changed the seating arrangement, why I did so, and you could see in their faces a certain expectancy about what would I do next. Well I tell you that next week there will be no lecture, no PowerPoint, no discussion, instead we're going to be on YouTube, and calling it religion class videocast, and they are going to do all the talking. I don't know if they like change but it is about time it happened.

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