Continuous student engagement seems to be at the forefront of every educator's mind.
As it should be...
INTERESTINGLY enough though, student engagement conversations often focus or revolve around changes in curriculum or overall teacher pedagogy.
BUT: What if there were other options for accelerating student engagement that were as simple as rethinking THE MANNER IN WHICH the traditional classroom is configured .
HENCE: It's time to take a serious look at what it means to de-front the classroom.
Back in the day
AND we've all been there.... Students were properly seated in rows with the teacher dominating instructional time by disseminating knowledge through a traditional lecture format STEMMING from the front of the room.
Old school thinking sounds something like this: "If I say it, then students will have to learn it."
This may be true for the enthusiastic few STUDENTS who choose front row seats, but research tells us that "the majority of undergraduate students in classes with traditional stand-and-deliver lectures, are 1.5 times more likely to fail than students in classes that use more stimulating learning methods."
Shifting The Focus
So what does de-fronting the classroom look and sound like?
In its simplest terms, the stand and deliver lecture format is NOT AN option.
Learning becomes a shared endeavour between teacher and students with placement of desks and vertical non-permanent surfaces positioned around the room... with the teacher addressing the class from a variety of locations.
Room configuration and student achievement
When students are no longer placed in passive environments, like the traditional classroom for example, a number of observable behaviours begin to occur.
THE MOST important being Increased communication and collaboration become the norm as students rely on each other -- as opposed to the teacher -- to dive deeper into problem solving in a brainstorming manner.
If you aren't doing so already; the time has come for teachers to get out from behind the podium and into the classroom with students.
THERE you have IT: DE-FRONTING the classroom is a simple and effective way to enhance student engagement.