Ways to Organize Desks in a Classroom

Ways to Organize Desks in a Classroom
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Many educators agree that a classroom’s seating arrangement is almost as important as the syllabus itself. Different groups of learners require different configurations of desks in a classroom, while the individual teaching style and subject being taught will also influence the ways that the desks are organized.

Here we’ll be taking you through a look at the basic ways which have proved effective within various learning environments and classroom types. Between these variations you will always be able to find ways to organize desks in a classroom no matter how taxing or intricate the class or class size.

Basic Ways to Organize Desks in a Classroom

The individual layout of your classroom closely hinges upon your teaching style. There are however a few effective classroom seating arrangements which have proven themselves as among the best ways to organize desks in a classroom. Here’s a few seating arrangements to serve as inspiration.

Consider Line of Sight

The desks of your classroom should be carefully placed taking into consideration the line of sight of your learners. You do not want anything in a student’s direct line of sight as it will almost definitely pose as a distraction.

Whether it’s the pencil sharpener, class pet, filing cabinet, bookshelves, or anything else, position your desks in such a way that it won’t directly be seen. The only point of focus should be you before the class, or the discussion group if the class is learner-centric.

Consider Line of Sight

Rows and Columns

An arrangement of rows and columns is the most common layout found in most classrooms. It is best suited to a teacher-centric style of education. Desks are placed at even distances from each other, allowing ample space for individual work free from distractions. It encourages productivity but discourages group work and student-centered discussions.

While disruptions are kept to a minimum and the class is made rather simple to supervise, a desk arrangement of rows and columns does allow unmotivated students to be become distracted. This is the best configuration for most presentations and test taking.


A U-shaped configuration of desks is typically the preferred layout for large classrooms involving group work and discussions. The teacher’s desk is placed at a slight angle in the corner of the room facing the class. From its 45° tilt, the teacher can see all of the desks arranged in the shape of a horseshoe.

The desks on the left can see the desks on the right, while those at the back of the class directly face the front. An area to interact with the entire group of learners is created, giving the teacher more than enough scope to provide individual attention as well. Behavior is harder to moderate and shy students won’t work well, but for big groups this is really one of the best ways to organize desks in a classroom.


A clustered layout typically involves the teacher’s desk again being placed in the corner of the front of the class at a slight angle. From its position, the teacher seated behind the desk dead-center can see the entire class at a diagonal angle. Groups of four or more desks are placed together facing each other.

This is a fantastic way to encourage student interaction and a favored layout for small spaces. Teamwork and cooperation are fostered, while children are naturally encouraged to work on their communication skills. This is the preferred layout for learner-centric instruction, but it is harder for a teacher to assess the comprehension level and ability of individual students.

Combination Layouts

Most teachers resort to mixed layouts of the above configurations when faced with a classroom of either learners of varying education levels, or a classroom with a large number of troublesome students. By grouping together students of a similar strength a more productive experience is fostered, while grouping difficult students together makes it far easier to moderate their behavior and minimize the distraction which they pose. When segregated, they will be far less likely to act out.

Arrange Your Classroom for Productivity and Ergonomics

Arrange Your Classroom for Productivity and Ergonomics

There are many ways that you can organize your classroom to stimulate a productive, comfortable learning environment. Studies show that a warm room temperature of between 68 to 77 can improve your accuracy and productivity, while color choice is equally as important. The psychological effect of color greatly influences the learning experience.

For example, green helps learners reach a balanced state while blue stimulates concentration and yellow helps for memory retention and focus. Make sure that there is ample natural light as it will not only create a warm, welcoming ambiance, but also boost mood and focus. In classrooms where there is not much sunlight, opt for artificial lighting which simulates daylight if possible.


Every desk should be arranged according to a left-to-right workflow, while plants need to be within eyeshot of every student. Plants are proven to bolster productivity by up to 15%. While decorations are essential in certain areas, try to keep them to a minimum as even clutter on your walls can shatter a student’s focus.

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