STORIES OF SUCCESS: TEACHERS USING FLEXIBLE SEATING INSTEAD OF DESKS

Stories Of Success

In our series “Stories of Success” with the Tuscaloosa City Schools System, WVUA 23’s Jabaree Prewitt takes a closer look at the success of the summer enrichment program.

Flexible seating. Several teachers at Huntington Place Elementary School came up with the idea to relax students and help increase their involvement in the classroom. Some classrooms in the school don’t look like what you would expect, because there are no classroom desks.

When WVUA 23’s Jabaree Prewitt stopped by, students in Amber Barton’s fourth grade class were taking a test. Kali Davis, a fourth grader at Huntington Place Elementary School, said she thought she did well on the test because she was comfortable where she was sitting.

“So, you get to come into the classroom and you get to choose where you wanna sit and where you work best,” said Davis.

Stories of Success

Amber Barton, a fourth grade teacher at Huntington Place, said that she has never used the conventional classroom desks. Growing up, Barton struggled to be still and pay attention in class, so when she became a teacher, she wanted to create a different atmosphere for her students.

Her goal was to make the classroom comfortable for her students while keeping them engaged and excited to be in class. So, she came up with the idea of flexible seating.

“We have couches,” said Barton. “We have tables, we have booths, we have cushions on the floor and kids are able to come in and choose anywhere they would like to sit. They can sit with their friends or they can choose to sit by themselves and I’ve really seen it be successful in my classroom. I’ve seen a lot of improvements and engagement and the students feel empowered when they come in the room knowing they have a choice in their learning that day.”

Another teacher across the hall, Meredith Letts, a teacher at Huntington Place, has taken the same approach. The twenty-year teacher said she wanted her classroom to be conducive to learning while also making her students feel comfortable.

“What’s more comfortable than your kitchen table and chairs to learn,” said Lett. “It also just encourages the kids to collaborate and talk with one another.”

At first, Lett said she was worried about distractions in the classroom. However, she said it wasn’t much of a problem as the new classroom style mimicked environments that students have at home.

Mieko Lindsey, a fourth grader at Huntington Place, said that she loves the idea of flexible seating. She said it has proven to be positive for her and helps her in class.

“When you had the desks, you know, you’re like all tired out, you couldn’t really like think,” said Lindsey. “But now, like you can have your table-mates and talk and they can give you ideas and you can give them ideas.”

Three of the classrooms at Huntington Place have been transformed for flexible seating. The school administrators said they are on board with all of their teachers moving to flexible seating.

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