Class arrangement and leadership

There are various options for arranging the tables and chairs in a classroom relative to the place where the teacher is. The classic bus layout (three double columns in five rows) makes it easier for a teacher to take and maintain his position as a leader. In the classic bus setup, all students can see the teacher's facial expression and body posture. They can only see each other's expressions if they make an effort; for example by turning around. If students have to work individually, such as when taking a test, this is easy to organize in a bus setup. If students have to work together in a group, this can also be arranged quickly and easily in this setup. A disadvantage of this arrangement is that the students on the back benches can see the teacher less easily and, conversely, the teacher also has less view of what is happening in the back rows. Finally, a teacher in a bus setup has more options than in other setups to influence the emotions in the group, for example by moving students. In a so-called U-shape or double U-shape, all students have an equal view of the teacher and the teacher of them. However, students can now look at each other without extra effort. This means that a teacher who has difficulty asserting his emotional leadership is more likely to have a student take over his role. This arrangement requires much more sliding of tables and chairs to allow students to work individually or collaborate. Moving students also has less effect. A group arrangement makes it even more difficult for a teacher to confirm his leadership. Students do not look at the teacher, but at each other. Some students now have to make an effort to see the teacher. They have to turn their chair around. This is a disadvantage for a teacher who has difficulty confirming his position as an emotional leader. Normally, in addition to being the formal leader, a teacher is also the actual leader. He decides when the lesson really starts and is the first to speak. He is in control. If a teacher is not the true leader, some students in the class will not accept his leadership. The informal leaders are quick to reveal what the actual ranking is. A new teacher is always tried out. Trying this out is nothing more than determining who is the real leader in this class, the teacher or one or more of the students. It is therefore very important for a teacher to be aware of the opportunities that a particular classroom setup offers him to turn his formal leadership into real leadership in the group.