Re-Organizing Primary Classroom Learning

Re-Organizing Primary Classroom Learning

Re-Organizing Primary Classroom Learning

Re-Organizing Primary Classroom Learning


"This easily accessible book is likely to influence the practice of any teacher reading it, whether or not their pupils are already experienced at shifting the furniture!" Primary Practice Classroom organization plays a greater role in children's learning than is generally recognized. Moreover, research studies of primary teaching have repeatedly shown that the way classrooms are usually organized makes learning unnecessarily difficult for most children. Re-organizing Primary Classroom Learning explains the evidence that should prompt primary schools to think again about the contexts in which children are expected to concentrate and learn.

New ways of arranging classrooms are illustrated through case studies of teachers who take a flexible and strategic approach to the organization of learning. These demonstrate how children's attention and behaviour can benefit from creating a better match between working contexts and tasks. Suggestions and resources are provided to help teachers review how they and their children work, and to plan and evaluate ways of using their classrooms more effectively to support learning.

Re-organizing Primary Classroom Learning is written for primary teachers and headteachers who are curious and keen to improve the quality of children's learning and progress. It raises fundamental questions about accepted practice and offers realistic alternatives and encouragement to innovate.


This is a book about the organization of primary classrooms. In fact, at its simplest, it is a book about classroom furniture, about how tables and chairs are arranged. Expressed like this, it hardly seems a topic warranting a modest leaflet, let alone a book. Why on earth would such a seemingly marginal and trivial issue as the arrangement of furniture in primary school classrooms be worth a publisher’s investment, our time in writing and, perhaps of more immediate interest to you, your time in reading a whole book about it?

Our answer to this question lies in the fact that the conditions in which we ask children to work in primary school classrooms have a significant and generally unrecognized influence on their attention and learning. More than this, our argument is that the orthodox practice, especially in England but also elsewhere, of young children sitting in groups around tables makes learning unnecessarily difficult for much of the time. In other words, our case is that the way we expect children to sit in schools makes a real difference to their learning. Consequently, our superficially improbable thesis is that the arrangement of classroom furniture is not a marginal or trivial issue because it affects children’s daily experience, learning and attainment throughout their primary school careers and has consequences that endure well beyond those early years.

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