Reduced Learner Involvement Configurations with Tables

Classroom Style Seating (with Tables)

Setup

Start with the first row of tables approximately 6-8 feet from the trainer or facilitator. Place chairs facing the front of the room with approximately 2 feet between each participant. If the room permits, offset each table so each participant has a line of sight between the two participants in front of him or her. Round or rectangular tables can be used (Figure 5.1).

Maximum no. of participants

Twenty-four. This number can increase or decrease, depending on room size, shape, and the setup of tables (see Variations).

FIGURE 5-1. Classroom style seating (with tables, using overhead projector) Variations: "V," fishbone, or chevron style seating (with tables).

Advantages

Provides writing surfaces for all participants. Participants can view the trainer and audiovisual aids. Adds structure and control for the trainer. Facilitates eye-to-eye contact between the trainer and learners.

Disadvantages

Very formal

Can conjure up images of early school years for some participants.

Reduces interaction between the trainer and participants and also among participants.

Physical barriers exist between trainer and participants and between participants. This can subconsciously impact trust and possibly communication.

FIGURE 5-2. "V", Fishbone, or chevron style seating (with tables, using overhead projector)

Can promote a more passive "I talk; you listen" mentality among participants.

Can create a challenge for people with physical disabilities unless accommodations are planned.

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