Classroom distraction diverts students attention and consequently affect their concentration of subjects and activities at hand. According to Meeks, et al. (2013), teachers act of minimizing distractions not only saves students time but also maximizes their learning time while in class. Distractions in the classroom setting in the scenario originate from a wide range of sources. For the case of Leila, her sitting position exposes her to three key distractors namely the trashcan basketball from the two boys behind her, classroom movement and interruptive discussion from students sharing stories about the Civil war and those playing computer games. The first notable distraction upon entering the classroom is the two boys who were playing the trash can basketball game at the back of the classroom near Leilas seating position. It is not only a misbehavior but also a source of interruptive noise that affects Leilas concentration. As the two students throw papers into the trash can mimicking the basketball game, their movements and actions generate a distractive sound that affects Leilas attention and concentration. The choice of movements within the classroom as one of the main distractors to Leilas focus follows Meeks et al. (2013) suggestion that unorderly movements within classroom impair students concentration levels because of associated factors such as squeaking chairs and scrapping the floor as students move. Lastly, discussion about Civil War stories and other playing computer games can reduce Leilas concentration and interest to learn.
The choice of the incorporating computer games as a form of distraction is to capture Gremmen, Yvonne, Segers, and Cillessen (2016) concept of digital distractions as the primary source of classroom distraction in the contemporary classroom setting. Minimizing distractions emanating from the three sources can increase Leilas concentration level. For instance, Gremmen, Yvonne, Segers, and Cillessen (2016) suggest that the non-disruptive movements in class through changing desk environment and seating arrangement promote kinetic learning. In the case of computer games, it is necessary to arrange the room in a way that the reading section is far from the technology station to avoid distraction from screen images and clicking keyboards. As Leila to check on the digital distractions, she devotes a significant amount of time to the issues, but the effect of disturbance remain in her mind. Reduced distractions can make Leila to spend more time on her schoolwork and produce more completed assignments hence satisfying Fernande, Huang, and Rinaldo (2011) suggestion that non-disruptive movements and discussions within the classroom can enhance students focus and the capacities of learning and recall information hence achieve academic success.
Maximizing Instructional Access
Essential instructional materials in the scenario include the teacher, smart board, bookshelf, reading nook, technology station and group table. The two key hindrances to Leilas instructional access are the distance to the instructional area and Leilas location relative to the teachers sitting position. The choice for Leilas position about the instructional area and distance from the teachers sitting position is due to the sitting arrangement in which Leila is in the second last row which exposes her to distraction, inaccessibility and increased distance from the instructional area. For the case of Leilas sitting position, she is far from the instructional areas hence do not have adequate sight and physical access to the teacher and the smart board hence insufficient participation in the learning process. According to Burden (2017), the sitting arrangement in which a student cannot face the instructional area directly makes them lose focus.
Gremmen, Yvonne, Segers, and Cillessen (2016) recommend that the sitting arrangement should be such that the students obtain a clear sight line of the instructional area. Leilas participation, concentration and focus in class are achievable through the rearrangement of her sitting position such that no other student can distract her from seeing the smart board. The second hindrance regarding Leilas position in relative to the location of the teachers desk affects her concentration because she has limited contact and communication with the teacher. Sitting in front and next to the teacher brings students next to the action zone where they can obtain close supervision and focus from the instructor. At the current sitting position, the teacher cannot identify that Leila is losing focus in class hence the need to rearrange the classroom with her sitting position at the center and on the front of the class where the instructor can see her and detect when she is losing focus. Biblically in the parables of pounds in Luke 19: 11-27 and that of the talents in Mathew 25: 14-27, people have different abilities and the teaching method accorded to them should be different (King James Bible, 2017). Furthermore, the scriptures in Roman 14: 1-15 differentiate between the strong and weak, hence the seating arrangement in class should accommodate different learning capacities such as those with sight issues occupying the front seats (King James Bible, 2017).
Maximizing instructional access by removing the two distractions can inspire Leila to complete her assignments on time and dedicate more time on her schoolwork. Reducing the distance between Leila and the teacher as a way of maximizing instructional access enhances her engagement with the teacher who can captivate her hence encouraging Leila to complete daily activities and participation in the lessons. According to Burden (2017), maximizing instructional access enables students to capitalize on learning time. Leilas seating position as a distraction to instructional access because of the increased distance between her and the teaching and the teacher. Leila sitting at the back of the classroom that is being at the second last row in the first cluster of desks exposes her to some distractors such as noises from the typing in the computers keyboards and trash can basketball sounds. Eliminating the distractions as a way of maximizing instructional access means that Leila will pay increased attention to her class work leading to academic success. The rationale behind the suggestion that the current seating position of Leila reduces her engagement results from the fact that she cannot access teachers desk at ease. Meeks et al. (2013) propose that seating arrangement which reduces the distance between the teachers and the students enhances their participation in their learning activities by improving communication and visibility of the teaching board hence promoting exposure to the teachers lessons for increased retention and understanding of the subjects thought.
Matching Desk Arrangement to Instruction
The seat arrangement in the scenario takes the traditional desks cluster which brings the key issue that the students at the front and middles rows benefit more than those at the back. Leila is among those at the back. According to Fernande, Huang, and Rinaldo (2011), there is a discrepancy in the experience obtained by students at the back and those in front of a classroom. Fernande, Huang, and Rinaldo (2011) further cite Burda and Brooks (1996) study in which they suggested that the students who sit in from of the classroom have a higher participation and motivation with better academic results as NachNaff scale demonstrated compared to those who sit at the back. Cluster seating arrangement that the scenario depicted is such that some students such as Leila obstruction from accessing the smart board hence do not promote teacher-student interaction. Therefore the desk arrangement does not support instruction for Leila because the seating arrangement is linear thus carries the disadvantage of not allowing her to have a better view and access to instructional materials especially the teacher. Unlike other nonlinear desks arrangement such as horseshoe, and group pods arrangement, the linear clustering of desks does not encourage student-teacher interaction and makes access to instructional materials and general learning difficulty.
Matching the sitting arrangement to instruction will help Leila to complete her assignment and dedicate more time to her work. The configuration of the room best fits the semi circle seating arrangement in which every student has a clear sight of the instruction zone which is the front of the class. Semi-circle seating arrangement does not sort the type of students to sit in front, but every one occupies a position in which they can see the teacher without obstruction, unlike the linear arrangement that disadvantages those sitting at the back. Matching the seating arrangement with Leilas learning needs will encourage her to be dedicated to her work by maximizing the communication with the instructor as the semi-circle sitting setup emphasizes on direct eye-to-eye contact with the teachers as they disseminate information. Gremmen, Yvonne, Segers, and Cillessen (2016) supports this by saying that effective communication and interaction between students and educators favor students at the middle and front rows of the classroom. Therefore, rearranging the room in a semi-circle format will bring all the students in front hence increasing commitment, concentration and focus on the information the teacher disseminate. Consequently, students such as Leila will be active in all lesson hence can dedicate more time in her assignment as the sitting position fully engage her with the teacher. She will also have improved access to instructional resources such as the teachers.
Burden, P. (2017). Creating a Successful K-12 Learning Community (sixth edition). Kansas: Kansas State University.
Fernande, A. C., Huang, J., & Rinaldo, V. (2011). Does Where A Student Sits Matter? The Impact of Seating Locations on Student Classroom Learning. International Journal of Applied Environmental Sciences, 10(1): 66-75.
Gremmen, M. C., Yvonne, H. M., Segers, E., & Cillessen, H. A. (2016). Considerations for classroom seating arrangements and the role of teacher characteristics and beliefs. Social Psychology of Education Journal, 19:749774.
KingJamesBible. (2017). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/. Retrieved from King James Bible Online: https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/
Meeks, M. D., Knotts, T. L., James, K. D., Williams, F., Vassar, J. A., & Wren, A. O. (2013). The Impact of Seating Location and Seating Type on Student Performance. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 3 (1): 375-386.
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