Flexible Seating Pros and Cons: What to consider BEFORE you get started

The first day I brought yoga balls into my classroom, I thought I was going to throw up. It wasn’t nerves that threw me for a loop but the constant sway and gentle bouncing that led to what I can only describe as motion sickness. Thankfully this passed within a few days, but it was something I hadn’t considered before implementing flexible seating. Today I am going to share some flexible seating pros and cons and a few things to consider before you decide if it’s right for you.

flexible seating pros and cons and implementation considerations
Flexible Seating Pros and Cons: What to consider BEFORE you get started 4

Pros and Cons of Flexible Seating

If you’re trying to figure out whether this change might be the right choice for your classroom, it is important to understand the flexible seating pros and cons. Here are just a few of each to help you get started making your list.

Pros of Flexible Seating

  • Offers options for learners who might need more opportunities for movement
  • Creates a less sterile/homier learning environment
  • Increase focus and student engagement
  • Promotes collaboration through easier opportunities to move around and work in different groupings

Cons of Flexible Seating

  • Can become costly – often schools don’t offer this to teachers so it comes from their pockets
  • Potential for increased noise levels and distractions.
  • Can make classroom more difficult to manage for teachers without strong classroom management
  • Potential for unequal access to preferred seating options
  • Challenges in accommodating students with specific seating needs or preferences.

Things to Consider Before You Implement Flexible Seating

With the rapid rise of flexible seating, it is important to be sure you’ve got a clear plan and you’ve weighed the pros and cons before jumping in.┬áHere are a few important things to consider before you take the plunge.

Your Personality

This one seems obvious, but it is often overlooked. When you think about flexible seating, you also need to think about your own personality and teaching style. Flexible seating is not designed to be rigid and one-size-fits-all. In order for it to work, you’ve got to be willing to go with the flow a little bit more than a traditional classroom set up. You’ve also got to recognize that you won’t be able to rearrange your classroom as a management strategy to address issues like talking. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Will the unconventional set up rattle your nerves or appeal to you?
  • How will it affect your teaching style?
  • Are you comfortable with the choices you’re considering?
  • How rigid is your expectation for behavior?

Lesson Planning & Instruction

In a flexible seating classroom, you may not have a large space where everyone can easily come together at the same level…like on the floor. As a result, you need to consider how your whole group lessons will work. You also need to have a plan for special circumstances, like testing or science experiments. If you’ve already embarked on your flexible seating journey, you might be noticing some areas that need adjustment. Ask yourself these questions to help create a solid plan for meshing your instructional style with your new seating:

  • How will I conduct whole-group lessons?
  • If you have a projector- Do I have spaces set up where everyone can see the screen?
  • How will I monitor note-taking?
  • What will testing look like? Do I need any extra supplies (like privacy dividers)?
  • Is there a space that is “off-limits” for students – where I will conduct small group lessons or other things?
  • Where will students keep their things? How can I ensure instructional time isn’t lost on getting these?

Administrator & Parent Support

It’s important to be sure that parents and your administrators are on board before you leap into flexible seating. If you’ve been trying it out, you probably already have a good idea about how your parents and principal feel about it.

  • implementing-flexible-seatingWill your administrators support your decision? Do they have any non-negotiables?
  • How will you address parent concerns?
  • What will you do if a parent or child does not like the new classroom environment?
  • How will you educate parents and administrators about the rules, procedures, and expectations?
  • Will your administrators be willing to help fund flexible seating resources…or replace ones as needed?

Creating your plan

Once you’ve considered all these things, you’ll have a better idea about your next steps. If you decide flexible seating is for you, you can begin to make a flexible seating plan for your classroom that takes into account your personality, instructional needs, and the preferences of your parents and administrators.

Want to know more about getting started? Not even sure what flexible seating is? Check out my Getting Started post to learn more.


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