Classroom Layout In The TEFL Classroom
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There are many factors that need to be considered when planning and carrying out an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) lesson: the content of the lesson, the needs of the learners, the level of the learners, time constraints and timetable fit, just to name a few. But something which is actually quite important is often ignored: classroom layout.
Most teachers probably don’t think twice about the layout of their classroom, but it can actually have a big impact on a classroom activity. Sometimes the success of an activity or game can hinge on something as simple as how the desks are organised in the classroom or where your students are sitting. So, bearing this in mind, here are a few ideas on how to make the layout of your English classroom work for you.
When doing tests, arranging the desks so that each learner has his or her individual space encourages independent working. Usually in a TEFL classroom we encourage communication and working together to foster collaborative learning, so separating the learners for tests or exams will emphasise the fact that each learner needs to work independently.
Arranging the desks so that groups can work together but separately from other groups helps the learners to bond as a group. Physically separating the groups enforces the fact that the groups should work together. If the groups are too close to each other, the feeling of unity within the group won’t be as strong.
When doing a speaking activity, it can be useful to take the desks out of the equation. Useful language can be boarded so that the learners do not need their notebooks for the activity. In this way the seating arrangement will mirror that of a real conversation, instead of being a classroom activity. This will encourage your students to speak more freely, rather than simply following instructions to complete an activity.
Different classroom layout options
The U-shape (semi-circle or horseshoe) is a popular layout for board work and talking; it is also a very friendly layout because the students can easily see and communicate with each other. In the event that the ESL class is large, two U-shapes can be used: thus producing a front and back U-shape.
Some ESL teachers may think that the circle is not an effective classroom layout because with the teacher sitting in the middle of the circle: half the class will be facing the teacher’s back. The fault with this argument is that the teacher doesn’t have to sit in the middle of the circle: the teacher should sit on the circumference along with the students. This arrangement is very effective for games, discussions, and debates: one team can sit on the left of the teacher and the other team on the right.
Nested tables are most appropriate for group work: especially project work. The tables should be pushed together to form continuous square/rectangular surfaces made up of two or four desks, and the students should sit in such a way that they are side on to the front of the classroom.
The great advantage of traditional rows is that a lot of students can be accommodated in a relatively small classroom. If you are forced to use this arrangement, make sure that there is plenty of space to walk between and behind the rows of desks. The only other benefits of this classroom layout are that ‘traditional rows’ facilitate pair work and test/exams can be effectively conducted. It should always be borne in mind: a bad classroom layout can inhibit and frustrate effective learning.
Even though there may be constraints on what you can do to change your classroom layout, sometimes a simple change can have a big impact on the lesson. Besides offering a change of scenery, a seating plan can encourage certain modes of working. So the next time you are planning an activity, consider for a few moments how the seating arrangement in the classroom can be modified to help you accomplish your aims.
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- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by ELEARNING FUTURES LTD but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that ELEARNING FUTURES LTD securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, ELEARNING FUTURES LTD is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the ELEARNING FUTURES LTD.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to ELEARNING FUTURES LTD, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
ELEARNING FUTURES LTD,
21-22 Old Steine,
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.