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Running head: Flexible Seating

Flexible Seating for Student in General Education Classroom

By:

Candace Calvillo

University of St. Thomas

Jane McCollum

EDUC 6327
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Running head: Flexible Seating

Flexible Seating for Student in General Education Classroom

An educator in the Houston Independent School District and on staff at Texas Southern

University was asked to participate in an interview about flexible seating effectiveness for

students in the general education classroom. The participants name will not be used throughout

this paper. The participant notified me that she has had more than 10 years of experience in the

school environment from the general education, inclusion, resource, and college setting.

Before the interview, the interviewee was asked to be honest and provide any information

based on personal experiences or opinions. She stated that she agreed with the idea of providing

flexible seating for the general education classrooms. She noted that there are several academic,

behavior, and health benefits to implementing flexible seating in the classrooms. She also noted

there are rules that need to be in place in order to have a successful classroom environment for

all students. When asked about her thoughts on teachers implementing flexible seating in the

general education classroom her response was that research supports flexible seating

arrangements as well as flexible small grouping based upon skill taught. Not only does this all

for differentiation in instruction, but keeps the learning environment engaging. She also stated in

regards to this question that the flexible seating helps keep the kids busy and involved with

everything going on. When inquired about possible reasons that teachers would prefer flexible

seating in the general education, the interviewee responded, Teachers can group scholars

according to their level of functioning in various areas of instruction. For example, if a scholar is

strong in compare and contrast but weak in main idea and supporting details he/she shouldnt

necessarily be in the same group for the entire grading period. The grouping and seating should

change based upon the instruction and the scholars areas of strengths and weaknesses. This

response was different than anticipated, it was more directed towards the flexible seating based
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on groups of levels, as we discussed the questions more she responded that flexible seating can

be viewed differently, for this questions she focused on the level grouping but stated that for the

behavior that the flexible seating can keep kids interested by allowing the students to move

around and get the wiggles out it tends to help with their energy level and keeping them focused.

Working in the special education setting we know that kids cannot keep still, she mentioned that

this is the same for the general education classroom, some kids just cannot sit still and as

teachers we need to be able to accept this and create an environment that can accommodate that

need. As the moved through the interview, the question came up about why teachers would NOT

prefer flexible seating and her response was similar to my feelings. She responded that some

teachers may prefer consistency, routine, structure, and predictability for the scholars. Also, some

teachers just might be resistance to change and just may not be willing to try to see the benefits.

Teaches can be stuck in their ways, especially if they have been teachers for years and years, She

mentioned that even herself, it would take time to gather information about it and find the

resources but if it was something that would benefit the students then why not try. Moving

forward, we discussed the benefits to the teacher, students, and classroom of having flexible

seating. She mentioned that yes, there are benefits and those benefits include that the students

need the ability to be in the high group sometimes and not always be in the low group due to

their overall functioning in a particular subject. Also, it builds a team atmosphere and

collaboration. It reinforces the important social skills that are necessary for scholars to learn how

to work with others. Again depending on what type of flexible seating, but I feel that overall

kids obviously work better in an environment of comfort and an environment where they can

adjust the way that they need to make themselves more attentive. She strongly felt that there is

not one way to sit and learn, that some of our scholars prefer the floor or to stand and we need to
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Running head: Flexible Seating

take those considerations when creating our environment. With every positive aspect there are

going to be negative feelings or negative responses to something and with flexible seating the

interviewee stated those fall backs that affected the general teacher, students, and classroom as

perhaps confusion or disorganization when scholars arrive and they are not in the seat they were

in just a week or day ago. Some scholars are resistant to change or may not have the social skills

to make new friends initially. I believe this becomes less of an issue the more the scholars

become accustomed to the flexible seating. At the beginning there could be students that just

want to play with the new options and take advantage of new ways to sit and learn. Usually that

exchanges after a while when it becomes the norm.

Finally, the participate was asked to give her opinions on whether flexible seating

affects students health, academic process, or behavior. She stated, I think flexible seating has a

positive effect on student health. I cant think of a reason it would have a negative impact. As

far as academic progress, it would help because they can perform to their greatest potential being

appropriately grouped. According to the interviewee, behavior issues may be a problem due to

some scholars being far too social and wanting to talk or play with their friends in the class.

This is where setting the rules and expectations in the beginning will come in hand. The

interviewee also closed her statement on this question with stating, Movement keeps their heart

beating and promotes activity which in return helps with concentration and focus. She stated

that with all the positive aspects of flexible seating, the school and teacher will need to do their

part to ensure the idea is successful and not more disruptive or in turn hurt the students.

When reviewing the interviewees statement, they were different than I had expected

or had anticipated for the research. She made me think of flexible seating in a new way then

what I had originally started for this research. With her feedback I was able to take this research
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to a different level and provide more options for flexible seating rather than the tangible objects.

When I started this research topic, my mind was more on the adding of seats or taking away

seats, my interviewee was about the actual grouping and development of the students based on

levels. I am more aware now that this topic can be view differently depending on the perspective

of the researcher. Overall the interviewee provided me with knowledge and opinions that I was

expecting but helped me see my topic of interest in a different light and allowed me to provide

more information for my research.