Some of the strangest debates or memes about education that pop up now and then are about the idea of students sitting in rows. You don’t have to look too far to find people aligning this commonplace desk configuration along the axis of evil. Only recently I came across a tweet that mentioned children sitting in rows in a list of features of modern schooling that included compliant, submissive…. It’s just the weirdest thing. But it’s not uncommon. Sitting rows = factory schooling, 19th C, Gradgrindian, ‘Victorian’ – all intended as pejoratives.
Here’s the thing: sitting is rows is great because YOU CAN SEE EVERYONE’S FACE AT THE SAME TIME. The reason classrooms are very often configured in this way is not because schools are old fashioned. It is because this very sensible, very human set-up has stood the test of time. And it always will.
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