These are the words of a student in Ms. Sophie's class, following the implementation of "flexible seating" in her class. She tells us.

Text by Sophie Dunn, teacher of 3e year of primary school, Beaubois College

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Write an article on the flexible class…. Phew… where to start… It seems that my enthusiasm is contagious so I'm going!

First, what is the flexible class? It is a place where students are encouraged to adopt different positions during the day such as walking, lying on the floor, moving, sitting against a wall, standing, etc.

I've been living the flexible class for only a few months, but I had already made several changes in my class last year.

A large group of students asking

My group of 28 students in the third year of elementary school was very demanding and thanks to them (yes yes, THANKS to them !!) I had to question myself. Not always easy to do, but it was essential to our survival!

There were many questions, but one that came up often was:

Why was I putting so much time and energy into disciplining several of my students? The majority of my interventions were made with the students who spent their day standing, walking around in class, getting up to go and discussing with friends, being badly seated, rocking in their chair. I exhausted myself telling them to sit down properly, shut up, and stop moving. I was ending my days frustrated and empty! I also found it a shame that my students who were always serious and about their business constantly hear me bitch. They deserved to have a good day and so did I!

Skeptical at first, my instinct told me to try ...

I began to search and read articles, each more redundant than the next. Then, I came across an article which extolled the merits of "flexible seating". I'll admit that I was very skeptical. I still come from the old school where each student has his desk, his chair, his world. But obviously it wasn't working with my group.

I couldn't shake all my beliefs with the back of my hand, but my gut told me to try. So I decided to add a coffee table and put some cushions on the floor. I set up this table in the middle of the classroom. I also cleared a long table that was used for plastic arts and I proudly announced that from now on, this table would only be used by students who wanted to work standing up. I took the time to present the tables and their usefulness to the students.

I soon had to establish rules since these changes (novelty, you might say!) Were extremely popular. Initially, I intended to invite (target) students who could benefit from these new arrangements. However, I quickly realized that I didn't need to get involved! The students who needed it knew it, felt it. So I decided to hand over this responsibility to them. By doing so, I made them responsible for their learning.

My interventions decreased enormously and I was able to focus on the positive! Pleasure and pride could be read on their faces (and mine!).

Following the first success, I presented a complete plan to my management

Encouraged by this mini success, I began to research the different seats and tables available on the market. There is a whole world to discover! I also read the comments and suggestions of teachers in the group " Flexible planning - organization, management and teaching »On Facebook (a mine of little treasures, photos, practical advice and problems encountered!).

I proposed a detailed plan to my management and they supported my project. It was with a bit of courage and a good dose of humility that I started. The desks have been replaced by work tables, boards and cabarets. As for conventional chairs, they were swapped for chairs on wheels, swinging benches, stools, "bean bags", rocking chairs, benches and a carpet! On some tables, it is possible to write as on a whiteboard. I also have a table that adjusts in height for students who wish to work standing.

This year, my students choose for themselves where they want to sit and this, every morning. They have to make wise choices and if, during the period, they realize that they did not make the right choice, they can change places at any time (which they do regularly). In addition, seat changes are planned during the day. Obviously, I also reserve the right to move them if I judge that the students are not giving the best of themselves.

My classroom functioning has completely changed. My students are much more independent and responsible. By helping them to become master of their learning, I become a teacher / guide. And I love this role. I realized that the more I let go and that I made the student responsible, the more he felt concerned by his learning. He was getting more involved and more motivated.

Not for those who fear being destabilized… whatever…!

Should all teachers adhere to this new concept? In my humble opinion, no. This way of working cannot be imposed on anyone. The stake is too important (as much for the pupil as the teacher). A teacher must have made a good examination of conscience and know why he / she would want to embark (or not) on this adventure. These changes can be overwhelming. For me, however, this is exactly what I needed!

I would not go back and I am proud of the work I do every day. Several small adjustments were necessary at the start of the school year and I had to question myself on a daily basis. And that's good! I am so happy to be in my class every morning!

All the students will benefit from it because all the students have challenges to overcome. All. Mutual assistance is put forward and facilitated by the physical layout of the premises. The student can no longer live in his little world, he must share it with others ... a beautiful lesson in life ...

"Madame Sophie, I'm so good in my class…"

Recently, one of my students said to me: "Madame Sophie, I am so well in my class, I feel at home". It says a lot about his well-being and his state of mind. I believe that for a student to be willing to learn, he must be well. Mission accomplished.

Obviously, classroom furniture does not solve all the problems related to learning and behavior, I am very aware of this, but I believe that it is important to rethink our teaching methods. How to physically organize our classroom space is only one aspect to explore.

The world of education is changing. Each of us is free to follow our instincts and our convictions.