For the past few years at the beginning of the school year, I’ve watched many teachers share photos of their deskless classrooms, and this year I finally gave it a try. At first a deskless classroom sounds gimmicky so I never really wanted to try it. I never gave it serious thought until this summer when teaching in a non-traditional language learning environment. I realized that we were deskless (and often wall-less), and that being deskless aligned with our goals of facilitating more interpersonal communication.
I didn’t go entirely deskless because I still need the tables. For now, they’re pushed off to the sides, and the chairs are in a big circle. In the first few days of school, I noticed that when we’re sitting in a big circle and no one is hiding behind a table, it’s easier for me to see who’s paying attention and who needs a boost. I don’t think people stop paying attention on purpose. Sometimes it’s hard to listen in another language and easy to get distracted by one’s own thoughts (it’s totally happened to me). We’ve haven’t done mingle or small group activities yet, but when we get to them, I’m hoping that with the tables pushed aside it will be easier to move the chairs around for different types of activities.