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  • Writer's pictureSumbella

Shuffling Up for Success: The Benefits of Room Reorganization

Updated: May 3, 2023

🙋🏻‍♀️ I considered some details of #facilitation after a training with the lovely team at #providenceenglishprivateschool in Sharjah today, who are using Cambridge University Press Education resources!

#thankyou for being so gracious and accommodating while we shook up the room together! I so enjoyed this workshop. Haitham Kanaan and Irfan U. 🙏🏼

At the beginning of the workshop, I grappled with this question: Should I abandon trying to reorganise a whole room and large group of participants for a workshop if they’re already comfortably seated?

Because... It is often easier to leave large groups sitting where they are. The hassle of coordinating a move can be akin to herding cats… 🐈

It can be chaotic.🥴

But there have been occasions, like today, where I have worked with a large group, and I spent at least the first 20 minutes or even more (!) reorganising the entire room, the groups, the table layouts.

In these instances, I see it as an investment, a part of #classroommanagement or #environmentmanagement: because it has the subtle effect of easing many facets of the flow of the session activities that follow.

I think there are three benefits to investing time at the beginning of a session rearranging the entire room and assigning shuffled groups in a workshop with large groups:

1️⃣ Participants get to hear a different perspective as opposed to staying with their “comfort” people

2️⃣ Participants understand there may be a different set of expectations that accompanies the change in layout, so they behave differently (usually better, and more engaged)

3️⃣ Participants just feel different! You’ve shuffled their regular layout up. They see things from a slightly different perspective, physically and then metaphorically too.

The downside is, reshuffling groups and moving tables all takes a while. Obviously it’s ideal to be able to assign groups beforehand, but it’s not always possible.

P.S. Why is it so hard to work out tables vs participant numbers on the spot!? Anyone else?! Maybe it’s all the eyes looking at you waiting expectantly for your next move. I did #kumon for years but every time I try to work my table sizes out at the crucial point in organising my room for a training…#fail! 😅

P.P.S. Full disclaimer, the High 5 photos are staged, can you tell? 🤓 Though we did indeed do lots of High 5's, these ones were for the camera 😬🤣💛🙏🏼

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