ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Freedom vs. structure- debating assigned seating


Max Pasternak

Each teacher is allowed to make decisions on how they want their class to be structured: the way the lesson plan should go, how the desks are arranged and more. But, when it comes to assigned seats, there are only two choices.


Teachers choose to assign seats because they feel that it will lead to less distraction in class, and the ability for students to be on task and pay attention to the lesson. Teachers tend to feel that if students sit near their friends, they will be chatting the entire class instead of focusing on the actual content. Other teachers think it is better to let students pick their own seats. The reason for doing this is to make the students feel more comfortable with who they are surrounded by.


Pro (Assigned Seats): One positive aspect of having assigned seats is the chance to meet new people and branch out from the friends you are always with. It is nice to be seated next to someone you barely know, or may not know at all, and quickly become friends. Additionally, if students are seated next to someone that you do not know as well, it is easier to be less distracted and tempted to talk during class.


Con (Assigned Seats): Having assigned seats may put you at a disadvantage for seeing the board, or it could put you next to someone who is not the ideal neighbor. If you have vision or hearing problems, your teacher would definitely be more lenient about moving you to the front, but for others who just get stuck with an unlucky seat it is not as easy. This could be a problem when teachers are lecturing because you may not be able to see everything you need to. Also you could end up being stuck sitting next to someone who you wish you could move away from. It sucks when the person next to you cheats off of you, does not mind your personal space or does any other habits you may find annoying. “I would rather have free seating because I like having the option to pick my own seat, so I can pay attention in class,” senior Zack Lechner said.


Pro (Unassigned Seats): With unassigned seats, you have the ability to more freely communicate with the people around you. Sometimes when group work is required in class, the teacher will allow you to work with one other person, sometimes more, but they usually have to be right next to you. Working with someone else could be awkward sometimes because you do not want to seem dumb or be afraid to ask questions. Having the ability to choose where you sit allows students to be more comfortable with the people they work with and not be afraid to ask for help. “Having free seating is definitely the better choice because you can stay on task, but also be able to talk to your friends when you have time,” senior Jenna Traub said.

Con (Unassigned Seats): A negative aspect of having assigned seats is that some people may feel left out. When you have free seating, everyone who has friends in the class tend to sit together. But, there are some people who have no friends in the class and end up having to sit by themselves or with people they don’t know at all. People agree that “having free seating actually puts people at a disadvantage because personally, I would rather branch out and meet new people,” senior Gabi Menconi said.


Rachel Berman

Staff Writer