Corners: Getting Students out of Their Chairs

AITSL STANDARD: 3.3 – Use teaching strategies

Select and use relevant teaching strategies to develop knowledge, skills, problem solving and critical and creative thinking.

The Situation

You want to create positive discussion with your students in a collaborative setting.

The Solution

Using the space of the classroom is a healthy way to shake up your normal routine in the classroom. Corners is a classic teaching strategy that you can use to elicit healthy discussion about topics that you’re exploring. Here is what you do:

  1. Firstly, you print/record “agree”, “disagree”, “strongly agree” and “strongly disagree”.
  2. Afterwards, ask students a topical question that they can respond to.
  3. Students move to the designated area of the room.
  4. From here, discuss why they chose to stand in their designated area. Remember to encourage students to only stand in the area that they feel can be justified – following friends will not help! They need to provide explanation and detail.

There are a number of different types of questions you could ask students. Controversial illicit strong and interesting conversations. Here are some classics that students have strong opinions about:

  • Mobile phones are an essential tool for learning.
  • School uniforms are a necessary expectation in the classroom.
  • Schools should have a pet mascot.
  • School should start latter/earlier in the day.
  • Homework should be banned.

Check out this video for some more information:

A spin on the Corners activity may not actually involve agreeing or disagreeing. Instead, have a topic that students can respond to and discuss in small groups. Consider the following questions for an Inside Out film study:

  1. Have students split into small groups and spend 2-3 minutes discussing the topic.
  2. After their discussion, allow them to return to their tables and share what was discussed in the first group. From here, students can compare answers and identify and similarities or differences in their answers.
  3. Discuss and explore this as a class. Such discussions can allow new insights into topics that might appear surface level.

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