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Seat assignments drive friendships among elementary school children

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  • 1 min read

Most teachers focus on academic considerations when assigning seats. A new study is the first to show that these classroom seat assignments also have important implications for children’s friendships and the enormous influence that teachers wield over the interpersonal lives of children. Friendships reflect classroom seat assignments. Students sitting next to or nearby one another were more likely to be friends with one another than students seated elsewhere in the classroom. Moreover, longitudinal analyses showed that classroom seating proximity was associated with the formation of new friendships. After seat assignments changed, students were more likely to become friends with newly near-seated classmates than with those who remained or became seated farther away.

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