We kept setting up the junior high youth group room as a circle of chairs. We did this because we want to facilitate community and connection among our students, and because we don’t want youth group to feel like a school classroom.
We kept having trouble with the junior high youth group. Disruptions were constant. A small group of students simply could not stop talking to one another, talking over their peers, talking, talking, talking.
We changed the circle of chairs into a setup with tables, and though the talking did not stop, it was limited to the peers at the table, and it was directed to the activity we wanted the students working on.
The way a room is set up has a direct effect on the kind of community we can achieve in that space. And sometimes too much connection is a barrier to community.