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Structure the classroom environment

Instructors who move around the classroom while teaching can alter existing power dynamics. You can also engage with students in different physical configurations such as sitting with small groups as students work or moving around the room throughout lectures. 

Flexible spaces with moveable classroom furniture enable students to connect in smaller groups which can create a comfortable, welcoming environment. If you teach in an active learning classroom, you may proactively move desks and chairs into different configurations before class to allow for students to engage differently with one another depending on the activities. 

If students work in small groups, one way to facilitate social connectedness is to assign groups randomly and change them frequently throughout the term, rather than allowing students to form groups themselves. You can preassign groups, ask students to count off into groups of different sizes, or use an online grouping tool, such as this one designed by the Discussion Project.