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When I announced the opening of my Feng Shui consultancy, one of my son's class teachers asked if I would like to try out some feng shui in the classroom. "Yes please!" was my answer. I suggested to her that we could sit all students so each faced his/her best direction for studying and - needless to say - she liked that idea very much.

There were 17 children in the class. From their dates of birth I compiled a table listing each child and the teacher, showing their four good and four bad directions. Generally, for children the best direction is the "Personal Growth" direction whereas for adults it is the "Wealth and Success" or "Sheng Chi" direction.

students in classroom

In this class, the Personal Growth directions were as follows:

WEST - 3 children
NW - 2 children
NE - 7 children
SOUTH - 5 children.

classroom i

The blackboard was in the NE direction so for seven children the positioning was very easy.

The three West children were joined with the two NW children so they could face forward. NW is their Sheng Chi (Wealth/Success) direction, so also very good.

The five South children were given seats facing East, again their Sheng Chi direction, for the same reason. Their tables were now at a diagonal.

Originally, the classroom had a fairly typical layout of three groups of four tables and one group of six tables joined together, all evenly distributed across the classroom. Now, with the best possible facing direction of each child in mind, the classroom setup looked as follows (see drawing on the right):

I also angled the teacher's desk slightly to the left to ensure she was always facing SW, her Success direction.

The children thought the new setup was "weird", especially the diagonal tables, but we did not tell them the reason for the change.

Six weeks later ...

... I asked the teacher for an update. Here is what she said:

"What I have noticed is that they are much chattier and less focused as a group. They have a lot more to say but not necessarily about the work at hand. This is particularly noticeable in the boys' group at the back. However, this could be to do with the excitement of the last unit (note for the reader: the class was putting together a performance) and then difficulty getting settled to more structured lessons in this unit???

The group at the side of me appear to be working much better (the ones at a diagonal). Three of the boys in that group are much more willing to get stuck in than they were before.

The group of girls at the side I wouldn't say I have noticed much change."

So there was definitely SOME success. Excellent! Now it just needed a bit of fine-tuning.classroom ii

I looked at the children's birth dates again and at the table of directions. All children were born in the year 2000 or 2001, so they are Dragons and Snakes respectively. Maybe it would work better if we sat some of the children according to their animal direction, being SE1 for the Dragons and SE3 for the Snakes.

I had another meeting with the teacher. It turned out that all the "chatty" boys at the back were Snakes, so we decided to break up the row of girls' tables on the side into three and two and move five of the Snake boys to sit opposite them - the boys now facing SE3, girls still facing NW. Lastly, two students who had been working well were left together, both still facing their Personal Growth direction NE.

At the end of the school year ...

... we had a final review: The group of boys at the diagonal tables was still a success - two had always been conscientious students and the other three were still working a lot better than at the beginning. Out of the five Snake boys that had been moved three were now working better, and even two of the (shyer) girls were now trying harder and showing more confidence.

I think the teacher summed up the success of this experiment quite nicely:

"As a scientifically minded person I was rather skeptical about Feng Shui but enjoyed being part of this experiment. After several seating modifications I did find that the students who were less likely to focus and settle to their work had a more determined attitude with increased output. Whether this was to do with Feng Shui, a change of topic or maturity, I don't know. I was just happy to get a more settled environment where the students worked harder. The angles of the tables took a little getting used to but the students were very positive about the arrangement although were unaware why they were positioned this way. I was happy to know that my desk had always been positioned for success and it is very unlikely that I will be changing it during the course of my career. Looks like I may have lost a little of the skepticism!"