Whether students' seats are arrayed in regimental order or arranged in a collegial circle (see "Rearrange the Desks: Reposition the Students' Seats to Help Retain Their Attention"), the kids who don't hear what the teacher says will get nothing out of class -- and may not even know what they've missed until they're tested.
Today's students have grown up in an age of amplification, whether in the form of the personalized sound delivered from a Walkman or an iPod or in the midst of the roar and rumble of movie-theater sound systems. Time will tell whether we are creating hearing-impaired future generations, but one thing seems undeniable: If kids have to strain to hear a teacher, they may simply tune out, especially students for whom English is a second language.
To make classroom time more effective, and easier on both teachers and students, use an inexpensive set of two or four small speakers and an unobtrusive lapel mike to amplify your lessons. Many affordable wireless options can be found on the Internet or at retail stores like RadioShack. It's time to perk up the ears of even the hardest-to-reach back-row bunch.
Check out these resources for amplification: