If you’re a child of the ’90s or earlier, you grew up in what would be considered a “traditional classroom.” Students sat in desks (some with the chair attached) that were arranged in rows, facing the front of the room, and the teacher wrote on a green or black chalkboard. Students were expected to be able to sit still and be quiet for long periods of time, and teachers usually only allowed one student at a time to leave the classroom to go to the bathroom or get a drink of water. Some teachers only allowed breaks during a certain time of the day.
Modern classrooms, however, have turned the typical classroom layout around, and today more teachers encourage students to move around throughout the school day.
Classroom Layouts Today
Classrooms today are designed with learning pods, or areas where specific lessons can be taught. This arrangement allows for independent learning, and provides flexibility and movement in the classroom. The new layout also requires schools to have to think about the types of classroom desks, tables and school chairs that best suit the layout. Companies today have created new school chair and desk designs to allow for “healthy movement.”
Why Increase Movement in the Classroom
Recent research suggests that increased movement throughout the day helps increase students focus, and more movement helps reduce anxiety and leads to feelings of calmness. It has also been shown to improve balance and coordination – especially when the movements are rhythmic or a swaying type motion.
You may be thinking, “If students have school chairs that allow them to move all the time, won’t they be even more disruptive?” Actually, the answer to that is no. Students are already moving, fidgeting, getting up out of their seats, and generally crave movement to stay awake and alert. Students tend to tilt their chair on two legs, lean forward, or sit on their legs. Some students can go through this full range of seating positions in a normal 40 minute class. So, obviously students are already moving and being active.
The Benefits of Promoting Healthy Movement
When students are introduced to school furniture that promotes healthy movement, within about two weeks they tend to only move as much as needed to be comfortable. They also show more of an ability to stay seated and cause less disruption. Interestingly, other studies have shown that about 70% of students prefer the dynamic school chairs. The study also showed that there were benefits to students diagnosed as ADHD, Oppositional Defiant, and other behavior disorders.
It’s hard to find any real negatives to letting students have healthy movement throughout the day. In a lot of instances teachers feel they need to resort to kicking a student out of class for being “disruptive” when all the kid simply needed was the ability to move around a bit. There may not be any simpler solution for the majority of these students than to invest in school chairs and furniture that will give students better access to dynamic movement.
- License: Image author owned
Jillian Johnson is a professional content marketing writer and blogger with a particular interest in writing about health and fitness. To read more writing by Jillian, follow her @MissWritey.