Thinking on their feet: standing desks in the classroom
Fidgeting and restless students can disrupt a classroom and impede learning. You can picture it, and, in fact, you’ve probably even been that kid at some point in the past. Slumped in his chair, he’s bored, disengaged, and tired. It’s only 1:30pm, and he knows there’s still two whole hours left of his school day.
Much like a call centre or any other workplace where multiple people routinely use desks during each workday, the ability to adjust heights to exact precisions is what makes electric height adjustable desks so versatile and useful.
Standing desks in the classroom have revolutionised the way students learn, participate, and work. It’s also one method designed to help combat childhood obesity, and promote a more active and engaged learning arena.
Schools using standing desks
It’s so pleasing to hear news stories of schools all around the world introducing standing desks into their classrooms. Even more pleasing is that Australian schools appear to be some of the leaders! Here are a few stories from the past few years:
This article, from July 2014, refers to four Catholic schools in Perth who offered standing desks as an alternative to students sitting too long in class. One of the school’s principals said his students were encouraged to move every 20 minutes to ensure they are not in the same position for too long.
Research conducted by A&M found that three Texan elementary schools who offered standing desks to 480 of their students increased activity and resulted in students burning 15% more calories than a control group that used regular sitting desks.
The leading catalyst in the growing trend of height adjustable desks at school, Mont Albert Primary School’s Grade 6 became the world’s first “standing classroom”. Research undertaken by Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute will determine whether being upright can improve students’ health, fitness, learning, and memory.
Outstanding pupils! Primary school becomes first in Europe to introduce desks allowing children to stand up while working in bid to improve concentration and health:
Nine- and ten-year-old students from a primary school in Bradford, a city in Northern England, became the first students in Europe to use standing desks in their classrooms. Teachers reported students appeared more alert and concentration was improved.
Stand up, and then sit down!
…And then stand again, and then sit again. This consistent adjustment between sitting and standing throughout the workday (or rather, school day!) is where you will really begin to reap the benefits associated with a height adjustable desk. It provides idleness among students and can also positively impact their learning.
Sitting still is against children’s nature, and it’s the adults that are telling them to be sedentary by teaching them in an environment where this behaviour is praised.
It’s OK to sit
This is something that can sometimes be tough to translate. While you’re investing into a healthier future with a standing desk, it does not mean you’re expected to stand all day. In fact, that’s one of the worst things you could do, along with sitting all day.
Poor chairs. They’ve become the victim here, and those without the proper information are trading in their office chair for a standing desk – permanently. And that can be just as bad for our health as sitting all day. Instead, you should be avoiding a static position, and a static position could involve either sitting OR standing.
The growing presence of standing desks in the classroom forces us to rethink traditional classroom design and opens our minds into implementing methods that can help reduce boredom and fatigue, and increase engagement, participation, and a more productive student body.
Do you know a classroom that could benefit from standing desks for its students? Share this post using the links below. If you want to chat with an Ergonomics expert, please contact us today.