Across the nation, schools are experimenting with a new concept: the stand-up desk. Kids are opening their books and learning their geography, algebra and social studies as they lean against these cool, adjustable stands.
And fidgeting is encouraged! Because we all learn in different ways, educators are making a real effort to think outside of the box.
As Dr. Mhaire Fraser, Professor of Psychology, Women’s Studies and Education, at DeAnza College in Cupertino, California, says, “I see it all the time in schools – it works pretty well in both adults and children.”
Great To See A Lot Less Sitting And More Doing
“I think we have to,” says Larry Sparks, assistant principal at Roaring Brook Elementary School in Avon. “It would be great to see a lot less sitting and more doing.”
These innovative desks have been placed in several of his classrooms. But ideas like this require our kids’ mentors to teach in a new way rather than adhere to the “be still” mindset.
“Teachers have to understand that their objective is not to get them to sit but to achieve,” says Sparks. “For the kids, if they can improve their concentration while standing, all the better.”
He believes children listen, process and understand information in many different ways. He likens this to how we all like to curl up with a good book in our own individual style: “Some readers want to be prone on their belly!”
Stand-up desks are gaining momentum for several reasons. First, with obesity rates on the rise and gym classes being slashed because of budget cuts, standing rather than sitting makes some sense.
Too Much Sitting Can Be Very, Very Bad For Your Health
As Care2′s Kristina Chew wrote here earlier this year, too much sitting can be very, very bad for your health.
And as a high school teacher, I know that some students just need to move around more than others. Plenty of experts believe that some kids simply learn better in non-traditional ways, which include the kinesthetic mode, or physical activity.
I Can’t Stop Raving About My Stand-Up Desk!
And so, as The New York Times reported last year:
Enter the standing desk. In the last few years, many office supply companies have begun to sell desks that are tall enough to put your computer screen at eye level while you’re standing. But I was wary of furniture that required me to stand all the time; these desks seemed to enforce a rigidity that’s unseemly outside of a Navy brig.
I needed something more flexible. Then I discovered the adjustable-height desk. These so-called “sit/stand” models are equipped with an electric motor that lets them shift from chair height to person height at the push of a button. Unfortunately, they’re regarded as specialty furniture. Sit/stand desks tend to be expensive, hard to find and not very easy to test in person. That’s too bad. I got my hands on an adjustable-height desk a few weeks ago, and I can’t stop raving about it.
Let’s hear it for stand-up desks!
Photo Credit: kelly cree via Creative Commons