We here at Human Solution have told you innumerable times about the detriments all-day sitting in an office environment can have on your focus and energy, as well as your health. As CNN points out in a recent article, though, we have neglected a segment of the population for which sitting still all day isn’t just the norm, it’s considered by many to be necessary for success: students.
In her article “Why Do We Make Students Sit Still in Class?”, Art Professor Carolina Blatt-Gross questions the mentality that a child should sit quietly and still for the duration of the school day, and that those who do not conform are in need of discipline for their lack of concentration. If anything, she points out, this forces students to waste energy trying to conform to these restrictions on their natural state of movement – energy that could be spent learning. Forcing children to sit still and quiet can have the reverse of the intended effect, leading children’s minds to wander because of their lack of physical engagement.
Because we’re so hard-wired to believe that sitting still and quiet means a student is well disciplined, you’re probably picturing an alternately chaotic classroom where the kids run around screaming and never learn. Of course, there needs to be a learned sense of control, but certainly there is a happy medium between sitting still and quiet and classroom anarchy.
This is especially important considering so many of the usual outlets for a child’s physical activity, such as recess and physical education, are being phased out due to a recent focus on more standardized, testable results in the classroom. This makes incorporating movement and activity in the regular classroom even more of a necessity.
Not disciplining those who don’t sit completely still and quiet is a start, but actually integrating activity into the learning process may do even more to enhance students’ attention. Much like more progressive companies have learned to incorporate movement in the workplace, some schools are going against traditional wisdom and encouraging activity in the classroom.
- The CNN article highlights both private and public schools that are taking this approach in varying ways. And while here at Human Solution we mostly cater to office environments, we do carry more classroom-oriented solutions like the height-adjustable sit-to-stand Stand2Learn Desk, which encourages varying positions throughout the school day.
The bottom line is that our bodies were not meant to sit still all day. As both offices and schools begin to learn this more and more, the more productive and healthier we’ll all be.
Learn more about staying active in the classroom and the workplace at TheHumanSolution.com.