Take A Seat?
I have recently come across many articles about students’ chairs and desks and the need for more freedom of movement. I am all for better learning, whether it is a uniform, a new process of teaching that allows students more interactivity or more physical education time. However, the idea that kids are “restrained” and it inhibits their ability to move and thus their ability to learn, to me that is just too much. Of course, there is the exceptional student for whom sitting altogether is an issue.
In and around 1880, John Loughlin, an Ohio inventor, created the first school desk. Before this time most kids were taught at home or in less formal settings. These desks were big enough for two or three children to sit at. As education evolved to writing papers and owning textbooks, the need for personal space became a necessity. Desks developed and were now made with raiseable tops or cubby holes underneath in order to store books and papers. In the 1970’s plastic and fiberboard were used and a wire basket was under the seat to hold books and maybe a bookbag. Proponents of ergonomics argued that left-handed students suffered because of the right-hand centric design.
Welcome to 2022, there was a recent study suggesting that keeping kids in desk seats is detrimental to the student. The study was suggesting that chairing students is responsible for declining physical health and lack of focus, including fidgeting, lethargy and mental wandering. Children in schools that require physical movement are 80% more likely to graduate high school, enter and complete college with a degree, and report having healthy family relationships as adults. Students who attend schools with a higher-than-average number of chairs in their schools are more likely to lose interest in school, drop out, turn to drugs, and become incarcerated.
Are the above issues all related to gaming and cellphones? Was this an issue that we simply ignored 30 years ago or are we simply responding to the times we now find ourselves in. One thing that was mentioned in the article was that kids that sat for more than 3 consecutive hours had adverse vascular function. Is this statement just a wow factor? How many schools have students seated for more than 3 consecutive hours? None that we contacted. We would truly like to get your feedback on this topic, please send us an email expressing your thoughts.