Substitute Teachers Might See Improved Performance When Allowing Students to Stand While Working

There are some students who find focusing and sitting easy, but others have a real hard time with traditional school expectations. Substitute teachers who always find themselves telling students to sit down and be still while doing classwork may find themselves pleasantly surprised if they allow them to stand instead.

Recent research by Texas A&M University studied 282 students in grades 2 through 4. Some students were allowed to use stand-up desks, while others continued to use traditional chairs and desks. After a year, they discovered that the students at the stand up desks stayed on task 12% longer, leading to 7 minutes more instruction time each hour. Students showed staying on task by participating in discussion, raising their hand, and answering questions.

In addition to the educational benefits of standing desks, students might realize some general health benefits. Standing burns about 15% more calories than sitting, which could assist in the fight against childhood obesity. Standing is also much better for back health, as sitting puts more of a strain on the spine.

Sometimes, it’s okay to challenge things that have been done a certain way for a long time. Just because it works well for one student doesn’t mean that it’s the best design for another. All students learn differently, and substitute teachers who recognize that and allow adaptations to the learning environment will not only have better classroom management skills, but students who learn more effectively.

The presence of standing desks is becoming more common in classrooms, but for classrooms that still have traditional desks, simply allow students to find a space where they can stand and work. A windowsill or bookshelf might have a higher surface that creates a space for students to work on while standing. Substitute teachers have to be creative and use the tools they are given to make sure students achieve goals even while the regular teacher is out.

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