Standing in Class helps Kids Focus
April 26, 2015
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Lots of kids today have a hard time focusing in school. A new study proposes a strategy to help attention – standing.
The research found that when students learned on their feet, in classrooms with standing desks, they increased their focus by 12 percent. The increase translated to an average of an extra seven minutes learning time every hour.
The findings were based on a Texas A&M University study of almost 300 children in second through fourth grade who were followed over the course of a school
year. Engagement was measured by actions like answering a question, raising
a hand, or participating in active discussion and off-task behaviors like talking out of turn.
Standing desks, also known as stand-biased desks, are raised desks that have stools nearby, which let students sit or stand during class at their discretion.
“Standing workstations reduce disruptive behavior problems and increase students’ attention or academic behavioral engagement by providing students with a different method for completing academic tasks (like standing) that breaks up the monotony of seated work,” said Professor Mark Benden.
“Simply put, we think better on our feet than in our seat.”
A 2011 study by Benden in the American Journal of Public Health found that first-graders with standing desks chose to stand about two-thirds of the time and burned 17 percent more calories than classmates in traditional seated classrooms. Overweight and obese students burned 32 percent more calories while using standing desks than seated students. In addition, teachers surveyed in the study noted that students using the standing desks were more alert and attentive and demonstrated less disruptive behavior.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology demonstrated that children, especially those with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, tend to move around more when they are using working memory to solve problems. Fidgety behavior in children may look like distraction but can actually facilitate the learning process by helping them maintain focus.