Forget ‘Sit down!’ Students now standing up to learn

Author: Kelly Wallace
Date Published: December 10, 2015

Studies say standing desks can help boost students’ engagement and burn calories. Researchers have done a little study on their effectiveness on children, but early researches were promising. While still new in education, examples across the country of schools moving away from the traditional “sitting all the time” approach to a standing and moving environment have increased. One is Alexandria County Day School in Virginia. It may be one of the first in the country to offer standing desks in middle school classrooms.

In 2013, in West Caldwell, New Jersey, teachers Jennifer Emmolo and Jaclyn Ginex were finding a means to manage disruptive behaviors. They wanted to give students an energy outlet that was not disturbing to anyone in the class. Their research led them to standing desks, so they applied for a grant to obtain them for Wilson Elementary School, and the results were stunning. Students’ undesirable behaviors decreased by incredible numbers, said Emmolo, who helps other teachers integrate technology into the classroom.

One great feature of standing desks is the so-called fidget bars on the bottom. They give children the chance to fidget or swing the bar affecting no one around them.

Another study of around 300 children in second through fourth grade in one school year, showed a 12% greater “on task” engagement. This means another seven minutes per hour of engaged instruction in classrooms with standing desks. Mark Benden, study leader and Ergonomics Center director at Texas A&M Health Science Center, said the response from teachers and principals was important. His other research found students in K-12 with so-called “stand-biased” desks burn 15% to 25% more calories than those using seated desks.

Likewise, international research shows the benefits of standing desks. Experts said that if schools cannot afford many standing desks or fit them in the classroom, having a few would be great. Children can then take turns using them.

To conclude, researchers should assess more the long-term impact on health and academic performance of standing desks. Overall, it would be helpful to teachers, students, and parents if the results were positive. If proven beneficial, they should be the government’s main concern. It must offer these amenities to public schools to lower the risks of prolonged sitting among students.

Anomaly – is a deviation from the common rule, type, arrangement, or form (
Perpetual Motion – is a state in which movement or action is or appears to be continuous and unceasing (
Anecdotal Response – is based on casual observations or indications rather that rigorous or scientific analysis (




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