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Q: Is it difficult for students to stand for hours, such as in a lab doing typing exercises? – “School Moves” webinar chat question

A: Studies show that introducing low-level activity into the classroom has a positive impact on student health, focus, and performance. So we know movement like standing during lab time can be a positive experience. We also know that kids like to move. However, since all kids are not created equal, it is unlikely that they could stand for very long periods without some distraction and discomfort creeping in if their legs started to fatigue.

Should we ask them to stand for hours? No. While individual tolerance for standing longevity may vary, giving kids options to rest periodically as needed is a wiser solution overall. Creating an environment where they can make the decision themselves to sit or stand would be ideal, as long as it wasn’t disruptive to sight lines or the overall flow of the lesson. Otherwise, directed sit or stand changes could be woven into the lesson plan, or offered from the teacher at regular intervals, i.e., every 30 minutes.

One of the benefits of the self-moderated sit or stand actions by students is that they get to gauge their energy levels in a more personal way. One student from a school we spoke with said when math class rolls around, she stands since she knows she might be tired after lunch and she wants to ensure she has increased concentration during a complex subject.

Depending on how the lab is structured, considering tall stools paired with standing height tables or an adjustable standing solution might be appropriate. Or, using height-adjustable sit-stand workstations with a standard chair. Other factors like creating workstations for variable height users may impact length of standing comfort as well. If a tall child has to use a shorter table, or a shorter student has to use a too tall table, comfort erodes.

Good or bad ergonomics can also play a part in overall comfort. If students are in a dedicated computer or typing lab for an entire class period, there are a different set of ergonomic guidelines that should be followed. Because of prolonged repetitive motion, you will need to be particularly attentive to wrist angles, elbow angles, and monitor height.

To find out more about the benefits of a sit-stand classroom, check out our “School Moves!” webinar at edWeb, a resource for educators.



Bob Hill
Education Manager at Ergotron


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