3 Reasons to Use Sit-to-Stand Desks in the Classroom
- September 20, 2022
- Anthony Bowie
Author: Dr. Christina Counts
So long to a classroom full of stationary, seated desks that keep students sedentary all day––the future holds flexible, student-centered sit-to-stand desks that promote student choice and engagement!
Sit-to-stand desks have become common in the workplace and home offices as an option that allows flexibility, encourages movement, and supports user comfort. These benefits extend far past their office origins, however, with sit-to-stand desks becoming more and more common in the classroom due to the benefits they offer for students and teachers alike.
In the K-12 classroom, sit-to-stand desks encourage students to listen to their minds and bodies to choose how they learn and work on assignments. Giving students voice and choice on their learning space promotes engagement, student wellbeing, and academic achievement.
Evidence shows that prolonged sitting is connected to negative health effects for children, including decreased circulation and stunted physical development (McManus et al., 2015). Sitting for extended periods also can negatively affect mobility and strength, which can lead to long term health effects such as arthritis, obesity, and back pain. By offering the flexibility of sit-to-stand desks in your classroom, you encourage students to listen to their bodies and intuitively change positions throughout the day to avoid the negative health effects that come with being sedentary.
According to one study, sit-to-stand seating helps to limit student misbehavior, possibly due to students feeling happier and more motivated––and therefore less likely to act out. The opportunity to stand may also reduce urges to bother other students or make distracting noises and movements, improving the behavior of students and their peers (Erwin et al., 2018). Having flexible seating options can also have a positive impact on students’ well-being, improving students’ moods and helping them build healthy habits.
In a study where all students in a classroom utilized sit-to-stand desks, researchers found that students were more engaged than usual, only getting off-task 4% of the time (Erwin et al., 2018). The flexible positions of sit-to-stand desks facilitate group work and make writing easier, according to students surveyed in another study (Aminian et. al 2015).
Sit-to-stand desks also appear to encourage standing during instructional time, which improves student engagement and focus, leading to significant improvements in academic achievement (Erwin et al., 2018). When students can move around and change positions to meet their physical and mental needs, they are less likely to get distracted by things like being uncomfortable. Evidence even shows that switching positions and taking short movement breaks throughout the day can improve mood, focus, and attention.
MiEN Company offers a variety of flexible standing desk options, for both students and teachers. Multiple MUST Sit-2-Stand Student Tables work well for traditional classroom applications, such as lecturing and individual work. Accommodate collaborative work by utilizing the T-UP Sit-2-Stand Collaboration Table, which pairs well with stools or standing for hands-on collaborative activities. The ELV8 Sit-2-Stand Multi-Purpose Table has the widest range of flexibility, functioning well in classrooms, cafeterias, media centers, offices, and for ADA applications. For teachers, pair a traditional teacher storage and workstation with an HMU Quad Base Side Table to create a mobile workspace for anywhere in the classroom.
Sit-to-stand desks are functional and effective in a wide range of school environments. Consider adding these tables to your learning space design to create a more active learning space and benefit students and teachers alike.
McManus, A. M., Ainslie, P. N., Green, D. J., Simair, R. G., Smith, K., & Lewis, N. (2015). Impact of prolonged sitting on vascular function in young girls. Experimental physiology, 100(11), 1379–1387.
Erwin, H., Beighle, A., Routen, A., & Montemayor, B. (2018). Perceptions of Using Sit-to-Stand Desks in a Middle School Classroom.Â Health Promotion Practice,Â 19(1), 68â€“74. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26746902
Saeideh Aminian, Erica A. Hinckson & Tom Stewart (2015) Modifying the classroom environment to increase standing and reduce sitting, Building Research & Information, 43:5, 631-645, DOI: 10.1080/09613218.2015.1058093
Dr. Christina Counts, VP of Education for MiEN Environments, is a proven leader with a successful background in transforming learning spaces into modern engaging learning environments. Dr. Counts has worked in education for over 17 years with experience as a classroom teacher, district instructional leader, school administrator, and digital and innovative learning designer. In her most recent position, Christina leads a team of professionals that support schools making the transition to a flexible, collaborative, & student-centered learning space. She holds a doctorate in K-12 Educational Leadership, National Board-certified, and Google & Apple certified. Dr. Counts envisions a learning space in which educators are empowered to transform education through design, technology and innovative instructional pedagogy to create learners ready for any future!