For years, teachers have been searching for ways to get students to be more attentive in class.
Mark Benden, Ph.D., CPE, associate professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, may have the answer: standing desks.
A recent study in the International Journal of Health Promotion and Education published by Benden and other researchers from Texas A&M found that students provided with standing desks exhibited higher rates of engagement in the classroom than their seated counterparts. Preliminary results show 12 percent greater on-task engagement in classrooms with standing desks, which equates to an extra seven minutes per hour of engaged instruction time. The findings were based on a study of almost 300 children in second through fourth grade who were observed over the course of a school year. Engagement was measured by on-task behaviors such as 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, enabling students to sit or stand during class at their discretion. Benden, who is an ergonomic engineer by trade, originally became interested in the desks as a means to reduce childhood obesity and relieve stress on spinal structures that may occur with traditional desks. Lessons learned from his research in this area led to creation of Stand2Learn™, an offshoot company of a faculty-led startup that manufactures a classroom version of the stand-biased desk.
For more about this research, see Vital Record.