According to research, children spend approximately 15,000 hours sitting down on hard plastic chairs during their school years. Imagine sitting down in the seats with the same desks in the same layouts within similar looking rooms every single day for all of your high school years. A bit boring right? Indeed, there is a much-needed solution to this common, everyday problem.
Instead, we should use the right materials﹣the right furniture to enhance the learning environment in our classrooms. For example, easily moving tables and chairs would allow students to participate in a variety of group work activities, encouraging collaborative learning experiences. Erasable writing surfaces and whiteboards have also led to noticeable improvement in visual thinking and problem-solving.
Research shows that students have been able to relieve stress, perform better, and engage more in school with new classroom layouts. E-5 has been redecorated with yoga balls, new standing desks, flexible seats, and height adjustment chairs and tables. Personally, the new furniture has helped me feel more relaxed, allowing me to move from one desk to another and easily communicate with my peers for group discussions. In the couple of group assignments we’ve had so far, I’ve found it much easier to work when we don't have to move our rigid desks and chairs in order to form imperfect squares, only to re-configure the seating arrangement twenty-five minutes later.
Although new furniture is very conducive to productivity in group projects, it would also have personal gains for students. Sometimes, I like to move around the wheeled chairs and adjust the desks whenever I’m using them while standing. And when I’m feeling stressed or experiencing anxiety for upcoming assessments, bouncing back and forth on the yoga balls have helped calm me down, putting my mind at ease and letting go of the frustration I initially felt. One student said that “It was like I was at home because of how comfortable and relaxing it is,” which is exactly the purpose of a call for a new redesign. And just think how much better of a learning space our classrooms would be if we all felt this way… a creative learning environment for all!
Additionally, new technology would be greatly appreciated by all of the students at Edgemont. Our Chromebooks have been problematic for a while, given their connection issues and slowness. Using new technology, we can explore new subjects, make learning more hands-on and collaborative, and deepen our understanding of difficult learning concepts.
Just think about it: new furniture and new technology would mean better efficiency for students, allowing more time to learn and communicate with others. Some people only rely on the Chromebooks handed to them in school, without any access to personal computers or devices, making it very hard for them to complete all their work.
The world is changing: classrooms are being renovated and technology is being upgraded. What’s the harm in trying something new, a different approach that has serious research to support it? Making people aware of this situation will help us get the tools we need to start redesigning.
As a school community, we should always ensure the students in Edgemont are provided with the right materials in order to succeed, and redesigning the furniture in classrooms and upgrading our school technology is a substantial step in the right direction.