Getting children to sit still and listen in school always raises controversy: kids were not made for sitting still. That makes reactions to new science out of Texas A&M University range from "so obvious it shouldn't need study" to "why didn't we study this decades ago?"
The study finds that kids using what researchers are calling "stand-biased" desks actually participate more actively in lessons. The "stand-biased" desk has a tall stool nearby for leaning or sitting but encourage staying on one's feet.
The team quantifies the benefits found in this initial study:
"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 same team earlier found that standing desks in the classroom could help fight childhood obesity.
If the current school system was designed, as oft posited, to train kids to attentively work a 9-to-5 job, then it only makes sense to get standing desks into schools as quickly as possible to prepare kids for the new workplace environment where standing desks now challenge the cubicle wall heights and are pushing the frontier of design for office spaces.
The team behind the study is pushing a company intending to profit from the adoption of stand-biased school desks, which would normally cause me to question the study. But as a confirmed standing-desk addict, I cannot bring myself to be objective on this one.
The study, led by Mark Benden, of the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, is published in the International Journal of Health Promotion and Education.