Sugar Beet Staff Reporter
Teachers are replacing classroom desks and chairs with bouncy balls, bean bags, cushions and couches. According to Georgia Educational Research, alternative seating leads to engaged students, which increases instructional time. This then has a positive impact on academic achievements because students are more focused and alert. In Dr. Jennifer Herdman’s room, the students love this new way to work. This is something that has been slowly building at Garden City High School, and now it’s official.
“I wanted to take my flexible seating to the next level, however I didn’t have the funds to support this,” Herdman, science teacher, said.
This is the first year that teachers at the high school had the opportunity to install this in their classrooms.
“It’s a good thing, students get more freedom in class and we don’t get bored as easily,” Abby Ellermann, public service sophomore, said.
Letting students decide where they get to sit makes them feel like they have a choice in the classroom. While this may be something that students want in all classes, it would take the fun and novelty out of it. Having alternative seats could provide a way for students to look forward to going to class and stay focused.
“Some of people’s best work comes from sitting on the couch or laying on the floor and sometimes by mixing up our environment we come up with new and clever ideas,” Herdman said. “Just by varying up the scenery a refreshing outlook toward class may occur.”
Alternative seating is best used alongside the traditional way of chairs and desks. This provides yet another choice if seating. Students may not be feeling as energetic as usual, so they choose the option of a normal desk.
“There is no ‘one size fits all’ for education and learning environments,” Herdman said. “Hopefully by providing choices and mixing up the classroom from the standard, students will feel more comfortable to take risks, try, and engage in class.”
As with everything, there is also a negative side. Teachers have to have the right personality and tolerance level to be able to pull this off, and some might be overwhelmed. This could also become a distraction for students.
“Some people aren’t mature enough to handle it,” Jenna Crook, trade and health sophomore, said.
Overall, this new design to classrooms has been welcomed with open arms. Teachers and students alike are noticing improvement in their schoolwork.
Kiana Hankins is an arts and communications sophomore. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.