For most adults, the classic image of the school classroom is etched prominently in their memories: the imposing teacher’s desk a the front of the room, the blackboard surrounded by assorted lessons and mnemonic devices, and of course, the rigid, stiff, and often uncomfortable desks and chairs that we diligently spent countless hours sitting in during our lessons.
Importance of ergonomics in the classroom
While some of these aspects of schooling remain the same, one area where educators are focusing more of their attention is the classroom environment. The ergonomics of education, as it has come to be known, seeks to improve the learning environment in order to optimize the overall school experience and help children to get the most of their academic experience.
Education, is a vital part of every child’s life, especially in light of the fact that kids are naturally curious about the world around them and enjoy learning. Education also serves to better prepare a child to become a responsible and contributing member of society, both socially and professionally. Consequently, education receives a great deal of attention from both parents and policymakers.
One of the biggest challenges that the field of education faces is addressing the needs of each individual child. From a practical perspective, this is all but impossible, but educators and policymakers have made huge strides recognizing that different groups of children learn in different ways.
Traditional one-size-fits-all approach vs. individual student needs
This is in marked contrast with the traditional education methods, which have historically employed a “one size fits all” approach that includes lecturing and rote memorization. Children who do not do well in this environment often lag behind their peers and are prone to any academic and emotional consequences that come with being left behind.
Today, educators are more accepting of the fact that one approach may not be the best for every child, and are more willing than ever to address the needs of a broader range of students. Part of this process is paying more attention to the student’s surroundings, and that is where the ergonomics of education really comes into play. The key is to incorporate comfort and flexibility in classroom design while factoring in the teacher’s style as well as the individual needs of the student.
Those needs, of course, go beyond academics alone. Children learn best in a safe, healthy and comfortable setting, and ergonomics factors in all of these needs. Desks and chairs are designed for comfort and flexibility, and the use of non-toxic “green” materials makes for a more wholesome learning environment. Finally, durability and easy maintenance help to make these goals more economically viable and environmentally friendly.
If ergonomics is important for adults in the workplace, it most certainly is for children in class.
Changing up classroom comfort
With this in mind, combining ergonomics with any academic setting makes good sense in order to support whatever learning style best suits the students. The benefits that result will allow educators to be more flexible in how they design coursework and better meet the educational needs of the students.
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s learning environment, speak with their teachers or school administrators. For more information about ergonomics, speak with your pediatrician or visit the website for CUErgo, a service of Cornell University, and check out this video on Lifetime’s The Balancing Act by Hertz Furniture, a “provider of furniture solutions for the educational market.”
Interested in learning more about ergonomically designed furniture for school? Visit the website for Hertz Furniture.