The Active Classroom

October 6, 2014

This past Friday at the Virginia School Board Association Hot Topic Conference in Charlottesville, BCWH exhibited a booth on the active classroom and the benefits for students.

Active Spaces Most classrooms today are built for lecture, not learning. Learning is no longer a static process, and the classroom experience is no longer passive. Students need an active classroom that encourages and allows them to think and create, engage and explore. Different types of furniture should be provided within each classroom so that students and teachers can make choices about what best supports their activities. Classroom design and furniture should support multiple work modes:

  • Working alone
  • Working in pairs
  • Working in groups

Classroom furniture solutions should encourage movement and interaction between:

  • Students & technology
  • Students & teachers
  • Students & information
  • Students & each other

Active Minds & Bodies The Active Classroom should be agile and able to adapt of the needs of the lesson and the needs of the student. Outfitting classrooms with flexible furniture that will allow them to be configured in a variety of ways helps to give students a sense of autonomy and fosters problem solving. A certain amount of movement must be integrated into the learning process – movement increases the heart rate and blood flow to the brain which impacts student attention and concentration levels. Movement increases one’s overall well-being and thus one’s motivation and performance. Studies show that students:

  • Age 6-10 years need movement every: 5 minutes
  • Age 11-15 years need movement every: 15 minutes
  • Age 16-20 years need movement every: 25 minutes

Recommendation for the school day:

  • 50% sitting
  • 30% standing
  • 20% movement

(Dr. D. Breithecker, Federal Institute for the Development of Posture and Exercise, Wiesbaden)