Monday, February 2, 2015

Seat time reduces life time

Very early in my career, I had a sophomore who simply would not sit down. She did not wander, she was not disruptive, and she sat in the last seat in her row (back when I still had rows). I was still a fan of Harry Wong back then, and I was besides myself. Nothing was going to make that child plant her bottom on that chair.
My cooperating teacher asked me what was the harm? No one else minded, and even if you allowed all children to stand any time they wanted, few would choose to do so.
Wise woman.
1940? classroom, via Shorpy
Forced sitting is not only unreasonably authoritarian, it is also unhealthy.
Very, very unhealthy.

The more we sit, the earlier we die, independent of how active we might be while we're not sedentary.

We literally train our children to sit still in their seats. No other self-respecting mammal is going to do this--even sloths stay off their butts. (If my dog ever sat a minute he got a treat--he was a skinny dog.)

Humans are bouncy, foraging creatures. Corporate cubicle-life kills. We train our young for it anyway.

Why not let them smoke cigarettes and drink booze, too?


Kate said...

I have a class that cannot sit down, and so - I don't make them. I had the school buy me these funky stools with convex bottoms. They rock. So even when they are sitting, they are moving. They push back, they rock side to side.

Most of my students are taller than the average seventh grader this year. Chairs that would work until April when the boys start to grow just didn't work. They folded themselves up like human origami, and we were all miserable. Now as soon as my tables get here and they have more flexibility than desks allow, things should be even better. When we are listening to each other, I do ask for attention and no wandering.

Free reading days find my students making little caves for themselves. They tuck themselves in to corners and under tables with pillows. Kids will teach us a lot about what they need if we just watch them and pay attention.

We are snowed in but good in Chicago. Still, it is a beautiful day and the sun is glorious.

doyle said...

Dear Kate,

Wow, that sounds wonderful! Can you send me a link to the stools? I'd love to make a case for them in our district.

No sun yet here, but the light, the light, Lord how I need this light.