The Benefits of Using Flexible Seating in Classrooms
School administrators and educators are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve the school environment for students. As technology continues to shape the world, passive learning and the industrialised education model are no longer the most effective approaches to education. In order to provide today’s children with the education they need to develop their critical thinking abilities, educators have started to look beyond the mere reliance on books and modules.
In recent years, the traditional rigid setup of classrooms has given way to more flexible design options. The use of non-traditional educational furniture such as collaborative tables and ottomans has become commonplace in classrooms around the world. This interior design trend has found popularity for its ability to optimise every inch of the classroom as a learning space for students. The mobility that students are afforded through modern layouts fosters a culture of collaboration and communication to help them learn better.
For schools that want to apply 1st-century designs to their classrooms, an easy start would be to modify the seating plan. Flexible seating offers numerous advantages, including:
Improves Higher-Order Thinking Skills
A flexible seat plan allows students to choose where to stay when lessons are in session. As a result, they not only have more control about where to sit but also about with whom to sit. This increases meaningful interaction with their classmates and allows for easy collaboration for activities that require teamwork.
The decision-making process encourages students to evaluate their priorities in the classroom, which improves their high order thinking skills over time. Outside the windows of a classroom is a dynamic, fast-paced world full of choices. Flexible seating helps prepare students to make better choices and solve problems independently.
Motivates Students to Move
According to a health and kinetics scientist, a sedentary lifestyle in school can hinder the learning process. He theorised that students who sit still for too long are prone to develop bad habits because the non-ergonomic chairs used in traditional classrooms cause restlessness. Students become unfocused and inattentive.
Flexible seating can help prevent this situation in a way that allows students more mobility but does not distract them from their schoolwork. Students can wobble, bounce, rock or lean, which increases oxygen flow to their brain and keeps their young minds more alert and focused. Many studies suggest that children who join in short bouts of physical activity within the classroom tend to focus and perform better on school tasks than those who don’t.
Stimulates Sensory Input
Many modern classroom seating furniture pieces stimulate students’ sense of touch. Such stimulation helps children, especially those with ADHD, ADD, ASD and other sensory issues, process information better.
Those with sensory issues have decreased muscle tone or a constant need for movement sensory input, leaving them fidgeting or slouching most of the time. Adding a little wiggle or wobble through modern classroom furniture can help these students improve their muscle tone and posture. This also helps them burn off any excess energy, allowing for better focus and knowledge retention during class.
Creates a Collaborative Environment
Since this design layout allows for better mobility, collaboration is made easier. There is no longer the need to move around heavy and bulky furniture just to conduct group activities. With flexible seating, students can simply shift to their desired area to begin their work. This also proves advantageous for teachers who want to improve team communication in their classroom.
All these aspects work towards the development of a classroom culture that promotes open communication between students and teachers. In addition to this, a flexible seating plan in classrooms helps foster creativity as students are encouraged to think outside traditional boundaries.
Promotes the Value of Shared Spaces
Traditional desks for fixed seating arrangement can make young students feel territorial or too possessive over their space and supplies. Flexible seating encourages the opposite. Taking turns sitting on floor chairs, wobble stools or any modern school furniture helps children learn the value of shared spaces and community.
The learning environment of children should reflect the environment of the real world. This way, they can develop important social skills that help them grow up to be good members of their community.
Makes Learning Fun
Imagine coming to a classroom filled with colourful bean bags, floor chairs, wobble stools and other modern seating furniture. It’s a fun and exciting learning environment. Children, especially those who are not keen on coming to school every day, will likely have a different attitude about school and learning. When they feel excited to come to school, children are more likely to join activities, develop skills and retain knowledge.
Flexible seating is more than simply having an array of fun, exciting seats in the classroom. It’s about empowering students to have their own voice, heightening collaborative learning, fostering a sense of community and prioritising the needs of students over what’s simply practical for classroom space.
The benefits of flexible seating outweigh any negatives. Still, there could be things that may hinder educators and school administrators from implementing this change in their classrooms. These roadblocks could include tight budget for school furnishing, local school district policies and practical issues like small, cramped classroom space and colour-coordinating the room. If these issues ring true to you, Office Line is here to help.
Partner with Office Line
For over three decades, Office Line has been focusing on providing schools and offices with complete fit-outs that utilise world-class furniture and equipment. We use our industry experience and knowledge to ensure that our clients in the education sector receive innovative solutions that will help them improve their schools.
Our company has partnered with some of the world’s top suppliers of high-performing educational furniture to create a selection of chairs and desks that are suitable for the flexible learning environment.
We’re here to help you switch to flexible seating smoothly while still making practical choices. We have worked with many schools before; we will help you surpass any project roadblock.Give us a call. Let’s start talking about designing your classrooms to suit today’s generation of students.
- Alby Trewarn