Studies prove the physical environment of a school, including classroom furniture, has a direct impact on student achievement. Deficiencies in the classroom environment can show up as declines in student test scores. In one study, researchers found that students scored as much as 11 percent lower in a substandard learning environment compared to a well-ordered, efficient classroom. The effects are not limited to students, either. Teacher morale, effectiveness in the classroom and rate of absenteeism are also influenced by the facility’s environment, including the choice of classroom furniture.
Here are some signs that you may have missed the mark when choosing classroom furniture:
- Few activity tables: Working in groups is encouraged in younger grades but is difficult in a classroom devoted entirely to single desks arranged in rows. Teamwork skills develop around a table, not in individual desks.
- Deficient desk/work station ratio: A student desk is limited to a study/writing function while classroom computer work stations fulfill multiple uses. A work station can be utilized for study and writing, but a desk, table or stand lacks the proper ergonomics to be pressed into service when there aren't enough computer workstations available.
- Left-handers left out: Standard tablet-arm desks are limited to note-taking and are light and mobile for quick reconfiguration of the classroom when required. However, because tablet-arm desks are right-hand or left-hand specific, a sufficient number should always be available for left-handed students.
- Bookcase shortage: Book reading in today's classroom has to compete with computers and other interactive programming. Reading books is encouraged by keeping books on display at the fingertips of children in attractive bookcases at age-appropriate height.
- No-teacher zone: Every teacher needs a dedicated, ergonomic space to write, correct papers and organize. A table is not a professional’s work space. The teacher’s desk should incorporate lockable drawers and room for supplies. A desk is the teacher’s personal zone, too, and should easily accommodate personalized items such as family photos, awards and displays of student’s work.
NOVA Solutions has provided technology furniture for the learning environment since 1988. Contact us for more information on informed classroom furniture choices.
Photo by Jeremy Wilburn