Ergonomics in Education
Educators deserve the best. They help to shape the minds of our children, preparing them to be the future leaders and entrepreneurs of our society. Their job is of the utmost importance, and the stress demands on them is extensive. A lot has been said about ergonomics in office environments, but not much about ergonomics in education. Today, we want to address this critical and often overlooked area.
First, let’s define Ergonomics in Education
Simply put, we’re looking at both the needs of the educators as well as the needs of the students. In the same way that workspaces are customized to meet the needs of office workers, students and teachers alike have needs that should be addressed with their desk and chairs.
Now, we’re not talking applying the level of customization for each individual student as you might in a small business. Rather, we’re looking at general best practices to consider for students. But first, we want to look at the leader of the classroom: the teacher
Needs of educators
Factory workers spend hours each day standing as they assemble or package goods. Likewise, educators spend a great deal of time on their feet as they instruct and lecture. When they finally get a chance to sit down, their space should be accommodating.
We believe ergonomically comfortable chairs should be available to each educator. No one wants to sit on a hard or broken down chair; and after spending time on their feet, teachers should be able to sit down and have proper support.
Additionally, computers should be raised to eye level as well: neck strain is just as much of a worry for educators as the office worker. Older, stationary desks should also updated with functional workspaces, perhaps even sit to stand options that (while might not be used for much standing) can be adjusted to varying heights based on the individual teacher’s comfort level.
Needs of students
Students, too, have ergonomic needs. While standardized desks will be the norm across your campus, research is being done into the health of students including seating that has some give, adapting to the students needs. And as state-specific education requirements have increased the amount of required classroom time, it’s even more imperative that the comfort and health of the students been evaluated when selecting desk options.
Other factors to consider
Primarily we’ve focused on the workspace aspect of classroom learning. But beyond desk and chairs, there are other considerations to think of as well that contribute to how comfortable your teachers are. We mentioned the increased requirements for class time. Is the lighting in need of updating? Most classrooms have windows that allow natural light, but you may still want to change out your existing bulbs for ones that better blend with natural lighting.
Also, consider technology needs and how those fit with ergonomics. If your teachers use laptops that can be docked, make sure their desks are equipped to make this as easy as possible for them.
The nature of classroom education may not fit the traditional mold of office ergonomics, but it is still important to consider how better options can make your teachers’ jobs a bit easier. If you need help with figuring out how to get started with improving your school’s ergonomics, give us a call or fill out our form to have a member of our team contact you.