Why did Prestons PS purchase this furniture?
Initially, it was to begin the process of developing a future focused learning space as a model for teachers to experiment how to effectively utilise such a space, and how teaching & learning practises could be altered to cater for 'the 21st century learner’. The purchase was also based around a decision to offer an interACTIVE learning space, for those students whom may benefit from being provided with an opportunity to move whilst learning and working independently, thus supporting them to focus and remain engaged for extended periods of time. We believed that activating the brain through movement increased the attention, memory and retention of new information. Gentle rhythmic motions help calm fidgety, restless students to minimise distractions.
What research led you to this range?
A future focused, 21st century vision/direction for teaching & learning had a great impact on the decision to select the furniture chosen. The idea of developing flexible seating settings and maximising student engagement supported the purchase also. Research also suggests that when professionals are offered a support structure and a model for success, similarly to students, they are more inclined to experiment with the offerings, in hope that this would then flow into classrooms and teaching & learning practises, as a result of the initial interACTIVE learning hub setup. We are also in the process of training in a program called iPlay which is based around research on the importance of movement.
What results did you expect?
We expected an increase in the attention, memory and retention of new information. The furniture might help calm fidgety, restless students to minimise distractions.
Increased student outcomes!!
What benefits have you seen – academic, behavioural, emotional, or otherwise?
A heightened interest in working independently, and in small groups using the seating.
An extended amount of time whereby students remain focused during learning.
A sense of ownership and responsibility to respect the furniture, and use it appropriately, creating a collaborative class community.
Which piece of equipment do you have and how are you utilising it, also how do you integrate it into your classroom?
2B – x2 Bike Chairs & Table
2B is set up as a flexible seating room. Students can choose where they sit. The bike table is used for independent and group activities. Group activities have 2 on the bikes and 2 using it as a standing table. There is always a group at the bike table. The bike table has also been useful during whole group instruction – I allow students who are having trouble concentrating to go to the table – their concentration has been incredible.
KH – x4 Kneel & Twist seat & Table.
These pieces of furniture are currently used as independent learning spaces, but are able to also be transformed into a small group of 4. Currently the students use the equipment when they are working on an independent activity, and are expected to ensure that all students are given an opportunity to use the equipment by employing a flexible seating approach. Students must select a different type of seat each time they are working at a ‘work station’, and next to a different learner each time. The students can manipulate the space and move the seats when they feel it is necessary for the task at hand.
Is it a distraction for the other students?
It is not a distraction at all for 2B.
Given that the tables are placed in a ‘straight line’ currently, and kindergarten students are quite small, they are rarely distracted by the students beside them when utilising these seats. The students are also quite occupied with their opportunity to “kneel & twist” during learning, so they are not often spending time distracting one another as they are focused on ‘moving & working’. The other students in the room are also provided with the opportunity to do the same (’move & work’) on other types of seats, so currently it appears that distraction levels remain minimal for most learners in KH.
Do you think this approach can benefit all students?
I do believe that all students can benefit from this approach to learning. I think that offering students with a sense of choice, collaboration, independence and co-responsibility amongst the class community will benefit all learners, as it provides them with a space whereby they feel comfortable and capable of achieving.
Have you gathered any data?
2B – Not much data yet – students have answered surveys based on what they prefer in the room and why.
KH - Not at this point - but I will be asking the students to reflect on the changes made to our classroom, and seating choices at the end of this term, allowing them to compare between term one and term two, and how these changes may have impacted on their learning experience.
Possibly look at PLAN data from Term 1 to 2.
Where do you see this going in terms of expansion or future implementation?
Hopefully for Prestons Public School, the idea of building a class community where all learners have ownership over their own learning space, in an environment that supports a flexible approach to learning whereby maximum engagement and commitment to learning takes place is the effect that we hope the kinesthetic equipment and flexible seating options will support, now that we have begun to disperse this furniture in classrooms across the school.
Thank you Prestons PS!
Our sincere thanks go to Elissa and her fellow teachers at Prestons PS for so generously allowing us to see how they use their desks in real classroom situations. The level of engagement we could see in the students was inspiring and we are very happy to be able to share their experiences with other Australian schools.Click HERE for the full Kinaesthetic Classroom Collection