Opinion: The Problem With Desks

Ms. Talia Loiter

The ultimate truth is that kids don’t want to go to school just to sit inside in a dark classroom all day. Most American schools follow the same model where the day is split into blocks of class, with a small break for lunch, and bells telling students when it’s time to move on. This is an incredibly outdated system left over from the Industrial Revolution when rapidly growing factories needed a way to control the large amount of workers moving through their facilities. Most class schedules are designed without regard to the multifaceted needs of a student today.

Image courtesy of Talia Loiter

Students need a schedule and a space to learn that helps maintain a healthy lifestyle and mindset. A large part of this is getting outside and moving around. An experiment by the Department of Hygiene and Public Health at the Nippon Medical School found that students who were sent into the forest for two nights (know as forest bathing or “Shinrinyoku” in Japan) had lower levels of cortisol (a stress marking hormone) than those who spent two nights in the city. The constant buffer of our dark classrooms is stressing students much more than needed.

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