Sitting Comfortably in School

Should our children be sitting comfortably in school? is an opinion piece published in the BMJ that thinks outside of the usual boxes. In a nation with an epidemic of lifestyle related diseases, a situation that has been declared a health emergency by PIHOA, thinking outside of all boxes to address the desperately poor state of nutrition and physical fitness is necessary.

Years of nutrition education, health education, PE methods, public health campaigns, and public service messages have not seen any change in the steady erosion of health for the residents of these islands. Whatever we are collectively doing is not yet improving the health indicators. As Rita Mae Brown noted, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

I recall lecturing while running during Joggling class back in 2002 to 2004 and noticing that running students do not fall asleep during lectures. At the time I joked that I ought to teach statistics in the same manner - on the run.

Ethnobotany class content is often delivered while hiking in the forest or walking through a garden.

Aristotle's "Peripatetic school" is a reference, albeit possibly legendary, to Aristotle's teaching while walking or pacing about, with his students at times following him around.  The walking lecturer trailed by students.

Modern education seems to be modeled on the industrial production line. Spend a year sitting in a seat, then move to the next station, the next grade, for further sitting. Even within the school day, students move in factory-based batches from class to class, moving only in between the stations we call classes.

We tend to train students to sit for six and more hours a day.

What does a less sedentary education system look like? What do teaching and learning look like? Or is this a bridge too far for education?

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