ERGONOMICS

It is important for students to have their bodies in the most healthy postures whilst sitting or standing at our desks. Key ergonomic factors include:

Sitting

  • Arms should be in a comfortable 90-degree angle in a neutral resting position

  • Feet should be flat on the floor

  • Lower back (lumbar spine region) should be supported e.g. chair design, pillow, jacket

  • Head in vertical alignment to spine thus avoid leaning or reaching forward

  • Whole body needs to move regularly e.g. minor shifts in posture, stretches, active brain breaks to avoid bad sitting postures / unnecessary stress on body

  • Relevant article: Here’s how you should be sitting at your desk

Standing

  • Each student may have a different standing desk height based on their own height. The correct standing desk height is about elbow height i.e. your elbows should be in a 90 degree position from the floor.

  • Shift weight between legs and do small stretches and posture changes often

  • If any part of students’ bodies starts to get tired (e.g. slouching or leaning over desk) or ache, it is time to change position and/or sit back down. Students need to learn how to listen to their bodies.

  • See Good Practice Guidelines.

Use of laptops

Many schools encourage students to use laptops both at sitting desks and standing desks. The laptop does not always encourage good body posture e.g. looking down at the computer monitor while sitting or standing at a desk, and crouching to use computer on laps. For long term use of laptops, schools may consider the use of a portable keyboard at elbow height and enabling computer monitors to be at a height in line with students’ eyes. Any opportunity to support students’ postures while they are learning should be seized…so when considering use of laptops, remember, encourage postural shifts, change from sitting to standing - and back again - throughout the day, and consider how you will approach the use of keyboards and monitors.

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