Diary

One school ditches chairs in the classroom for excercise balls.The AP thinks it's a good idea.

This has got to be the dumbest thing I have read in a while.

Teachers Ditch Classroom Chairs to Improve Student Attention.

Oh hoh geez….

This is an article by the AP about an elementary  school in Fort Collins Co. that took away chairs in the classroom and replaced them with “exercise stability balls” and how all the students and teachers are just raving about how wonderful they are and what a great improvement it is in the classroom.

As we all know,nothing says “stability” like sitting on a big round rubber ball.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Talk about a teacher’s dream: No more slouching, no more wiggly little boys and no more snoozing at desks.

All teachers have to do is ditch the classroom chair. A growing number are replacing them with exercise stability balls more associated with pilates classes than schoolroom lectures as an innovative way to improve student posture and attention.
“They’re awesome,” gushed 10-year-old James Howell, a fourth grader at Bauder Elementary School whose class switched to purple stability balls in January. “They help you focus, they help you keep your structure. And sometimes you get to bounce on them, get the wiggles out.”

The kids in Tiffany Miller’s class sound like little pilates teachers when they talk about their new chairs, dropping phrases like “strengthen your core” and “engage your center.” They don’t roll around wildly or play games with them except in gym class. Instead, they’ve taken to their rubbery seats as naturally as older office workers who sit on stability balls to alleviate back pain.

Excuse me if I seem a little skeptical but the quotes that the the un-named author is attributing to children just seem a little less than genuine.I have met a few ten year olds in my time and in fact I used to be one but I can’t recall any using phrases like “strengthen your core” and “engage your center.” At best I think the author is quoting what some teacher or administrator is saying the students said and at worst I suspect those quotes are false.Ten year old kids simply do not speak like new age sixties spiritualists.What else were the “children ” saying?That the balls help them get in touch with their inner chi or that it brings them a sense of inner peace that they have never known before…?
The children also voiced their opposition to the war in Viet Nam.

I suspect that maybe the author was discussing the balls with a teacher in front of some students and after the teacher said all those thing the writer looked at the student and said “Is that right Johnny?” and the student just nodded his head and there was the quote.
Also the writer claims that the children have “taken to their rubbery seats as naturally as older office workers who sit on stability balls to alleviate back pain.”

I don’t work in an office environment so I can’t say for sure what might happen there.I suspect that many readers here do work in office environments so maybe you can help me out.

Have you ever seen older office workers sitting on exercise stability balls to alleviate back pain….?Is that common?Does this happen a lot in office America?

The writer then goes on to tout all the “research” that backs up this rather silly idea by quoting the classroom teacher on her “theory” and some professor of movement science as if that says it all.

“The whole theory with the brain is that when your body’s engaged, your brain’s engaged,” Miller said. “I call it actively sitting. They’re maybe moving their legs a little, wiggling some. But their upper body, they’re focused on writing, on the teacher. It really works.”

Ah yes …the body engagement brain focus theory.I know it well.Often I like to study as I balance myself on a unicycle .It really makes the cognitive juices flow.Thank you Dr. Miller.

Research is starting to back up that theory. John Kilbourne, a professor in the Department of Movement Science at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., switched to stability balls in his college courses last semester and surveyed 52 students on the change.

Nearly all said they preferred sitting on the balls. Students mentioned improvement in their ability to pay attention, concentrate, take notes, engage in classroom discussions and take exams.”They said the balls improved their focus and their attention, that just everything was better,” said Kilbourne, whose research is published in February’s Chronicle of Kinesiology and Physical Education in Higher Education. “I think it could revolutionize the way we design classrooms.”

There was no mention however of the students who thought it was ridiculous or kept falling over.What the hell is the Department of Movement Science anyway and how exactly do you become a professor there.It sounds like one of those college courses that people who aren’t really serious about college sign up for.Sort of like Womyn’s studies or courses about gender empowerment.Yeah..those look real good on a resume.
“I don’t know a damn about bookkeeping but I sure know how to sue your butt if I don’t get this job”.

I can’t be the only one who thinks that this is completely ridiculous.Who came up with this idea and why weren’t they fired?A better question would be who listened to this person and why weren’t they fired…?How can letting little kids rock and bounce on a big rolling ball all day possibly help them to learn.It’s not a distraction?It’s not disruptive?
Oh come on…it has to be.
Why not just bring in a box of yelping puppies and put them in the corner?Maybe that will help the children learn.Maybe we could provide the students with firecrackers and popsicles to help them focus better.
I will give the AP credit at least for also including some people who may not be completely thrilled with this new “revolution” in teaching.

Some scientists warn the balls aren’t a miracle cure for bad posture. When people sit on them for long periods of time, bad habits can reappear. And because they don’t have backs, the balls don’t allow sitters to lean back and take pressure off the tailbone, said Fabio Camana, an exercise physiologist at the American Council on Exercise.

Scientists..?Oh please.I would bet that Fabio Camana is a “scientist” in the the same way that some gorgeous model with perfect hair and a white lab coat is a “scientist” at the Revlon Institute for Cosmetics.
Apparently the idea of ball sitting is taking off.Who knew?

Camana said the balls have been used for two decades but that news reports of classroom teachers using them instead of chairs show a dramatic uptick in the last five years or so. Kids as young as 5 or 6 are using the balls, Camana said, but he worries that without vigilant instructors, pupils may be developing bad habits.

The uptick is dramatic.It could be as high as 1/1000th of one percent of classrooms now and growing.

It seems that I too am not the only skeptic of this new science if sit-tology.There are some parents as well who care about what goes on in their child’s classroom.

Perhaps the biggest problem, teachers say, is persuading administrators or parents to go for the change. At L.D. Williams Elementary School in Mitchell, S.D., students who want to use the balls have to bring their own, at a cost of about $30. Fourth-grade teacher Amanda Chada introduced the balls last fall — but she only has three for children to share if they don’t have their own.

“More kids all the time are bringing balls,” says Chada, who rotates the three classroom balls during the day for students without one. “They like that they can move a little bit. They say they’re more comfortable.”

Oh come on….that can’t be true.
What parent would let this happen?It would be like allowing their kid to wear roller skates all day or having a monkey in the classroom.I’m not buying it.This is nothing more than some flighty liberal kook trying to legitimize or prop up some completely absurd new age idea as if it is catching on and will soon be the norm.
They love that sort of crap.It’s just like their fascinatination with astrology and healing crystals or transcedental medititation or hollistic medicine to cure cancer.
It’s a crock.It’s pure folly but somehow we are to believe that people really like this sort of nonsense by the AP citing a very weak example.

Adults are slowly catching on, said Dottie Powell, who received a county grant this year to put stability balls in her fifth grade class at Orchard View Intermediate School in Martinsburg, W.Va.

“We had a Valentine’s Day party and a grandma came, and she was definitely skeptical and wanted to know why they were sitting on these balls. And then she sat in one and stayed the whole party and loved it,” Powell said.

Yes…I’m sure that happened.The elderly lady came to the party and sat on the ball the whole time and couldn’t get enough of it.She may have even stopped on the way home just to buy one for herself because she loved it so much.
They must think we’re all suckers.

Maybe if liberals want to improve the education of children they should just dispense with all this left-over hippy silliness and try including more BOOKS in the classroom and less toys.
I could be wrong.