The following tips can help prevent musculoskeletal disorders from developing and promote good ergonomics in the classroom:
1. Sit/Stand Teaching - alternate between standing and perching on a teller stool to prevent static positions and fatigue.
2. Introduce Standing Work Stations - bar height tables at the side or back of the room, to allow students opportunity to stand and learn.
3. Introduce 2 minute movement breaks, every 30 minutes, and have students alternate the leading of stretching routine.
4. Avoid awkward postures - reduce writing on chalk/white board above shoulder height; use podium or standing height desk for reading books/documents to class.
5. Wear low heeled footwear that support the arch and cushion the forefoot, if standing the majority of the workday.
6. Keep a water bottle on your desk to keep you hydrated and promote walking to fill it up the bottle, and to use the bathroom on breaks.
7. Have a therapy ball or mov’n sit cushion available to allow students who have difficulty sitting still to have some movement built into their day. Use a signup sheet, so everyone gets a chance to move and learn.
8. Use good computer ergonomics-Set up the keyboard and mouse at same height; raise/lower chair so wrists are flat on the keyboard (not bent); use a foot rest if feet not supported on floor; raise or lower monitor so you are looking straight at the top 1/3 of the screen; ensure space between edge of seat and behind knee; raise backrest to lumbar cushion supports the curve of your low back.
9. Pin up stretching posters and ergonomic guideline posters in the classroom a resource.
10. Identify and report any environmental ergonomic risk factors in your classroom or with the furniture in your classroom, so your supervisor can address and mitigate the risks.
Marnie Courage, OT Reg. (MB)
Owner & Managing Director
Enabling Access Inc.