One of the hardest things about school for me was having to sit still and be quiet for extended periods of time. Not only did I have more energy than Roadrunner on a sherbet bender, but I just didn’t do my best thinking when I wasn’t moving.
To this day, when I need to think about how to word an article or a speech I have to give for work, I pace around the room, I go for a walk, I dance, I flap my hands. It’s as though moving my body somehow stimulates and powers my thinking, while also venting out energy that would otherwise cloud my brain like radio static. Sitting still, on the other hand, is like trying to hold in a fart in front of your crush, or eat a grapefruit with a straight face.
One of the great things about my current job is that I’m free to do just that; since the organization I work for consists mostly of people on the spectrum, they’re very understanding of my need to keep moving. As a result, not only is it a more comfortable work environment than, say, high school ever was, but I feel that I actually perform better in terms of the quality and quantity of work I am able to produce.
As a classroom mentor of kids on the spectrum, this got me thinking; what if students who are kinetic thinkers like me were allowed to move around the classroom or go for a walk outside to process their work, instead of having to sit still and shut up? Would their performance also improve?
This is something I’d really like to try out with my own students, because I suspect the results would show that, like me, a lot of these kids just need a little freedom of movement instead of being stuck in a chair for hours on end.
What’s so great about sitting down all day, anyway? It certainly isn’t healthy, or comfortable. Yet our classrooms and our offices are designed around it. Bolting active thinkers in place then complaining they’re not productive is like painting your greenhouse black then complaining that your veggies won’t grow.