School chair design and key criteria from the users’ point of view
People are becoming increasingly sedentary, including students attending the upper level of primary education. Due to school, young people spend a lot of time sitting in class and at home, which has a negative effect on their health, especially if their work environment, including school furniture, does not meet all the criteria in terms of physiological, psychological, and sociological guidelines for healthy furniture design.
Chairs, as school furniture, have been designed according to standards that take into account ergonomic compliance with the body height of pupils. Slovenian classrooms are equipped with standard conventional chairs. In our student-oriented research, we were interested in whether chairs designed according to the standard are suitable for adolescents and what, if any, additional criteria must be met from the users’ point of view.
The study included 192 upper level pupils (56.3 % girls and 43.7 % boys), age of 12.4 ± 1.7 years. The research is based on quantitative and qualitative methodology. The descriptive causal non-experimental method was supported by the observation method.
The results of the survey show that older students (81.6 %) are of the opinion that they spend more time at school than at home. Due to prolonged sitting, older students (55.3 %) report problems more often than younger ones (28.4 %). Nearly two-thirds of younger students (63.8 %) also believe they sit more in school than at home. The results show that prolonged sitting negatively affects their health or general well-being. Differences between the responses of older and younger pupils are statistically significant both in the opinion expressed regarding the location of sitting (p = 0.010) and in the reporting of problems due to prolonged sitting (p = 0.001). There are no statistically significant differences between the sexes in both groups of older and younger pupils. Pupils sit on hard, uncomfortable, conventional chairs that are not tailored to their needs. They want to use comfortable, soft, swivel chairs with backrests and armrests. The study has shown that, in addition to comfort, school chairs must provide dynamic or active sitting. The present study confirms that static and rigidly shaped school chairs do not offer support for active and restless youth. Therefore, chair design must change to meet the physical, ergonomic, cognitive, and social needs of their users.
Assiri, A., Mahfouz, A. A., Awadalla, N. J., Abouelyazid, Y. A., Shalaby, M., Abogamal, A., ... Riaz, F. (2019). Classroom furniture mismatch and back pain among adolescent schoolchildren in Abha City, Southwestern Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(8), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16081395
Attewell, P., Battle, J., & Suazo-Garcia, B. (2003). Computers and young children: Social benefit or social problem? Social forces, 82(1), 277-296. https://doi.org/10.1353/sof.2003.0075
Bilban, M., & Repar, A. (2009). Problemi sedečih delovnih mest [Problem of sedentary workplace]. Delo in varnost, 54(6), 42-52. Retrieved from http://www.dlib.si/stream/URN:NBN:SI:DOC-CEULEEGU/b9fb4164-9ad6-490e-9b15-448d601d0d0f/PDF
Cardon, G., De Clercq, D., De Bourdeaudhuij, I., & Breithecker, D. (2004). Sitting habits in elementary schoolchildren: a traditional versus a »Moving school«. Patient Education and Counseling, 54(2), 133 – 142. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0738-3991(03)00215-5
Castellucci, H. I., Arezes, P. M., & Viviani, C. A. (2010). Mismatch between classroom furniture and anthropometric measure in Chilean schools. Applied Ergonomics, 41 (4), 563 – 568. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2009.12.001
Domljan, D., Grbac, I., & Hadina, J. (2008). Classroom furniture design – correlation of pupil and chair dimensions. Collegium Antropologicum, 32(1), 257-265. Retrieved from https://hrcak.srce.hr/file/37403
Domljan, D., Grbac, I., & Vlaović, Z. (2010). Pupils’ working postures in primary school classrooms. Periodicum biologorum, 112(1), 39-45. Retrieved from https://hrcak.srce.hr/52690
Fošnarič, S. (2001). Učenci in šolsko delovno okolje [Pupils and the school environment]. Maribor: Pedagoška fakulteta Maribor.
Hlebš, S., & Mavsar, J. (2016). Kakšen je najboljši položaj sedenja za hrbtenico po mnenju slovenskih fizioterapevtov [What do Slovenian physiotherapists consider to be the best spinal sitting posture]. Fizioterapija, 24(1), 15-24. Retrieved from https://physio.si/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/3.Kaks%CC%8Cen-je-najboljs%CC%8Ci-poloz%CC%8Caj-sedenja-za-hrbtenico-po-mnenju-slovenskih-fizioterapevtov-p15-24-.pdf
Kirn, B., & Starc, V. (2014). Frequency analyses of postural sway during prolonged sitting on a large gymnastics ball and stool. American Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 2(1), 17-20. Retrieved from http://www.sciepub.com/portal/downloads?doi=10.12691/ajssm-2-1-3&filename=ajssm-2-1-3.pdf
Lueder, R., & Berg Rice, V. J. (2008). Ergonomics for children: designing products and places for toddlers to teens. New York: Taylor & Francis.
Nacionalni inštitut za javno zdravje. (2014). Promocija zdravja v šoli: dokazi za učinkovito ukrepanje. Retrieved from https://www.nijz.si/sl/slovenska-mreza-zdravih-sol
Ninčević, A., & Bilban, M. (2010). Empirična raziskava problematike dolgotrajnega sedečega dela pri uporabi osebnega računlanika [Empirical research of the problems occurring by lasting sitting work using personal computer]. Delo in varnost, 55(1), 40-52. Retrieved from http://www.dlib.si/stream/URN:NBN:SI:doc-DYJKH5LL/b9328dd7-cc82-4352-8ee3-5ba9cea1693a/PDF
Novak, H., Žagar, D., Strel, J., Štihec, J., Pisanki, M., & Juričič, M. (1995). Obremenitve osnovnošolcev: posledice in vzroki. [Burdens on primary school children: consequences and causes.] Radovljica: Didakta.
Panagiotopoulou, G., Christoulas, K., Papanckolaou, A., & Mandroukas, K. (2004). Classroom furniture dimensions and anthropometric measures in primary school. Applied Ergonomics, 35(2), 121 – 128. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2003.11.002
Parcells, C., Stommel, M., & Hubbard, R. P. (1999). Mismatch of classroom furniture and student body dimensions. Journal of Adolescent Health, 24(4), 265-273. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1054-139x(98)00113-x
Rizman Herga, N., & Fošnarič, S. (2012). Dimenzijsko-antropometrijska analiza šolskega interierja v obdobju adolescence [Dimensional-anthropometric analysis of the school interior in early adolescence]. Pedagoška obzorja: časopis za didaktiko in metodiko, 27(5), 123-137. Retrieved from http://www.pedagoska-obzorja.si/Revija/Vsebine/PDF/DSPO_2012_27_03.pdf
Rizman Herga, N., & Fošnarič, S. (2017). Coordination of school science classroom furnishings with anthropometric parameters for 11-12 year-old children. Revija za Elementarno izobraževanje, 10(1), 99-113. Retrieved from https://journals.um.si/index.php/education/article/view/335
Rizman Herga, T. (2018). Ustreznost šolskih miz in stolov glede na antropometrične značilnosti dijakov Gimnazije Ormož. [Suitability of school desks and chairs according to the anthropometric characteristics of students of the Gymnasium Ormož.] Ormož: Gimnazija Ormož.
Rosenbaum, P., Paneth, N., Leviton, A., Goldstein, M., Bax, M., Damino, D., & Jacobsson, B. (2007). A report: the definition and classification of cerebral palsy April 2006. Developmental medicine and child neurology, 49(s109), 8-14. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8749.2007.tb12610.x
Spear, B. A. (2002). Adolescent growth and development. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 102 (3), 23-29
Stamenkovič, R. (2018). Ali je sedenje res tako nevarno? Priročnik za pravilno držo. [Is sitting really that dangerous? A guide to proper posture.] Maribor: Založba Chiara.
Starman, L. (2009). Analiza ustreznosti izmer šolskih stolov glede na antropometrične značilnosti učencev v osnovnih šolah [Adequacy analysis of school chair measurements according to the anthropometric characteristics of primary school pupils]. Kranj: Fakulteta za organizacijske vede.
Šterlek, A., & Fošnarič, S. (2008). Obremenjenost učencev zaradi neprimernega šolskega pohištva v prvem vzgojno-izobraževalnem obdobju osnovne šole [Overburdening of pupils with inappropriate classroom furniture in the first triad of elementary school]. Revija za elementarno izobraževanje, 1(1/2), 15-24. Retrieved from https://journals.um.si/index.php/education/article/view/190
Van Dieën, J. H., de Looze, M. P., & Hermans, V. (2001). Effects of dynamic office chair on trunk kinematics, trunk extensor EMG and spinal shrinkage. Ergonomics, 44(7), 739-750. https://doi.org/10.1080/00140130120297
Copyright (c) 2020 Nataša Rizman Herga, Samo Fošnarič, Andreja Kolar
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Open Access Policy and Copyright
This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-NoDerivs license (CC BY-NC-ND) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work’s authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors grant the publisher commercial rights to produce hardcopy volumes of the journal for sale to libraries and individuals.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal’s published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.