Over recent months some JHHS classrooms have started to see some changes. Standing desks, movable work tables and workstations are replacing traditional desks arranged in neat rows, all intended to move students from passive listeners to engaged learners.
Last year during a Student Shadowing project that teamed school administrators and teachers with students for a day, JHHS staff noticed how much time students spend passively listening. And sitting. With this peaked awareness Principal Scott Crisp and his staff started exploring ways to change the classroom setting to truly engage students in their learning. School wide, JHHS is focused on increasing student active engagement and providing students multiple ways to access content.
"The intent", Dr. Crisp stated, "is to allow teachers to create learning environments that supports their teaching style in order to increase active student engagement, rather than the teacher having to be "forced" into a fixed teaching style based on a classroom configuration that does not allow for "on the fly" shifts from whole group, small group, and individual student learning."
Traditional classroom desks and chairs have been removed from five classrooms and replaced with a variety of furniture options including tables and chairs on wheels that are easily moved to allow for small student discussion groups or other arrangements that best support the day's instruction while another classroom has been furnished with standing desks that require students to physically engage their bodies in the educational environment, rather than sitting passively listening to a teacher at the front of the room. Dr. Crisp stated "we are seeing student engagement levels increase, thus leading to authentic and engaging class discussions."
According to Dr Crisp, "the increase in digital content and online access for all students" has supported the school's goal to increase active student engagement. Balancing the use of digital online content with face to face teaching methods is critical to support good teaching practices.
With an eye towards creating an educational environment that supports today's learners, Jackson Hole High School is currently exploring funding options to transform more classrooms into modern, inspiring and educationally engaging spaces for our students.