In one local classroom, the focus is on the furniture

(Photo by Ke'Sha Lopez)
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HEWITT, Texas (KWTX) The consensus of the students in Mallory Warrick's second grade class is that they love the furniture.

They won't get to keep it all semester, but during the next six or seven weeks students at Sun Valley Elementary School will enjoy it and be part of a research project.

The Student Engagement Research Project is a collaborative effort between the Midway Independent School District, the BRIC, Region 12 Education Service Center, and Huckabee, a design firm.

The colorful chairs, a mix of red and blue, and orange stools or stackable pillows are part of a study looking into how flexibility can affect student learning and engagement.

Researchers expect this furniture, which is designed to wiggle and be adjusted, may help students stay focused.

"There's a lot of variables in a classroom environment that have an impact on a child's learning and engagement,” Baylor Assistant Vice Provost for Research Todd A. Buchs said.

“It can be the lighting. It can be the furniture. It can be the noise level. It can be so many different things and it's different for every child,” he said.

Warrick even has a flexible chair and desk that are adjustable.

"They are able to take responsibility for their learning and they are able to pick a space that accommodates to their learning style,” Warrick said.

“So if it becomes stagnant this flexible seating allows us to move around it allows more ways for us to learn from one another, communicating with one another, and collaboration."

Warrick says she's already seen more student engagement and an increased thirst for learning in the three days the class has used the seating.

This study will make way for another study that delves deeper into what affects student learning and engagement.