Freedom of Movement - Power to the Students

At UAGC, we believe in the power of freedom - freedom of self-determination for all of our students.

In our classrooms, this freedom extends throughout the curriculum AND the physical space in the room. Students move through the Learning Cultures® formats, regularly practicing that self-determination.

But what happens when freedom becomes too much? Too overwhelming? Because, in addition to the power of freedom for good, it also has power for bad; cell phones are a powerful learning tool, a pocket encyclopedia, but they very quickly can become a distraction. When those distractions - cell phones, friends, discipline - come up, what happens?

Many students - and teachers - respond with "fight-or-flight" in the classroom. They shut down and restrict their own freedom themselves. They hunch over, tighten, or otherwise do something that constricts, or combusts, their learning. Schools too often try and solve this dilemma by restricting freedom. Unfortunately, then, we never have the opportunity to figure out how to cope.

Instead, we give students the freedom to learn that coping for themselves:

. . . to do our best work, we need to move around. People mistakenly think that being in one position for a long period will improve concentration, but the body needs to move and take regular breaks to focus, said Alan Hedge, an ergonomics professor at Cornell University.
We’ve all heard that sitting for long periods is bad for you, but standing for a long time isn’t good either, Professor Hedge said. You need to mix it up. He has done research showing that workers should sit for roughly 20 minutes, stand for about eight minutes and move around for two minutes.
This formula does not have to be exact. And once in a while, when you are in the magical state known as “flow,” where you are completely absorbed in your task and lose track of time, it doesn’t apply.
But as a rule, getting up and moving around is beneficial. 

Eventually, we want to be in that state of flow. We only go there when we have the freedom to move there ourselves.