In one of my education classes we were able to go into an elementary school and view a classroom that was set up for student self regulation. The idea is that students can use fidgets and tools to help them learn better during the classroom. Some of these tools were: exercise bike, mini-trampoline, chewing gum, suckers, wobbly chairs, straws to chew on, yarn tied to desks. Along with the tools in the classroom the environment was very different from a regular elementary school classroom. No bright colours, no lamination, no flourescent lighting, and lots of fake plants. Apparently with the help of all of these elements the students are able to learn better than those would in a “distracting classroom”.
I believe that some of these tools may actually work for some students and the implementation of fidgets and gum may help to get them back on track. On the contrary I think that these tools could cause even more distraction and essentially could be used as entertainment for the students. Is this what we want to do? Do we want to entertain our students so they shut up and don’t bother us or the other students. I think as teachers we need to be able to “entertain” or engage our students through different teaching strategies and lessons.
So I get it, research shows that some students benefit tremendously with the use of these self regulation tools. What about the kids who already can self regulate and do not need extra distractions within the classroom. What about the kids who aren’t negatively effected by flourescent lighting and lamination? Are we possibly looking into this issue too much? How can we reach a happy medium? and where do we draw the line in our classrooms in terms of self regulation?