June 7, 2017 8:11 pm

Oshawa high school helping students to focus by allowing them to exercise in class

WATCH ABOVE: Stacey Kocjan is the first teacher at O’Neill Collegiate and Vocational Institute to implement movement and exercise in her classroom. Students have the option of riding stationary bikes, bouncing on exercise balls, working at a standing desk, or simply moving around the class. Susan Hay has more on the growing trend.

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At O’Neill Collegiate and Vocational Institute in Oshawa, there’s a geography class that students can’t wait to get to.

Stacey Kocjan has set up her classroom in an non-traditional way. Here you will find typical desks at the front of the room, but you’ll also find students working on exercise balls, stationary bikes, at standing desks, in pop-up tents and simply moving about while learning in the classroom.

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“There has been a great change. I’ve seen different behaviours come out, positive behaviours,” said Kocjan about the shift of her students’ attitudes in class.

“I’ve seen kids become more engaged and I’ve seen the anxiety levels in my classroom go away. It’s been wonderful.”

For Grade 9 students, the change up in Kocjan’s classroom has bent their approach towards learning.

“This glass is great,” said student Nozod Qadhi. “You know, like my other classes, it can sometimes get hard to focus, but in this classroom it’s very dynamic.”

Rachel Coviensky, another student, said her grades are better now than they were in elementary school.

“I’ve never been really good in geography, but now I’m getting high 80s and 90s. It’s greatly improved because it’s so much more interactive in [Kocjan’s class].”

The twenty-first century classroom was launched by the Durham District School Board two years ago with the aim of improving the conditions of learning for students.

Jamila Maliha, the principal of O’Neill Collegiate and Vocational Institute, said not only has the classroom positively affected students mental health, but academic success has also risen.

“Ninty-three per cent of them have told us that they believe that this [classroom] has had a positive impact on their academic success,” said Maliha.

“Eighty-seven percent of students had their highest mark in this classroom.”

With minor changes to this classroom, it has left a huge impact on the students.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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