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How Your Environment Can Disengage Your Students

By: Krystle Crossman

Your child should be in a bright and airy room to learn in. However the décor that is in the room could be more of a distraction than you think. Most classrooms are very minimal in design and are often decorated with the work that the children have done throughout the year in younger grades or with educational posters for older grades. A good teacher and a willingness to learn are important keys in your child’s education but the design of the room can be just as important.

Researchers from the University of Washington have found that there are a few key components in every classroom that can help the students. For example the have found that natural lighting helps the students to perform better. The temperature of the room is also very important. The researchers state that between 68-74 degrees is the optimal temperature for educational purposes. The building should be well-maintained and have adequate heating, lighting and plumbing.

Along with the physical aspects of the room, the decoration is extremely important. A careful balance of what is posted on the walls and around the classroom is needed so that none of the students are subconsciously discouraged from learning. For example if there are a bunch of posters on the walls of historic figures who are all men it could make the girls in the classroom feel like there were no important women in history. If a particular movie genre or book genre is featured on the walls some students will become disengaged because they aren’t into that genre. Sapna Cheryan, one of the lead authors on the study, states that minorities, men and women all should be represented equally around the classroom.

Cheryan says that she recommends that teachers (this can include home-school parents as well) look around at their learning space and see if there is anything they can take out or add. She said if they look around at what is hanging on the walls they should take the time to think what type of person the décor would appeal to. If they don’t come up with a broad range of people that could feel empowered by what they are looking at it is time to make a change.

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