How Classrooms Can Affect Learning & Engagement

It’s amazing how much the environment surrounding you can affect how your mind works. In a previous blog post, ‘5 Factors in Your Office That Could Be Affecting Productivity’, we looked at how furniture, lighting, temperature, etc., can have an impact on how you work and how you feel throughout the day, and there were some interesting points, so today we’re going to look into how those factors, plus some others, can affect learning and engagement while in a classroom.

From the ages of 4-16, most of life is spent in a classroom with a variety of different students, being taught about numerous different subjects by a number of different teachers. The key point being that although the students are being taught, it doesn’t mean that they’re actually learning and engaging with the lesson. Now, this could just as well be to do with factors outside of the classroom, but studies have shown that a classroom environment can impact a pupil’s learning and progress by up to 25%. This should make reviewing classroom design a main priority for teachers.

One of the first main objectives should be to make the most of classroom space – without creating a cluttered and cramped environment. The layout of a classroom can have a major impact on a student’s learning as with space, they can feel more relaxed and comfortable, and having enough space for the teacher to walk around the students can also improve learning and engagement as it can make them feel more involved in the lesson on an individual level.

In Primary school classrooms, there should be designated areas for different activities so students can have a quiet place to read, or a nice place to colour in. So for example, a ‘reading corner’, a ‘colouring corner’, or separating tables depending on which activity the children would like to take part in. An example of this could be ‘blue table for colouring’, ‘red table for reading’.

Another factor concerning layout of the classroom is furniture, which is hugely important to students’ overall learning experience. The furniture in a classroom should be easy to move, so it can fit in with constant changes in the classroom, such as different activities and seating arrangements.

It should also be comfortable, and the appropriate size, shape, and ergonomic design for good posture, as this can improve students’ focus, and improve health and well-being. Studies have also shown that when numerous students are sat around one table, instead of on their own, there sense of team-work can be improved.

A classrooms décor can also have an impact on a student’s learning and engagement as studies in colour psychology have shown that a dull room can have a negative effect on the mind. For example, black is associated with unhappiness and formality, but blue is associated with calmness and serenity. Too many bright colours can often cause overstimulation, especially reds and oranges. The best colours are usually blue and green, as they can promote feelings of calmness, happiness, relaxation, and comfort.

Another part of classroom décor that is important when promoting student’s confidence is having their work displayed on the wall, or any space that they are able to see. It is important to note that while doing this, not to over clutter the walls – at least 20% should be kept clear.

Lastly, and probably the most obvious factors are the classroom noise, lighting, and temperature. Sound levels can have a great impact on learning as background noise can be extremely distracting and an echo in a classroom can be very off-putting. Try to make sure to adjust sound levels based on the size and layout of the classroom. Temperature in classrooms should be checked regularly as a too high or too low temperature can cause students to find it very hard to concentrate.

A comfortable temperature and good supply of fresh air should keep the student’s feeling more alert. It is highly important that a classroom is always well-lit as this can prevent students from straining their eyes and can help to keep them alert throughout the day. Dim lighting has also been shown to lower productivity levels, and fluorescent lighting has been shown to cause headaches, so be sure to choose carefully.

Taking these factors into consideration will have a positive impact on both students and teachers well-being and will allow them to work to the best of their abilities in the best environment.

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