It stands to reason that the environment in which a child learns will have a big impact on their learning, therefore a lot of thought should go into how each classroom is designed.
A study by Salford University has found that a well thought out classroom design can potentially improve a child’s performance by up to 25%.
Not only are the design and layout important but keeping the classroom in order and organised is just as important, clutter and disorganisation can lead to chaotic minds and attitudes. The four key areas which can help improve pupil’s learning are as follows:
There is never one classroom layout which will suit all activities, therefore creating one which is easy to navigate and move around is the best way to maximise learning.
Generally, a layout which places the teacher at the front of the room will lead to the most interaction and is most natural for pupils – greater interaction will inevitably lead to higher achievement. At the same time we need to keep in mind that all pupils should be able to see the teacher clearly and not feel isolated at the back of the room.
Using furniture in a way which will help maintain attention and interest is vital. Similar to the layout of the room, the furniture used should help open up the classroom making it a welcoming environment where students will feel at ease.
Consideration should also be given to effective storage. A tidy classroom should result in pupils respecting the environment in which they are working. Creating a calm and focused space will inevitably be reflected in the attitudes of pupils to work.
Natural lighting is undoubtedly always the best option for your classroom but not always possible. Where a lot of natural light is not possible, false, harsh lighting should be avoided. Flicker and glare from fluorescent lighting can be the cause of headaches and also impair visual performance.
The University of Georgia has carried out a study which indicates that the way in which a room is lit plays a large part in how the brain focuses. The results concluded that pupils who studied in rooms which were brightly lit were more alert and achieved higher marks than those in poorly lit rooms.
The research explains how bad lighting can diminish the effectiveness of how the brain collects information, slowing down the way in which we absorb new information.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to which colour scheme should be used in a classroom. There are certain colours which will benefit children of all ages but certain colours have been shown to affect specific age groups more.
Colour in a classroom can have an effect on three key areas which promote effective learning – emotions, productivity and communication.
A bright colour such as yellow is great for creating energy and happiness in small children, whilst pale blues and greens invoke a sense of calm amongst older children, studies have shown red should be used to attract the eye to detail.
If you are restricted by classroom walls which are already painted, introduce colour by using colourful noticeboards and brightly coloured furniture. Why not involve pupils in creating their own colourful displays?