We’ve come a long way since the school days of old, where children would sit in silent rows, perched on uncomfortable wooden chairs in stark classrooms. No calm reading corner, no colourful displays, and woe betide the youngster who complained of being too cold.
Nowadays educational establishments are much more welcoming, and there are ample opportunities for learning for students of all ages. Inspirational teachers plan engaging lessons, and there’s outdoor space for fresh air and social interaction. Head inside to the classrooms and you will find inquisitive minds learning about everything from multiplication to the Great Fire of London (who would have thought baking a loaf of bread could lead to such a catastrophic event)!
Getting the Best from Your Students.
Employers are going to a lot of trouble to provide a pleasant environment for their workforce. Why? Because research, such as the fascinating study carried out by Professor Alan Hedge of Cornell University indicates that environmental conditions have an impact on employee performance. The workplace is designed with comfort in mind, ergonomically designed desks and chairs, a light and airy space, employees neither sweating due to the heat or wearing a scarf because it’s too cold. A company that takes care of its employees they will get the very best from them. If we’re doing that for our workers of today why not extend the same courtesy to our workforce of tomorrow?
How Can We Create a Positive Learning Environment for Students?
Is a well-designed classroom critical in the quest for effective learning? Professor Peter Barrett and his researchers at The University of Salford seem to think so. Results of a 2015 study into the impact of the classroom environment indicate that the classroom setting can affect a pupils progress and learning by up to 25%.
There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure your classroom offers the optimum learning environment.
Good lighting has a huge impact on learning. Students need to clearly see the teacher, fellow pupils, the whiteboard and their own books. Natural daylight is top of the list as a source, but on dull days it often needs to be helped along by flicking a switch and turning on those lights. Artificial lighting should complement the room – too dull and pupils may strain to see, too harsh and they could end up distracted by bright lights and glare.
A loud classroom can also impact on learning – we’re not just talking about a little chitter chatter amongst students. Classroom acoustics play their part too – noisy equipment, a busy road running past the window, thin walls - the class next door practising their end of term song during your important science test, John the janitor popping in to erect that new book shelf! These are all things that can distract, and prove detrimental to learning. Ideally noisy maintenance jobs should be scheduled after school and if your class are having a test inform the teacher next door so they can reschedule song practise!
It can be tricky to find the ideal temperature for all - Jack is moaning he’s cold, while Sally is peeling off her cardigan and remonstrating with you that she’s too hot for algebra. The best you can do is to try and find a happy medium. Cooler tends to be better - when you have around thirty bodies in the class (along with the teacher), the temperature rises anyway. An overly warm room can equal lethargy, a cooler room should help to keep students awake and aware.
Fresh air circulation not only keeps us alive and kicking but also improves mental and physical well-being. It can provide a welcome boost to the immune system and maintain healthy blood pressure. Fresh air can also improve concentration and cerebral function. Smarter, more alert students? Yes please!
How Can We Maintain a Positive Environment?
Want to get the best from students? Then make sure the classroom offers the optimum learning environment - we aren’t suggesting you interrupt lessons to ask students if they are comfortable, but how about discreetly collecting data that could help you to monitor the environment?
If only there were a simple tool, a sensor that could tell you about temperature, lighting, noise, air quality and humidity. Well, there is! GreenMe has developed a clever cube that can do all of that. As a member of the IoT (internet of things), the connected cube analyses the environment around it. It can provide you with the information you need to make changes and provide the optimum learning environment for students. The results? Education professionals everywhere can feel safe in the knowledge that they are providing a comfortable and productive environment where students can learn and thrive.