Will painting your wall impact learning?
Well-designed learning spaces are a pleasure to be in. They foster ‘on-task’ engagement, as students respect their environments more - it looks cared for and fun. Students really do feel that their teachers have made a real, concerted effort to show that they care about them as individuals, that they care about whether they are happy in their learning environment.
What are you accepting?
Take a moment to walk around your school, looking closely. What is your environment saying to you? Do you like what you see?
It’s amazing how quickly we accept our environments and stop noticing the problems. What we walk past every day is what we accept. What are you accepting?
Being in education, you know that progress is vital. So, shouldn’t this flow into the infrastructure of your learning environments? Your school should be shouting out to people walking through your door, whoever they are, that you are on top of all the latest, innovative methods to make your students’ learning environments outstanding - and that you care.
So what can you do?
Colour is really important but just like hot sauce a little can go a long way. Think about creating impact with feature walls, or large pieces of quality artwork. Choose a neutral colour for all of your other walls so that the feature stands out. This usually ends up being white, light grey or cream, that is readily available for your facilities team for touch-ups. Colour can be a great way to create faculty areas, or denote different key stage areas within your school. Just avoid the temptation to put it everywhere.
The key here is to be selective – a small selection of well-placed large displays will have more impact than lots of scattered details. Studies show that having too much on the walls can be counter-productive, and actually distract students, creating a negative learning space. It’s all about finding the right balance and thinking about the best place to communicate. Just because you’ve put a poster up doesn’t mean you’ve communicated. It might have been lost in a sea of other information.
Sort problems quickly
Schools are full of bustle and activity and they take a lot of knocks. It can be difficult to stay on top of everything but if small problems aren’t fixed quickly then they soon become another ‘acceptable.’ Is the damaged wall really acceptable? What message does it send to students? Fix the little things quickly and they will show that you care, and that your students should too.
When we think back to our time at school we remember the things that connected with us emotionally. The sights, sounds and smells, the way that corridor made us feel when we walked down it. What do want your students to remember about their time with you? Imagine if your students’ memories were of a school that made learning exciting and was always thinking up some new way to inspire or improve the environment. Where delight was part of the curriculum.
Think about some amazing spaces you have been in. Maybe it was a gallery or museum, or an inspiring home, garden or shop. Spaces like these inspire us and foster creative thinking; we feel calmer and more at ease in welcoming, open spaces and will usually work better in them. Holistically, they allow for a much calmer, inclusive, and more positive working environment and what school doesn’t want that?