The classroom environment and its impact on learning

Date: 10/11/2017     Category: School and Nursery Classrooms     Tags: Outdoor Classroom

Can educational settings make a real difference to how children absorb information, or is one classroom as good as another when it comes to learning outcomes? The evidence is clear; school surroundings really do matter. Let’s take a closer look at the classroom environment and its impact on learning.

What the statistics say

The degree to which student surroundings can influence their education is impressive; according to a study by the University of Salford, children’s a classroom environment and its impact on learningacademic progress can improve by as much as 25% in the right learning conditions. While other variables are also always at play, the researchers found that 73% of the differences in pupils’ performance could be directly attributed to their learning environment. So, the classroom environment and its impact on learning are solid and serious factors to consider when considering the design and layout of any school.

Negative factors in the classroom environment

Classrooms can affect learning in a positive or a negative way. Let’s focus first on some of the negatives: elements of the environment that should be the first priority for schools to tackle, in order to remove some fundamental obstacles to learning.

  • Overcrowding – something that is becoming more common in many schools today – can lead to classrooms feeling cramped, cluttered and undersized. Without sufficient personal space, and in a noisy and chaotic environment, students’ concentration and motivation can suffer.
  • Good ventilation and temperature control are essential for a comfortable and effective learning environment. In draughty, stuffy or cold classrooms, physical discomfort can distract pupils from their work.
  • Poor lighting conditions can impact on concentration and even lead to eye strain.

Some of these issues will be easier for schools to tackle than others, but considering the impact of the classroom environment on learning outcomes, it’s important to address them. For schools with serious overcrowding problems, extra, modular classrooms built within the school grounds can provide the additional space required. With excellent insulation, capacious storage solutions and good natural light, these modular school buildings can also solve issues around basic physical comfort in the classroom.

Positive elements to introduce

Once some of the physical barriers to learning have been remFull-sized modular classroomoved, constructive additions to the classroom environment can have a further positive impact on pupils’ motivation, concentration and wellbeing. The Salford study focuses on six elements that can affect learning outcomes: colour, choice, connection, complexity, flexibility and light. We’ll examine just a few of these.

  • Bright colours can have a really positive effect on children’s moods. Try to use colour combinations that are bright and inviting but not too overstimulating.
  • A flexible classroom layout with furniture that can be rearranged is more pupil-centred, because it can be reconfigured to meet the needs of the class at any given time.
  • Glass panelled doors that lead out into an outdoor learning area (like the ones in this primary school classroom) give children the opportunity to get closer to nature, as well as providing lots of natural light.

For inspiration on how the classroom environment can have an impact on learning in your school, check out some of the modular classrooms we at Green Modular have built for our clients.

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