Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Color, Music, Play

by AJ

More great stuff over at Kathy Sierra's blog... this time related to one of my mantras: the importance of decor and environments that offer rich sensory stimulation.

Check out this post: Death By Cubicle

The cubicle picture that accompanies this post shows many similarities to school environments. Notice the muted colors... all greys and slates. Notice the lines... all straight.. all 90 degree angles. Notice the lighting (fluorescent). Turns out this sort of environment slows learning and shuts down the brains' growth... which comes as no surprise to me.

Im blessed with a wall of windows in my current classroom... and thus plenty of natural lighting. What a difference that makes. But this is not nearly enough. The room itself is still corporate drab. Unfortunately Im broke at the moment and as much as Id like to, just am not going to shell out cash to make things better. Also, I may be sharing this room in the future,.. so most likely Id have to win other teachers.. and the director... over to my decor ideas. So for now my room remains bright, but boring.

I got a taste of whats possible this week, however, when I walked to Haight-Ashbury. As most folks know, this was once the epicenter of the 60s hippy renaissance. The hippies are long gone, but the colorful psychedelic aesthetic is still alive. What a riot of color... murals, brightly colored walls, funky signs,... As we walked the street, I felt my alertness increase. My eye woke up.. and eagerly scanned the environment.

This is exactly the sort of classroom (and school) Id create if I had the decision-making power and the resources. Id cover the walls with bright colors and funky murals. Id string Xmas lights around the ceilings. Id put plants in the corners. Vibrant artwork would cover the walls. Id add texture too... with rough woven tapestries.

Id also appeal to the sense of smell with incense, spice bowls, and essential oils. Id have a photo wall... pics of students, teachers, the city. Id put prisms in the windows... to catch the sunlight.

In short, Id do everything possible to make the classroom feel more like an art studio than a corporate office.

But this project, Im afraid, will have to wait......