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How to Create a Stimulating Environment for Students

Jun 02, 2023

As the summer holidays quickly approach, many teachers will be preparing for the new school year ahead. Part of this includes reassessing classroom space to make it more stimulating, without distracting students from their learning.

Well thought-out classroom designs can make a significant difference to students’ energy levels, mood and concentration. That’s why we’ve put together this ultimate guide to creating a stimulating learning environment for your students.

Making Your Classroom Flexible

In recent years, educators have been making a conscious effort to move away from traditional teaching styles, where the teacher stands at the front of the classroom talking to the class, who are seated in rows to face the front.

Instead, teachers are opting for more flexible layouts that provide students with a variety of options when it comes to where they learn. Research has found that movement improves learning, so it’s a great idea to arrange the furniture in a way that allows space for students to move about the classroom.

Zones or separate areas are a popular approach to classroom layouts, particularly for younger students. For example, one corner of the classroom might be a reading area, with comfy seats or cushions and shelves with books for children to choose from. Reading corners encourage reading by creating a relaxing and inviting atmosphere for children to build their literacy skills.

For KS1 students, it may also be beneficial to have a corner dedicated to educational play, with age appropriate toys that aid learning.

Rather than arranging tables in traditional rows, grouping tables is a great way to promote collaborative learning, which leads to the development of higher-level thinking, communication and leadership skills.

Illuminating Minds

The lighting in your classroom can have an enormous effect on the way in which students work. Poor lighting can result in issues such as eye fatigue, glare and headaches, leading to less productivity and engagement.

According to research, natural lighting is the best in order to help students concentrate, with students exposed to more natural lighting progressing 20% faster in maths and 23% faster in literacy.

That’s why it’s important to maximise the amount of natural light in your classroom. One way to do this is to hang mirrors on opposite and adjacent walls to bounce more natural light into the room. Additionally, you may also want to sit students closer to the windows, and keep darker sides of the classroom reserved for storage.

Sometimes, natural lighting alone isn’t enough. If you are using artificial lighting, research has found that LED lighting can significantly reduce glare and veiling reflections, as well as helping improve students’ motivation and energy levels.

Cultivating Energy with Colours

Colour can have a significant impact on the way in which learners behave and respond.

For example, green promotes focus and concentration, while blue is calming and enhances creativity. Colours such as red and orange increase energy and alertness, which is great for sleepy teenagers.

Even if you don’t plan to repaint your classroom, there are still plenty of ways to subtly inject colour into the classroom. For example, you can make your display boards pop with bright backgrounds and borders, use coloured cushions and rugs in your reading corner and opt for coloured toys in your play area.

Engage with Displays

On the topic of display boards, research shows that a lack of wall displays can be under-stimulating, however, covering your walls can be distracting.

That’s why experts recommend covering up to 80% of your walls in ‘calm’ display (think blues and purples, with less going on) or up to 50% of the walls in ‘busy’ displays (think reds, oranges and lots of images and text)

It’s also a good idea to involve your students when deciding what to display on your walls as this will help to give them a sense of ownership over their learning space and cultivate feelings of responsibility. Additionally, when students see their own work displayed in their classroom, they’re more likely to participate more in learning.

Display ideas include:

Nurture with Nature

Allowing students to spend time in settings with natural elements can make for a calmer, socially safe and fun learning environment. One study found that being exposed to plants made people more empathetic, generous and helpful- the perfect mix for a classroom.

You can introduce nature into your classroom through potted plants, terrariums and even class pets, such as fish, lizards, guinea pigs or rabbits. A great way to incorporate nature as well as teaching about lifecycles is to get a butterfly kit, allowing students to see how caterpillars transform into beautiful butterflies.

Teaching with Technology

Incorporating technology in the classroom can stimulate student engagement and motivation. This is due to the way in which it provides a fun and interactive way of learning, making the learning process more engaging and enjoyable.

Technology also opens up more doors for collaborative learning, which as we discussed earlier, can lead to the development of higher-level thinking, communication and leadership skills.

Finally, technology helps students to develop the necessary skills to prepare them for the adult world. By teaching students how to align their learning with tech, they will be able to use those same skills in the future when it comes to using technology at home and in the workplace.

At DMS, we know that technology is becoming more and more essential in the education sector, helping to create more stimulating lessons and teach students valuable skills.

That’s why we provide affordable and easy-to-manage technology bundles to help your classroom thrive, including:

For more information about how the DMS Group can help your school, college, university or other educational organisation to improve its classrooms, get in touch with our team today.

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