The classroom environment is the atmosphere and setting of the room that students learn within. It includes a wide range of educational concepts that include both the physical and psychological environment. These concepts consist of both social context and instructional components related to teacher characteristics and classroom setting (Konza, Grainger & Bradshaw, 2001). “The physical environment of a classroom explains a lot about the expectations of a teacher towards their students” (Konza, Grainger & Bradshaw, 2001). Before a student begins learning effectively they must be provided with a safe, positive and supportive learning culture. In return will reduce conflict and enhance learning capabilities. A student’s education is affected by the following concepts of the classroom environment: choice of colour, type of lighting, noise level, room temperature, class size and decoration.
A classrooms choice of colour impacts highly on students learning. Certain colours used on the walls of the classroom create both good and bad moods; affecting student learning. Mood is a pertinent aspect of learning within a classroom. A student who is in a good mood and surround by others in a good mood will seek to learn and take in more from their lessons. Where as a student who is in a bad mood and surrounded by others in a bad mood will be reluctant to learn and seek distraction. Konza, Grainger & Bradshaw’s, (2001) research proves the colours orange, yellow, green, and light blue used in classrooms create a cheerful, sociable environment with minimal hostility and irritation. In return allow for students to increase the intake of information and understanding for learning. Opposed to the dull, white, brown and black colours used in a classroom that creates a non- stimulating nor productive environment. Hence colour itself is a vital part in encouraging comfortable and effective learning. Consequently the choice of colour when using in a classroom setting needs to be addressed as it impacts highly on a student’s mood and in return affects their learning abilities.
Sound is another concept that impacts on a student learning. On a daily basis the classroom encounters many amounts and different types of noise and can range from: classroom discussions, background noise, conversations and music. Nevertheless Marsh (2008) states that “sounds are all around us, however when sounds are unwanted they are redeemed as noise”. In order to learn students are subjected to conversations throughout their day, if not by the teacher, but themselves and other peers. The level of variable noise will alter depending on settings such as the difference between libraries to art classes. Every classroom has background noise such as fans, ventilation, discussions and conversations which is measure in decibels as BNL (Background noise levels). Marsh (2008). A teacher can communicate clearly in a quiet voice when the BNL rises to 35dB, providing a safe and comfortable atmosphere. A normal voice will carry well over a BNL of 40dB where learning takes its peak as information and instructions can be delivered and heard clearly. Opposed to anything over 45dB or 50 dB where a teacher or student must speak very loudly which in return can cause distraction, irritation, stress and fatigue (Marsh, 2008). Due to the circumstances of being subjected to a variety of different levels of noise within a classroom, students can alter between efficient learning and digression. This clearly outlines the importance of noise level in the classroom and its effects on education.
There is much research evidence based on the effects of class size that is redeemed to be contradictory, whether it impacts on students achievements or not. However there are many study’s that do identify the significance of class size and its impact on student learning. Such as, Larkin,(2004) who states “that by reducing class size, especially for the younger children, will have a positive effect on student achievement”. In doing so will build better teacher student relationships which will better their attitude towards learning and improve their education. The state government had taken action to reduce class sizes for example New South Wales had aimed to have class sizes varying from 20 to 24 students in the first three years of schooling for all state schools by 2007.Marsh (2008). The students within these classrooms will have the opportunity to gain more of the teacher’s time, attention and teaching. Allowing for more one- on- one teaching to take place in the classroom and time and attention for questions and answers that will enhance student knowledge and better their education. Rather than, the students being subjected to large class size where the teacher struggles to meet the needs of all his or her students. In return leaving the students troubled, unconfident and apprehensive towards their teacher, schooling and in particular education itself. Based on the synthesis of Course, Minus, & Passing. (2008) that small classes in the early grades generate better environments for students and these are greater the longer the students are exposed to the smaller classes. Due to the result of student achievement displayed in the government’s actions to create smaller class sizes, it is now more of priority within schools to act on the information and work towards smaller classes as it is proving to be successful. Based on government results and theorists, the success of the transition to smaller classes is outlining the significance class size has on student learning.
When assessing the classroom environment, temperature is a vital concept as it can affect student’s behaviour and in return their ability to take on knowledge. Marsh (2008) states that “Common sense would indicate that there is a fairly limited temperature range in which school students might be expected to work at their best”. She explains that high temperatures can cause some students to be irritable and uncomfortable and in extreme cases both lethargic and nauseous. As well as cold temperatures that may bring out aggression and negative behaviour in some students within the classroom. The temperature of a classroom can be altered through the use and implementation of osculating ceiling fans, oil and gas fired heaters and air-conditioning. Marsh (2008). It is the responsibility of the teacher to be aware of the possibilities of temperature stress if too high or low temperatures prevail and adjust their activities accordingly. Temperature is a vital aspect on the classroom environment. It can alter how a student feels and in return their attitude to school and education. Therefore temperature has considerable impact on a student’s ability to learn comfortably and efficiently.
A student’s ability to learn is highly affected by the concepts of the classroom environment. Students go to school to be educated and this education can be manipulated by many factors that exist within the classroom. Therefore constant revision and assessment of classrooms is needed to ensure that there is an increase of sufficient and effective learning taking place without distraction and distress. By researching and acknowledging that the classroom environment has many concepts to it such as choice of colour, level of noise, class size and temperature that all impact on how a student learns and their ability to learn. The school and teachers can work together to create a comfortable learning environment to suit the learning needs of students.
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