When we moved last year October to Vineyard Centre, I never got a chance to really decorate or even settle into the new office. Exams happened so fast, and there were the matrics to help and then the younger students, and the time passed in a whirlwind of teaching :) However, as soon as exams finished I began working hard to update our office from its bland, white walls and sparse furniture into a comfortable learning environment that could create a feeling of positivity and motivation for our students.
I enjoy building furniture in my spare time, so I built a couple bookshelves and resurfaced the desks to provide an updated and decluttered look.
I also finally got a comfortable couch, ottomans and water cooler for the reception area. One of the most exciting additions, as least for me, are the new canvases in the offices. Before doing any of this work though, I did a bit of research on color and how it can influence learners.
Just as light affects the learning environment, so does color. One of the keys to deciding on colors for the classroom is to balance stimulation. A classroom should stimulate the mind so that learners don't experience fatigue or boredom, but not overly stimulate the mind so that learners feel anxious and cannot concentrate. I came across this chart in my readings, taken from Pam Schiller's Start Smart:
Creates alertness and excitement. Creates a sense of well-being. Encourages creativity. Sky blue is tranquilizing. Increases appetite. Can lower temperature. May be disturbing to anxious individuals. Inhibits appetite.
Creates a positive feeling. Creates calmness. Optimum color for maintaining attention. Causes a feeling of harmony. Encourages creativity. Enhance quietness and concentration.
Increases alertness. Creates calmness.
Promotes a sense of security and relaxation. Creates positive feelings. Reduces fatigue. Helps maintain attention.
I personally dislike brown and off-white and find them to be boring colors. I love bright colors, and anyone who has ever seen my place will notice that! Another thing I love is to hike and be out in nature, and I've noticed many times how calming it can be to walk in the forest, or stare out across the ocean. So I decided that the main classroom should be green and the second classroom should have a blue theme (to go along with the chairs I re-upholstered a few years ago!). I also wanted to recreate that feeling of peacefulness, confidence and motivation I always feel when walking in the forest or along the beach, so I decided to add a couple canvases to decorate the walls.
It took me a while to pick out and design the canvases, in particular for the green room but I feel I made the right choice.