Classroom Decorations Impacts Attention and Learning

Well, I hate to say it, but it’s that time during summer when the countdown back to school starts. Teachers start planning for classroom and bulletin board decorations and school supplies are purchased and organized. 

In all the years that I’ve been a school OT, I get asked every year for consultations about issues w/students’ attention levels. While I love, love, love a beautifully decorated classroom, the downside of an overly decorated classroom is decreased attention by the kids….and, who could blame them. I would enjoy admiring my new, fun-looking classroom too!

Here is an article from the Association For Psychological Science that addresses the issue regarding classroom decor and children’s attention. I know there are certain guidelines and directives that teachers must follow for having a certain number and specific content on their classroom posters, so I know teachers face an uphill battle when trying to meet requirements from admin while personalizing their classrooms into a fun learning environment. This article does not give specific guidelines on what qualifies as an overly decorated classroom; just that there is a relevance to attention levels. There is a helpful picture comparison of the rooms used in the study of a heavily decorated room and bare room to show the contrast. My hope for posting this info is to just give teachers some food for thought about classroom decor and the unanticipated implications it has on attention.

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