10 Reasons Why Improving Your Classroom Displays Will Change Your Life
Posted on May 15, 2018
Have you ever stopped to think that you spend up to 35 hours a week in the classroom? This is probably more time than in your living room at home… So why put up with blank walls, tatty noticeboards and old-fashioned display materials?
Having given this a lot of thought and talked it over at length with teachers, students and parents, we’ve come to the informed conclusion that giving your classroom a revamp will change your life.
Here, in no particular order, are the top 10 reasons.
Boost happiness.We’d all rather be in a space that’s comfortable, attractive and interesting. Create an interesting classroom environment and help your students feel as happy as possible to be there.
Improve attitudes to learning.When students feel happier in their working environment, they behave better and are more focused, creative and productive. As one teacher put it: “They walk in, see a cared-for space with smart, interesting displays, and show greater respect and readiness for learning.”
Improve quality of learning.High-quality display materials don’t only look great, they also have clever content that informs, stimulates and inspires. Seek out the best to put on your walls – they will reinforce students’ understanding, help them retain information, make them want to find out more and just engender a love of your subject!
Make learning relevant. Displays are temporary and so an ideal vehicle for making learning feel up to date and relevant. Look for posters and other materials with cool imagery and contemporary references that your students can relate to. You’re trying to capture the imagination of a sophisticated, media-savvy generation!
Encourage a sense of belonging.Displaying students’ work alongside printed posters and materials is a great way to make them feel valued. Ensure you recognise effort as well as quality when choosing work to display, so that all students are included and there’s a sense of belonging in the classroom. For even greater inclusivity, why not encourage students to help you choose and change displays?
Ease the transition.For an 11-year-old used to the colour and vibrancy of the primary environment, a secondary classroom can seem a bare, sterile place. No one is suggesting recreating the crepe paper adorned fun palaces of primary, but surely there's a happy medium?
It can be fun!Like many home improvement projects, revamping classroom displays may feel daunting but can actually turn out to be fun and rewarding. Why not make it a shared activity with the rest of your department and come up with ideas for improvements together.
Small spend, big return.We all know that money is tight in many schools. But actually, classroom display is one area where a relatively small budget really can pay dividends. Complement high-quality, bought-in resources with displays of student work and freebies (but check quality carefully).
Keep ahead of the game.All too often, how the classroom looks only becomes a priority when there are inspectors or prospective parents to impress. Avoid a last-minute panic by making sure your classroom is always ‘Ofsted-ready’.
Make a statement about you!Finally, like it or not, your classroom reveals a lot about you to students, colleagues and visitors. It's your space and should reflect your ethos. An attractive, well cared for environment conveys the message that you’re a positive, proactive person who cares about your students and your subject.
Where to start?
Spend time walking around your department’s classrooms with colleagues and try to see the space with fresh eyes. How do displays make you feel? What values do they reflect? Make notes, take photos and come up with ideas for improvements together.
Start small – focus on a specific area first, like the space next to the interactive whiteboard or a board at the back of the room. Do you have a cool poster that will attract attention? Is there a thought-provoking photo you could use as a stimulus? Do you have students’ work to use as examples? Is there a great quote to support learning?
The important thing to remember is that from the moment students step into a classroom, they make a judgement about the lesson to come. Spend time getting the environment right and you’ll get learning off to a flying start.