If you don’t mind, I’m going to spill a quick rant and stand on a mini soapbox. Why? Because the subject seems painfully obvious to me, and I’m not the smartest person making rules around here.
Really… how is it that the educational system, the school districts that be, the decision makers, building designers and anyone who has a say, have not figured out that replacing the fluorescent lighting with something less… sharp? Stinging? Painful? Distracting? Agitating… would be in the best interests of the students? If it’s in the best interests of the students, then:
- Student are more willing to learn
- Student are able to learn
- Test scores increase
- Teachers are taking less time to deal with the hyperactive responses to the classroom environment
- Teachers (and school administrators) are taking less time to handle behavioral problems (that likely have be exaggerated or begun by the effects of poor lighting)
Studies have been around. Studies are well documented. Everyone talks about it.
“Schools, classrooms and other work environments where people spend time learning and working under simulated sunlight (full spectrum lighting and color) experience less stress and anxiety, improved behavior and attitudes, improved health and attendance, and increased performance and academic achievement.
Research in the use of light in schools has shown that cool-white fluorescent bulbs, (which are used in virtually all classrooms) cause: bodily stress, anxiety, hyper-activity, attention problems and other distress leading to poor learning performance.” – Full Spectrum Solution
“The Human Ecological Sociological Economic (HESE) Project determined that fluorescent light can exacerbate symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, thus diminishing on-task concentration.” – The Effects of Fluorescent Lighting on Learning
“NCEF’s (National Clearinghouse for Education) report states that, in terms of lighting, there are seven independent studies indicating that classroom lighting affects student performance. These reports also document that there are optimal lighting levels for learning, that appropriate lighting improves test scores and reduces poor behavior, and that daylight fosters higher student achievement. Clearly, correct illumination is a critical component of teaching and learning.” – School Planning & Management
Yet, buildings continue to be designed with less expensive lighting. Maybe it’s an energy issue? While I’m all about energy savings, I’m also all about helping kids be the best they can be at any given moment in time.
I’m left to reflect upon a recent time when I was taking a class in a room with fluorescent lighting, looking at a white sheet of paper with deeply contrasting black ink, surrounded by white walls. My eyes hurt. My head hurt. I wanted to do anything but look at my white paper. And I’m an adult. Without any notable sensory processing issues. I’m an adult that has been systematically (supposedly) desensitized to fluorescent lighting and have developed the coping skills to get through. Yet, I was having difficulty.
Still, children, are children… just learning to develop their coping skills to a whole host of things in this world. So why wouldn’t we make their learning environment, the place where they spend 80% or more of their days, conducive to learning? Why would we allow them obvious distractions when our goal is their focus? Am I just not smart enough to get this one?
That’s it. That’s my vent. I’ll stand aside now and allow you to step up on my soap box. Set me straight or vent with me.
Effects of Flourescent Lighting on School Children
ERIC: Do School Facilities Effect Educational Outcomes?
Natural Lighting: A Study in the Effects of Lighting on School Children
Light Up Your Classroom
Classroom Tips From Current Brain Research – letsgetengaged
CLASSROOM LIGHTING DESIGN FOR STUDENTS WITH AUTISM …
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