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Colors in an Educational Environment for the Learning Mind

September, 2018

Colors in an Educational Environment for the Learning Mind

- Ar. Kritika Rana

Naturally attracted to color, children exhibit a higher response to its effect in comparison to adults. No wonder play schools and primary children’s classrooms are much vibrant than high school classrooms. Colors have the ability to affect the emotions, attention span, behavior and ultimately the child’s abilities. Having said so, it is important to avoid ‘under’ and ‘over’ simulation.

COLOR TREND IN A SCHOOL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT:

The importance of color in a learning environment is often overlooked. Although function undermines aesthetics, color choice can be guided by color psychology. While some colors enhance absorption of information, some colors induce the thinking process. Colors have to be chosen in line with the purpose of the room. Color palettes should not be limited to walls, but extended towards furniture, ceiling and even the floor.

AGE CONSIDERATION FOR COLOR SELECTION

Children grow rapidly, making the task of color selection difficult. According to Frank H. Mahnke, the author of ‘Color, Environment and Human Response’, pre-school children (2-4 year olds) andelementary school (5 -10 year olds) prefer warm and bright hues like red orange yellow which complement their extroverted nature. Middle school students (11-13) and high school (14-18) students are inclined towards light and calm tones like blue green and violet which are relaxing and promote concentration.

COLOR EFFECTS ON STUDENTS:

According to a study by Kaya and Epps in 2004 titled “Relationship between color and emotion”, the emotional associations of different set of colors on students have been explained.

  • - The warm hue yellow is lively and energetic, eliciting positive emotions associated with sunshine and summertime.
  • - Green, a cool color is associated with relaxation and calmness and is then followed by comfort, peace, hope, happiness and excitement.
  • - The neutral gray is associated mostly with negative emotions of sadness, loneliness, depression, confusion, boredom, tiredness, anger and fear.

RIGHT HUE FOR THE RIGHT ROOM:

Blue: Blue stimulates the mind and enhances concentration. Hence, the color is so apt for science and math based classrooms.

Green: Promotes multitasking, thus it is apt for history and social studies classrooms and also social spaces such as counseling rooms and libraries.

Yellow: The lively yellow tones that derive the energy from the sun are believed induce creativity. Hence, such colors are suitable for art rooms.

Orange: Associated with movement, orange can be used to connote energy in activity spaces such as athletic facilities, drama and media centers.

CLASSROOM:

Colors in an Educational Environment for the Learning Mind

The atmosphere of a classroom should benefit both the students and the teachers. Pale and soothing tones of green and blue on both sides of the room will allow the students to sporadically rest their eyes. Placing the teaching board in a yellow background improves focus. Soothing hues such as green and blue for the teacher’s shelves keep them inspired and motivated. Bright warm tones such as orange and yellow allow a student to be more attentive and grasp new information with ease. On the other hand, soft cool tones result in relaxed students who can focus on the tasks at hand. Too much use of color can cause over-simulation, which could be detrimental.

TRAINING AND LECTURE ROOMS:

Colors in an Educational Environment for the Learning Mind

Turquoise, the greenish blue hue is believed to assist in the development of organizational and management skills. The hue inspires self- expression and good communication skills. Turquoise aids in calming the nerves of public speakers. A splash of yellow on a wall helps students retain knowledge.

LIBRARY AND STUDY AREAS:

Colors in an Educational Environment for the Learning Mind

A library is multi-functional – different areas of a library are dedicated for different activities. Colors can be used to define the purpose of the spaces and align emotions and behaviors along the same lines. Calming hues such as green and blue in the reading area generate a serene and tranquil atmosphere for learners to reflect. Conversely, vibrant hues such as red, orange and yellow on the lounge areas make room for productive discussions. Neutral pastel wall colors could help reduce over-simulation.

COMMON AREAS:

Colors in an Educational Environment for the Learning Mind

Common areas are important because they are transitional areas. The front entry hall can reflect school colors. Warm and comforting hues such as soft orange and peach tones in waiting areas evoke a ‘welcoming’ feel. Bold and energetic colors in cafeterias and seating areas induce enthusiasm and pave way for meaningful conversations.



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