Decorations improve student engagement

By Mariyah Ramirez

Decorations in a teacher’s classroom can help create an engaging learning environment for students. According to Edutopia and several studies online, classrooms are often seen as a third teacher alongside the actual teacher and parents. Many people see the classroom environment as almost as important as the actual teaching. Lighting, color choices, and decorations play a role in how engaged a student might be in the classroom.

Common decorations on campus range from rules and guidelines to informational posters and student work samples. Some teachers go above and beyond and display certain themes in their classrooms that relate to the subject that they teach.

For instance, social studies teacher Carla Bacon has many history meme posters that bring humor to the classroom. Spanish teacher Miguel Pinto has many flags from Spanish-speaking countries hanging inside of his classroom along with soccer posters as soccer is the most popular sport in South America (and the world).

“I like the decorations in Mr. Pinto’s room because it makes me feel more comfortable and gives the room personality. They keep you from getting bored sitting in a plain room for an hour,” sophomore Emii Ramirez said.

Some teachers opt for a pop-culture theme in their classrooms. There are many teachers on campus who have movie posters and favorite characters displayed in their rooms. English teacher Melissa Spaulding has Marvel and Harry Potter posters as well as action figures on her desk, which make her room look more vibrant and colorful.

According to Sapna Cheryan who studies brain science, “Adding symbolic objects to a classroom can positively affect student performance.”

Symbolic objects might be motivational posters, inspiration figures, or even student work.

When teachers decorate their rooms with their students’ work, this often encourages students and motivates them to put in more effort since they have been recognized or to try to get their own work on the walls.

“I feel motivated to keep going when I see the results of my achievements on the walls,” junior Jack Robinson said.

Some students find themselves distracted by seeing all of the decorations. Research from a psychologist from Carnegie Mellon University has shown that decorations can be a distraction for learning. 

However, the traditional student response is that they enjoy seeing decorations, especially inspirational quotes and motivational posters in the classrooms.

“I used to think that decorations were distractions, but now I actually like seeing things on the walls,” sophomore Bianka Vasquez.

Although the decorations are the obvious way to see it, what really makes students more likely to succeed in the classroom is that their teachers make the effort to have a positive and welcoming environment. If there are decorations that make the classroom a little more vibrant and welcoming, students notice and appreciate that effort. 

Students aren’t going to do as well if they feel that the teacher isn’t putting their own part in making the classroom more welcoming for the students.