The Psychology of Color in the Classroom – The Chicago School Review

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The Psychology of Color in the Classroom
If you’ve ever graded an academic assignment, then you’ve likely heard the debate and controversy concerning the use of the color red. Proponents say that the color red is demeaning and discouraging when a child receives the assignment back. Such discouragement could stifle the educational process and emotional desire for the child to learn.
Whether or not this argument has any merit, there is truth to the psychology behind color. In fact, educators should consider color to be an important factor in any physical learning environment. Not only will the right colors boost productivity and efficiency in students, but they will also help educators and staff be more effective as well. In fact, many psychological studies have proven the correlation between colors and health, emotion, and performance.
So what are the color suggestions for educators?
  • Gymnasium. Because the gym is a place where physical activity will occur, colors that encourage activity such as red, orange, warm yellow, light green, and lime are often used. Turquoise and other blue-related colors are a major “No.”
  • Auditorium. Whether it’s for school assemblies, talent shows, or community events, the auditorium is a place of dignity. This is why the primary colors for this room are violet, black, warm neutrals, purple, navy, and dark green.
  • Study halls and classrooms. These should be an oasis of learning, so colors such as green, blue, and earth tones such as brown will psychologically enhance the learning experience. Avoid colors such as red or orange.
  • Art, drama, band, choral, and dance rooms. The creative arts are all driven by colors that embrace creativity and passion such as green, violet, light yellow, pink, peach, and orange.
  • Offices. From the front office to the counselor’s room, the colors in these spaces should be thoughtful, encouraging, and relaxing. This is why colors such as turquoise, green, brown, sandstone, light blue, and black are often used. For a more corporate feel, blue, gray, black, burgundy, and other dark colors may be used.
Of course, while repainting the walls in your school are unlikely to dramatically change test scores, the fact remains that there is a clear scientific correlation between color in the classroom and academic performance. Aside from colors, patterns can have a subliminal or subconscious effect as well; bringing harmony to the classroom that creates a visual and mental focus point for students of all ages. Remember, color elicits a physical response in our bodies that affects blood pressure, brain development, and eyestrain. A well-designed environment will enhance the learning process and can remove personal barriers that would have otherwise have been a hindrance.
To learn more about the impact of color on learning in the classroom, be sure to read this study from Kathie Engelbrecht, Assoc. IIDA published by Perkins & Will in Chicago, Illinois. Edudemic has also published many helpful statistics about the influence of color in our daily lives, both in the classroom and beyond.