By Kathryn Weber
In our fast-paced living environment, it’s easy for kids to have a hard time winding down enough to be able to learn. For the mind to be able to focus, it’s important for the learning environment to support the ability to concentrate.
Nowhere is that more important than in the classroom.
At one time, it was thought that a child’s intellect needed stimulation and this was done by using bright colors and vibrant images in the classroom. However, for today’s easily-distracted children, this visual stimulation could cause over-stimulation which can be an impediment to learning.
For teachers, this means classrooms and students may be more demanding, difficult to maintain control over, and a drain on busy teachers trying to cope with it all.
So, how can you support learning for students and keeping an orderly and positive learning environment that helps teachers actually teach rather than managing behavior all the time?
Classroom feng shui is one of the answers.
We know that the right environment is essential for improving a child’s ability to focus and learn. When that environment is arranged to maximize that ability, the teacher’s job is made easier, the students enjoy learning more and are more successful at it and with their relationships in the classroom.
These tips below will help you to create a classroom that helps your students thrive and help you teach more effectively and with fewer discipline problems.
Establish the teacher’s position.
It’s essential for classroom order that the teacher has control of the classroom. One way to do that is to arrange the teacher’s desk in the command position. This is in the corner that is opposite and diagonal to the door.
This is also called the lucky corner in feng shui.
This placement naturally draws the eye inward, and expands the size of the classroom visually by anchoring the teacher at this end, and it gives the teacher a commanding presence in the room and a feeling of support.
The teacher should have a solid wall behind her and be able to see the door and have a view of the entire classroom. This help the teacher have support of the classroom, focus their attention on her, and gain the support of parents, while establishing the her teaching role. Avoid putting the teacher’s desk in line with the door. This can create stress and severe problems for the teacher.
Set a calming tone.
It’s essential to create a calming atmosphere where the emphasis is on. Visual order is essential for lessening distraction and increasing focus. While many feng shui experts talk about classroom clutter, the clutter goes much deeper than excess papers and pens, it’s really more about visual clutter.
When the eye is distracted by busy, hectic designs or messy shelves, concentration is difficult due to the visual noise in the room. If the maxim of ‘what you see is what you get,’ a visually disorderly classroom can often result in low concentration and inability to focus.
Try to streamline the classroom so that visual stimulation is aspirational, such as travel, culture, health, or nature, for example. If possible, cover busy open shelves with curtains or doors, or move to the side of the classroom where the door is located.
Use colors of nature.
Toning down the bright and vibrant images with images of nature, space, travel, or natural elements helps to keep the classroom feeling calm and focused. Green, beige and brown colors are perfect for a creating a calming classroom.
Avoid the overuse of blue colors or ocean images as this can cause difficulties with emotions, apathy, colds, and respiratory illness. Children may find that they lack motivation in the presence of too much blue color or excess watery images.
To ground active children, use colors such as beige, terracotta, or yellow. Yellow is the color of intelligence, making it a wonderful color that’s both grounding and enlightening. Use this color in the northeast, center, or southwest corners of the classroom.
When we try to recover a memory or think, we roll our eyes upward to engage our mind. One way to engage a child’s thought process is the help them look upwards. This can be done by decorating the ceilings with stars, a bright sun in the center of the classroom ceiling, or images of nature.
Mobiles are another way to stimulate a child’s mind when they’re hung from the ceiling. Simple colors and shapes are best for this.
Make the south corner of your classroom the fame and recognition spot for your classroom. This is the perfect location to recognize a student or students for their achievement, or just to place their photos on a board as a member of the class. Make this the “recognition station” where students can receive treats, gold stars or as a place to spotlight members of the class.
Enhance the education corner.
This is the northeast corner of the classroom and it relates to the mind. However, the body part that is associated with the mind also needs to be stimulated – and that’s the hands. The hands are the external portion of our minds.
Help students to focus by learning sign language, keyboard, macramé, or anything that helps them exercise their hands, because this helps to engage their mind. It’s also one of the reasons why musicians are often better students in the STEM classes – because they use their hands to play an instrument.
This is a terrific area to teach students typing, learning calligraphy, painting, or anything that engages their hands.
The northeast corner is also a good location for a reading corner. This is a terrific corner of the classroom for students to learn meditation, escape with a good book, or do something contemplative, such as coloring.
The earth is one of the best ways to help students learn and to keep them focused. Place images of maps, globes, pictures of the earth, and mountains to help ground students and keep their attention to their subjects. These images should be placed in the northeast and southwest corners of the classroom.
The southwest corner is also the corner of the classroom that represents the female teacher. Stones, crystals and geology projects all work well in this corner.
This is a good area for working with problems, resolution skills, or working on relationship and inter-personal skills. Adding grounding symbols, such as a globe, help cement the teacher’s position in the class as well as focusing the students.
Start learning at the door.
Your doorway is a critical part of your home’s feng shui. The same is true of your classroom. Enhance the classroom by enhancing your doorway with a nature theme or a theme related to the corner where your door is located.
For instance, if your doorway is located in the east corner of your classroom, any nature themed entrance would be perfect here. A learning rainforest them could start with a stump and branches decorated with leaves and jungle creatures. Make your doorway make a statement for what your room is about such as space exploration, the earth and cultures, or education and learning.
What shouldn’t you add to a classroom?
A fountain. Rather than being calming and relaxing, the sound of the running water can become distracting and that can disrupt learning. A fountain can also create low motivation for learning and classroom apathy. An image of water or an aquarium would be much better than a fountain.
Keep the flow going.
Help keep energy moving in your classroom by keeping desks and tables pulled out to the center of the room. Try to avoid having work tables pushed up against walls. By doing this, energy can move around the classroom and that helps promote energy for learning.
Use the classroom bagua.
This is the map of colors, elements, and activities associated with each corner. Determine your corners by making a diagram of your classroom. Then, standing in the center of your classroom and using a standard camping compass, find the north and south line.
Assign the north and south corners. Next, assign the remaining six corners based on the actual north corner. These corners will use the energies from the actual compass directions to enhance your classroom.