The GW Hatchet
Next time you find yourself drifting off during a class, don’t necessarily blame the professor, the coursework or the four hours of sleep you got last night – it might just be the classroom that’s putting you to sleep. Students often overlook just how important classrooms’ environments are.
Students will have an easier time learning if they are in comfortable spaces. Students naturally desire atmospheres that encourage them to engage in classroom activities, according to a study conducted by the Ministry of Education in New Zealand. With an environment conducive to learning, students are more likely to participate and communicate during class. Unfortunately, some of the classrooms on campus don’t encourage healthy and successful learning.
The basement classrooms in Lisner and Phillips halls are not productive learning environments. Although renovations are planned, the current state of these buildings is far from anything that would foster positive learning. These classrooms are often windowless with bare walls and chipping paint featuring flickering bright fluorescent lights. Desks in the rooms are cramped and paired with uncomfortable chairs that creak at the slightest touch. For most students, including myself, waking up at 8 a.m. to head to a geology lab session in this kind of room doesn’t inspire them to engage in the material.
The University cannot update every classroom to be the perfect learning environment. It would be costly and would leave our buildings under constant construction, if they did. But officials should do what they can to encourage active learning in existing spaces by adding posters, keeping classrooms organized, arranging desks into tables to facilitate discussion and making technology easily accessible.
For most college students, attending hour-long lectures is already boring. The rigor of the course load, combined with having to take notes from PowerPoint slides, can keep sleep-deprived students from engaging with course material. But that doesn’t have to …