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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: classroom decorations

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June 2, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Too many classroom decorations may distract youngest learners

Education experts sometimes tell parents that the way a teacher decorates his or her classroom may say something about that teacher’s ability. A good teacher, the thinking goes, will cover the walls with high-quality student work, meaningful projects and other resources.

But what if decorations, even those meant to serve an educational purpose, are doing more harm than good?

A new Carnegie Mellon University research paper suggests that, at least for young children, an over-decorated classroom can actually make it harder to learn.

The paper, published in Psychological Science, found that children in highly-decorated classrooms were more distracted, spent more time off-task and demonstrated smaller learning gains than when the decorations were removed.

Here’s a short video of the report’s authors discussing their research, which also shows examples of both types of classrooms:

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Comments | More in News | Topics: classroom decorations, early education, K12