As any student or teacher can attest, there are few things less comfortable and cozy-feeling than fluorescent lighting. However, because of its energy efficiency and versatility, most classrooms are outfitted with fluorescent ceiling lights as the primary light source. While you might not be able to completely ditch the available lighting, there are some ways to improve the mood in the classroom using a combination of tools and additional light sources. Check out the following lighting solutions available for classrooms.
How Does Lighting Affect the Classroom?
Light is an incredibly important factor when it comes to increasing or decreasing feelings of alertness and focus. The sun activates natural circadian rhythms that tell us when to be awake and when to be asleep. In a similar way, the lighting in a classroom impacts students and educators as they attempt to share information and learn in an environment with conflicting lighting.
Natural light has been shown to have the greatest positive impact on the focus and attention of students, but many classrooms don’t have access to natural light. Most classrooms are also brightly lit by fluorescent bulbs which are shown to increase feelings of anxiety and headaches. Both of these things are not beneficial to learning.
In a classroom with filtered or well-designed lighting, students may experience more feelings of calm and focus. The right combination of natural and artificial lighting may even work together to put students and teachers in a better mood.
Generally speaking, warmer light makes a space feel cozy, while whiter light can feel more task-oriented. In a similar vein, indirect lighting is softer and can feel more calming, while direct downward-facing lighting may feel more aggressive.
Lighting Solutions for Added Productivity
So what are the options for educators looking to improve the mood in the classroom? Fortunately, there are several different ways to create better lighting.
Invest in New Lights
If you are fortunate enough to have the influence or budget, request a change in lighting for your classroom. Whether this means completely ditching fluorescent ceiling lights, or even just purchasing some additional lighting fixtures, the change will help to positively change the mood of your classroom space.
Replace Light Bulbs in Current Lights
If buying new light fixtures is not an option, it might be worth considering simply replacing the light bulbs. Full-spectrum lights offer a more natural-daylight-like experience and are said to put less strain on students’ eyes and give the room a more focused vibe.
If replacing bulbs or light fixtures is out of the question, many teachers have used and appreciated the effects of a light filter. Flame-retardant cloth hung below the standard fluorescent lighting comes in a variety of colors, offering options for muting some of the aggressive-feeling rays that can cause anxiety or headaches. Cozy Shades come in seasonal colors and designs as well, making them both a functional and stylish option for classrooms.
Here are some examples of teachers who have taken classroom lighting into their own hands, helping to make their teaching spaces more calming: