A&E: Boring walls and plain desks do not provide engaging learning environments for students and staff on campus

After entering their classroom, a teacher glances around at the walls. They look at the student artwork, colorful decorations on the door, and their neatly organized desk. While they wait for their first period class to walk in, they sit down admiringly.

Many students and staff at SCHS believe that classroom decorations foster a positive learning environment. In her first year of having a classroom at SCHS, a new teacher has decorated her classroom with the comfort of students in mind.

Science teacher Carissa Cayanan created a student center with classroom resources along with a banner to help students remember her name. Cayanan recalls her own high school experience and remembers being more drawn to decorated classrooms.

“When I was in high school, I wanted to be in the classrooms where they were a little bit more decorated instead of going to a classroom that had piles of books and nothing else,” Cayanan said.

Cayanan also believes that her decorations can have academic value for her students. She recalls using her plants as part of a lesson about photosynthesis.

“When we were talking about photosynthesis, I referred to the plants at the back of the room to say, ‘What are the inputs of photosynthesis? Think and imagine the plants at the back of the room. What do we need to keep them alive and growing?’” Cayanan said.

Spanish teacher Adrian Solorio has decorated his classroom with gifts from past students. He enjoys the memories these decorations hold.

“There is a small vase from Nicaragua, a small painting of Don Quijote from Spain, and a decorated tile from Mexico,” said Solorio. “These decorations have been given to me by some of my students. It is always nice to see them and remember having them in class.”
Despite the possibility of some students seeing decorations as a distraction, freshman Grace Muresan believes that the decorations hold academic value.

“In my biology classroom, they have a poster on the wall with the equation to photosynthesis,” Muresan said. “That was on a test and she had to take it down for the test, but I’d like to argue that it makes the classroom more fun.”

Muresan also appreciates one of her teacher’s classroom’s decorations and highlights their origins.

“Ms. Svendsen takes pictures everywhere she travels with the Nemo fish stuffed animal,” Muresan said. “It’s really cool that she shows off her travels, especially as a world history teacher.”

Many believe classroom decorations are visually and academically valuable, and they create an environment where both students and staff can work.

“I much enjoy a decorated classroom,” Muresan said. “It really brings personality to the class and helps you know the teacher better.”