Common ESL classroom issue 6: the poor lighting


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This may seem a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised just how many classrooms are poorly designed lighting wise.

Lighting issues can appear in these ways:

  1. Having too few lights generally in the room

This simply leads to a dim setting. Nice if you are planning on watching television or a movie, but it can add additional strain on the student if they have to read under these conditions too.


  1. Having day lights instead of fluorescent lights

Day lights look nice and give a nice easy feel to the room, but actually can be a bit dull for the process of studying and reading. Students need strong white lighting to help them see everything clearly.


  1. Having lights bounce of the white board

This is a very common one and something people don’t notice until they are confronted with it. Having lighting right next to the board is great so you can read the whiteboard, but it can also create a bit white spot on the board and as a result the light bounces off the board and makes it difficult to read what’s there.


  1. Having lights only on one side of the board

This is just a result of either the designer of the room really didn’t think things out vvery well, or there may be a wiring problem….something quite simple like the wires aren’t long enough, so we have to put them all on one side to reach the main. This is of course insanity, but seriously it happens.


  1. Having lights behind students not in front of them

Of course if you put a light behind someone it creates a shadow. You don’t want students moving their books around the table to catch the light at the right angle so that they can finally read it. Again – a strange problem, but seriously it happens!

I can say that I only know this because I personally have had to rearrange lighting panels in classes for this particular reason. Having a few lights in a classroom may be one thing but having them strategically placed so that the light is working perfectly for the learning environment can make a huge difference.

Requesting that your school move some lights around may seem like a big call to the management, but seriously, having been in that situation myself, I’ve realised that a lot of general design issues like this are often very simple to resolve. Just make sure an electrician is called in though, best to leave that kind of stuff up to the professionals.


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