Environment and Learning

I took a photography class a little while ago. It was held at a local high school. I has been a few decades since I’ve even been inside of a public school.

I’ve never been a fan of public school. The only thing I can say I learned in high school was how to type. Now that’s a pretty valuable skill, but it doesn’t take 3 years to learn.

My time back in a high school class room seems to have revealed something both mundane and interesting: The chairs are incredibly uncomfortable.

Now that might seem obvious and trivial, but its not. Because they were so so uncomfortable I found that I simply couldn’t concentrate on anything the instructor was saying. Sure I heard him, but I didn’t have the attention to internalize it. Most of my attention seemed to be going to finding the least uncomfotable position in these chairs.

So my experience of a typical school room is that the design and planning of it physical environment has direct and powerful consequences on learning.

I wonder how much more I would have gotten out of high school if the chairs weren’t tools for mass torture?

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