Thursday, July 21, 2011

Is Abstract Art Really Best for Classroom Walls?

Evidently the answer is yes, at least according to this post at dialogueonlearning.com. Give it a read and let us know what you think.

"We can greatly improve the physical environment of our learning spaces by adding colorful, visually appealing posters, pictures or other graphic images to the walls. Although we are living in a visual age, visual cues have been extremely important for survival for humans throughout the millennia.  In other words, responding to visual stimuli is hard-wired into our brains. A classroom that is visually appealing adds to the comfort level and can help to reduce stress and promote a sense of community.  According to Jensen (2000a), the brain is capable of registering 36,000 visual massages per hour.  Between 80-90% of information that the brain absorbs is visual.   Making use of color is very helpful in getting the brain's attention. Jensen cites a study by Vuontela in 1999 that indicates memory of verbal cues is enhanced by color.
Researchers "speculate that abstract art may be especially potent.  Because of its hidden meanings and atypical shapes and contours, abstract art, like abstract thinking, requires the viewer to 'step out of reality' and make use of more cognitive regions--a process that Rose (1991) calls 'tension and release.' The process calls for the viewer to take in the art as a whole, then visually and mentally dissect it, and finally put it back together to gain meaning.  This stimulates the brain's occipital lobe (which controls vision and spatial and geometric functions), the temporal lobe (non-verbal pattern recognition), and the cerebrum (sensory interpretation, thinking and memory).  Because more brain areas are stimulated and used than in routine observation, the brain gets a heightened mental workout which can enhance perception and learning, states Rose."  (Jensen & Dabney, 2000, p. 79).




If you were wondering what colors were best for classroom walls, the site offers the following thoughts:
"We have long known that color can affect our moods and emotions.  Most people are aroused by the warm colors (red, orange, and yellow), but feel more relaxed with the cooler colors.  In Brain-Based Learning (2000a), Jensen suggests that the optimal classroom colors are yellow, light orange, beige, or off-white, based on a study by Robert Gerard of the University of California done in 1991."


Hmmmmm....I'll have to think more on those colors....

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