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Do decorated colourful school and classroom walls affect learning outcomes of students!
Of late, some rural primary schools are being adopted by corporate sector or civil society organizations and the school boundary walls and classroom walls being decorated with permanent visuals and cartoon characters' pictures done by hired artists. However, many meaningful are wondering about the futility of such decorations.

There are research evidences and my validating observations during the school evaluation visits in Madhya Pradesh during Education-for-All projects in 1990 were that the over- decorated classrooms with permanently painted visuals and codes hardly produced better learning outcomes and were a wasteful gimmick. 

An interaction with the meaningful teachers revealed that such inputs did not affect children's ability to learn which only affected by quality of quality of social pedagogy and instructional pedagogy leading to more time on learning task. 

Such decorations can in no way be work as substitute of the learning-material which should go in the hands of children to work on for their cognitive development. 

Some teachers felt that the money and time was spent for this at the cost of time-on-real-learning tasks and the rooms were termed 'lively' by the authorities and described as the act of  'money well spent'. 

However, some studies in India and abroad termed such inputs as 'gimmicks' and 'overwhelming' and decorated presentation of the classroom, in fact, bombarded too much of visual information that interfered with children's memory as cognitive overload and visual noise  for children that harmed their ability to focus.

Some private schools have also done so by hiring 'artists' and 'experts or consultants'. Recently, once again, the corporate sector is putting in money in government schools for their decoration despite the studies showing that such inputs hardly affected learning outcomes, However, the market forces are happy that the their paints have come into demand and tenders are being floated to acquire paints to decorate schools and local painters are being sought after.

Such things are all the more deemed as worst inputs in special schools. A study reported by Youki Terada validates the ill-effect of decorated classroom wall under the title 'The Research Is In: Dos and Don'ts of Classroom Decorations -What you put on your classroom walls can affect your students' ability to learn?" 

The study reveals that as compared to children in the bare-wall room, children in the high-decoration room performed worse on all tests, which suggests that too much visual stimulus can be a distraction. 

Thus, the display in the classroom, if it to be done, it should be minimal and related the learning task-on-hand that too in dual codes - not colourful real pictures or cut- and-paste overdone pictures.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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