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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET | The Importance of Childhood Environments: What Does the Research Say? | them to conclude that the most effective color schemes for the foundation of a room are warm neutral colors, such as tan or sand. Additionally, the wall that students see after looking up from working at their desks should be a medium tone within the same color range. Contrary to the preferences of many teachers, the research- ers found that strong or primary colors are not effective, and softer colors, such as pastel greens or blues, are preferred. Also, using different colored tape to indicate boundaries within the room can benefit all students, as well as incorpo- rate children’s individual color preferences in a variety of ways. Gaines and Curry concluded that color can impact student attention, behavior, and achievement, and it should be an important consideration within classroom design. Barriers to Change Quite often one barrier to making changes in a classroom environment stems from a human tendency to see things only as they are right now, rather than how they could change and improve—especially when a teacher sees many daunting limitations within the classroom space. A number of research studies have found that a classroom’s current arrangement of physical space has a great deal to do with maintaining the status quo, rather than searching for ways to incorporate more effective teaching practices (Woolner et al. 2012). For instance, Sandra Horne Martin (2002) found that the more tra- ditional configuration of placing desks in rows within secondary school classrooms was associ- ated with traditional teacher-directed teaching methods. This contrasts with more student- centered modes of teaching where students work at tables in collaborative groups or perform inde- pendent tasks within a variety of unique seating spaces in and out of the classroom. Established cultural norms promote the notion of a classroom having a privileged front space. In our mind’s eye, many of us carry tradi- tional scenes of teachers lecturing in front of the class; this historic classroom schema can serve as a barrier to environmental change. Such a class- room setup can also prove to be less effective for all learners. Many who teach in the classic classroom setting can attest that often students who choose to minimize academic challenge and personal exposure gravitate toward the seats that are farthest from the front, usually around the perimeter of the classroom (Montgomery 2008). From the moment the students walk through the doorway, they quickly evaluate the room arrangement; if the room contains rows of desks, they sit where they feel most comfortable and where they will be either visible or invisible. If the room is filled with collaborative tables or interesting seating areas that are scattered about COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL | 17 |