Classroom lighting seems to be in the news currently so here is a free sample from Ian gilbert’s latest book Why Do I Need a Teacher When I’ve Got Google? that touches that same subject:

Chapter 24


Things That Get in the Way of the Learning That Are Nothing To Do with the Teaching


Although I wouldn’t like to argue with Dr Andrew Curran when he says that the most important thing in the classroom is the teacher, there are plenty of factors that can interfere with their ability to learn that have got very little do with you. Although, once you are aware of them, you can start to accommodate them in the way you plan not only your lessons but your classroom and even your entire day.


Lighting is one of my favourite examples. As I stated in Essential Motivation, on the subject of fluorescent strip lighting:


‘Apart from not containing the full light spectrum that our brains need, they also flash on and off around 100 times a second, inducing in us ‘stress type’ levels of the hormones cortisol and ACTH… In a relaxed state the brain is processing information at about five to ten times per second, which can be multiplied by twenty during prolonged exposure to fluorescent lights’.


According to one website I have found since writing these words, the range of hazards that fluorescent lights expose us to include:


Headache, eyestrain, eye irritation, fatigue, difficulty in concentration, increased rate of ‘misjudgments’ and accidents, malaise and irritability caused by noise, glare and flicker from fluorescent lighting, increased stress (which may in turn lead to heart disease), changes in hormone production, allergic skin reactions and dermatitis, ‘cutaneous light sensitivity’, increased risk of seizure in epilepsy sufferers, higher incidence of miscarriage and the speeding up the aging of the retina.


Although it’s probably worth pointing out that the website in question belongs to the Natural Lighting Company in Glendale, Arizona, it does resonate with findings I have come across elsewhere.