Color Theory in the Classroom



Green, Yellow, Red 

There’s a common color method that teachers use to guide students’ behavior in the classroom. Using the standard order of the traffic light–green, yellow, red–the teacher will place each student’s name on a color. Green means great; you’re making excellent choices. Yellow means this is a warning; please reconsider your choice next time. Red means that was your chance; it’s time to discuss why the behavior is unacceptable.


Helping Learners 

This approach, using colors, is an accessible way for students to make better decisions. It begs the question: what are some other ways color can be used to make students’ lives easier in the classroom? An entire world of color theory can help learners focus and create. 


Filled with Insight

A study completed by Texas Tech University is a wellspring of valuable insights into color theory. The study is titled, “The Inclusive Classroom: The Effects of Color on Learning and Behavior.” An inclusive classroom is made up of individuals with varying abilities. It’s essential to understand both the strengths and challenges of the differing individuals to help meet them where they are.


Don't Overdo It 

To start, this may seem like a given, but a little color can go a long way. “Quantity of color should be considered in the design of the physical learning environment. Large amounts of color overstimulate individuals no matter the color temperature or preference.”


Special Considerations 

Not only should typically developing students be considered, but also those that may have special needs.

“Some students (such as those with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorders) may be more sensitive to color in the learning environment due to heightened sensory responses and strong visual processing abilities (Freed & Parsons, 1997).” So, what you may perceive as an energetic red hue might be encountered as a threatening fire-engine red to a student with heightened sensitivities. 


Absorbed Through Skin

An amazing insight, color isn’t just perceived by the eyes: “Interestingly, color’s impact is not limited to visual aspects since color wavelengths are absorbed by the skin (Torice & Logrippo, 1989). Wohlforth and Sam (1982) also supported this claim in their study. Findings showed that changes in the color of the environment resulted in a drop in blood pressure and reduction in aggressive behavior in blind children as well as sighted.”


Put Into Practice 

Considering all this information, it might be wise to incorporate a pale green, blue, or purple tinted glassboard in your classroom. Perhaps a frosted lilac gray Harmony glassboard would wake up your classroom in a calm, zen way. 

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