Sunday, June 2, 2013

Keeping it cool

It is hard to pay attention when you are not comfortable. It is hard to feel welcome when you are sweating (how long can you sit at a sauna?). It is hard to want to go to school if you know you are going to sit in a crowded and hot classroom and perhaps deal with a teacher that might be a bit cranky because he or she knows people that work in more comfortable workplaces -anyone who's ever been at a mall, movie theater, or a corporate office knows that-.

Sara Mosle brings up an important variable which might explain achievement differences between schools and perhaps between states. As I have stated before, there are many environmental variables  intervening in academic outcomes that can be corrected in a very straightforward way, unlike pedagogical perspectives and practices. Just allow people to be comfortable and they will be more productive. Studies of work places show that they need to be slightly cold to keep people alert and productive. Some exaggerate and over-cool their offices explaining that computers need to be cool and in doing that, forgetting about the humans working for them and the health of the planet.

I am glad Sara brought up environmental concerns because, as the planet gets warmer, we have to find alternative ways to cool our built environments that will not contribute to the very thing they are trying to remedy. This article makes us think about the physical environment of public schools, so often overlooked.