How does School Infrastructure Affect Student Results and Teacher Retention?
Research has found that schools facilities have a profound impact on both teacher and student outcomes. Better infrastructure and facilities affect teacher recruitment, retention, and the effort they put in their work. And for students it affects their health, behaviour, learning and growth in general and academically. Without sufficient facilities and resources it is extremely difficult cater the needs of large number of children with complex needs.
Thus, quality of facilities is an important predictor of teacher retention and student learning. Establishing safe and healthy buildings is essential for the physical and emotional learning of students. But improving the quality of school facilities is an expensive undertaking. However, the rewards of such investments are far better than the cost.
There are four primary aspects of school facilities:
Noise levels greatly affect teacher and student performance. Excessive noise causes dissatisfaction and stress in both teachers and students. Research shows that schools in which classrooms have less external noise or disturbance are positively associated with greater student engagement and achievement compared to schools with classrooms that have noisier environments.
Before affordable electricity options were available, schools often relied on natural lighting. As electricity became more cheaper, the use of artificial lighting increased remarkably. Research has shown that artificial lighting has negative impacts on those in schools while natural lighting has positive impacts. One study found that students with the most exposure to natural daylight progressed 20% faster in math and 26% faster in reading than students who were taught in environments with the least amount of natural light.
Temperature affects engagement level and overall productivity of individuals of all ages. A classroom will be uncomfortable to work for teachers and students if it is too hot or too cold. To maintain suitable temperature for optimal learning, teachers typically need to be able to control their own classroom. At the very least, teachers should be able to control the temperature of small blocks of classrooms that receive the same amount of sunlight and have similar exposures to outside temperatures.
Size of Classroom
Overcrowded classrooms have consistently been linked to increased levels of aggression in students. Overcrowded classrooms are also associated with decreased levels of student engagement and, therefore, decreased levels of learning. Classroom space is particularly relevant with the current emphasis on 21st century learning such as ensuring students can work in teams, problem solve, and communicate effectively.
While making policies and school improvement plans, one should focus on facilities and infrastructure management of the school. While improving facilities comes at a financial cost, the benefits of such investments often surpass the initial fiscal costs.
This article is inspired by an article on PennState University website. Read the original here.