Imagine it’s the peak of the summer season, and you’re at your current place of employment. Here’s the catch: all the water fountains are broken, the air conditioning gave out, and most of the windows in the building are broken and cannot be opened.
Same goes for the windows on your transportation. Your employer has indicated that the budget cannot afford to purchase your team fans, nor can she do anything about the incessant, nearly deafening drilling and banging and yelling and crashing heard just across the street at a construction site working on a retail development.
How do you feel you would perform at this location on any given day? What might be your barriers? How would such an environment make you feel about your value as a contributor to the company? Your worth as an employee? How do such messages about our values influence our thoughts, our behavior, and our performance?
Truly, there exist a limitless number of factors that impact academic achievement in any school, at any grade level, on any given day. Not only are there literally thousands of factors influencing our children’s ability to learn, but these factors are all related and impact one another.
There are varying degrees of expertise, passion, and implementation from teachers and faculty. There is the role materials play in cognitive growth and academic achievement and the influence that available technologies have upon student learning mastery in any given domain.
There are policies and programming and curricula and coursework, but studies are finding that perhaps above all other contributors, the environment may be having the most significant impact.
A recent article in ChalkBeat explores the recent literature examining the role environment plays in the overall success of our students. It touches upon the potential that President Biden’s recent call to action for our nation’s educational infrastructure to improve the learning environments we provide our children.
The implications are enormous and thrilling for public servants across the country. Still, they will only hold promise if states and districts elect to utilize funding gains with fidelity and always, always with our children and their needs at the forefront of our minds.