It's hard to believe some teachers and students are heading back to school already -- We've got 3 more weeks of summer here! I know administrators, teachers, parents and students are are looking for the same thing in the coming year - harmony and success for all! Using feng shui in the classroom environment is a great way to encourage a positive outcome for all during the school year so I wanted to send out a few feng shui tips for all the teachers out there. Even if you've already got kids in the classroom, some of these tools and ideas are easy to apply during the year. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
First lets start with a little background about what feng shui is. In simple terms feng shui the study of how the environment effects the people that live and work (and learn!) there. Feng Shui works by shifting the balance and flow of Chi -- an invisible, vital energy that animates all life. Chi flows in and around everything -- if it moves too fast or too slow it can have adverse effects on a space and it’s occupants. The goal of feng shui is to harmonize and direct the flow of chi so it's supportive and positive, giving everyone in the space an advantage. In a school setting this translates into increased comfort and confidence in the learning environment, more positive behavior and interactions, and overall enhanced learning opportunities.
Sounds great, right?! Here's some tips on how to create good feng shui in your classroom space: (Click HERE to print a summarized list of feng shui tips for the classroom.)
Use classroom arrangement to your advantage:
Teachers should set themselves up in the "command" position with a solid wall behind them/their desk and a full view of the classroom and entrance. The corner diagonally across from the doorway is usually the best spot. If that spot doesn't work, try standing with your back to the wall facing the classroom in different locations and choose the spot that gives you the feeling of ease and control over the space. If you take the time to do this students will see you in a more respectful way.
One you've had a chance to get to know your students, use the classroom arrangement to their advantage. For example, shy or vulnerable kids will feel more supported if they are away from the doorway and next to a wall, Kids needng more oversight would do best at the front of the class - with less energetic support from the room they'll look to the teacher for it.
Encourage focus by streamlining the classroom:
Not only is too much stuff in the classroom a big distraction, it actually slows the chi down and makes the room and everyone in it feel heavy and tired. Inspiration and learning suffer because too many things are calling for their attention, so kids shut down and stop paying attention. Be deliberate about the messages you post, the artwork displayed and the resources available. Less is more in many instances.
Movement is your friend:
Chi is beneficial when it can move freely and access all areas of the room. Opening the doors and windows at periods throughout the day, getting kids to get up and move around, or turning on a fan will help circulate this chi so that all can benefit from it.
In addition, consider changing up the classroom arrangement and decor a few times a year. Most kids will be energized by a new look. If possible keep some items in storage and rotate them in as needed while removing what you're done with. This can often assist in stimulating the student's attention and sparking new energy for learning.
Use color to your advantage:
Each color has its own energetic vibration that adds a different 'personality' to a space when it's included. Adding or reducing color in a room can change the overall vibe and effect behavior. Greens are good to encourage growth and learning, Blues are calming, Reds and Oranges are stimulating (use these minimally) and Yellows are generally uplifting and cheerful. If you can' t paint, use colored poster board, artwork and other decor elements in colors that create the vibe you need in the classroom. You can also choose to wear colors based on what you want to accomplish in the classroom -- if the kids are acting overstimulated wear calming blues, if you feel like you're losing their attention wear a pop of orange for a few days.
Stimulate all the senses:
Sound vibrations are an easy way to shift the energy in the room. You can use background sounds to set the mood, like playing soft music when appropriate. Or you can hang gentle sounding wind chimes in the space or add a water feature to encourage calm flow through the room. Sound is also a great cure to use if the room starts feeling thick and heavy during a lesson - just take a quick break to have the kids clap, sing or cheer. It will wake up the kids and the chi and get it moving again.
The use of aromatics to stimulate the sense of smell also has a profound effect on the vibe of a room and the energy of the occupants. You can diffuse essential oils in the room to create the mood you want! Be sure to use pure plant essential oils and avoid synthetic perfumes and fragrances. You can make a room spray, use an electric diffuser, or just place a few drops of the oils on cotton balls placed near the vents to distribute the scents through a room. To calm down the energy in a room try lavender or chamomile. Citrus oils like lemon, grapefruit and orange are uplifting and help counteract the afternoon slump. Oils like rosemary and peppermint can stimulate mental activity and are great to use during tests. Some oils have contraindications so do your research and always follow directions and dilution instructions. (I'm using a blend of lavender, grapefruit and rosemary to keep me focused as I write this!)
Bring in some nature:
Bring elements of nature into the classroom to add a soothing energy. Living plants, flowers, a classroom pet, and fish tanks can be comforting and grounding. Inanimate objects from nature can also be beneficial too -- including rocks, pine cones, seashells and crystals. If you have a student that is particularly challenged or stressed, let them choose and hold a quartz crystal during class. This works great during tests too!
Light the way:
Unfortunately most classrooms are equipped with overhead fluorescent lighting. Studies show that this type of lighting is subliminally distracting to the nervous system and can have negative effects on comfort and mental stamina. If possible, turn off overhead lighting and rely on natural light. Even if you must use the fluorescent lights, the addition of a few full spectrum lights throughout the classroom will be beneficial.
Use the bagua map to stimulate specific areas:
The bagua map is a tool used in feng shui to show where specific energy centers are in a room. You can divide your classroom into 9 sections and determine which part of the room supports different activities such as creativity, relationships, success, health, learning and more. Once you know where each energy center is you can enhance them to support the activities within your classroom. Learn more about using the bagua map in my previous post and download a printable bagua with instructions to use in your classroom.
I believe so passionately that the energy in the environment around us has a huge impact on our well-being and success! What better place to apply this than the classroom?! My hope is that these feng shui tips for the classroom help teachers to succeed and LOVE teaching even more - and help students succeed and LOVE learning even more! Of course, some of these tips may not work in all cases. Keep your students and their specific needs in mind as you decide what to apply from the tips above. Be willing to change things back if the results you get aren't working in a positive way. Thanks for taking the time to read through -- let me know if you try anything and what worked or didn't work for you in the comments below.
PLEASE SHARE this list of feng shui tips for the classroom with any teacher or school administrator friends that would be interested! Here's a printable summarized list of all the tips.
Happy Feng Shui-ing!