Breaking News: Kids Distract Easily

Art, by a kid (mine) that was hung on a wall (mine)
Art, by a kid (mine) that was hung on a wall (mine)

Those of us in online environments are familiar with the concept of attention allocation or attention as currency. A new research paper in Psychological Science argues that off-topic wall decorations in the classrooms of young students distract from the learning.

I’m not a psychology researcher. So, I can’t and won’t comment on the merits of the work as it relates to the body of related research. From reports, the study does use a small sample size (24 students in one class) and the same students in both conditions. So, don’t start yelling at your kid’s kindergarten teacher based on this study alone.

As the parent of a kindergartener and a recently graduated kindergartener, I was a bit surprised to discover that there was debate about the decoration of classroom grounds on its educational merit. Here, competition for kindergarten students is pretty fierce. At the same time, we parents are pretty irrational consumers of education as a product.

Walls covered in bright colors and cute art by little kids? That makes a classroom look fun, inviting, and warm. It distracts us too; and, before you know it, we are signing applications and deposit checks.


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