My view: Hot classrooms lead to a decrease in learning

A timeline of what a student will think or do when in a hot classroom. Infographic courtesy of Cam Buhler '21.

A timeline of what a student will think or do when in a hot classroom. Infographic courtesy of Cam Buhler '21.

Cam Buhler '21, Staff Writer

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The first week of school is in the books and if I’ve noticed one thing so far it has to be the unbearable hot temperatures in a majority of the classrooms. How am I supposed to stay focused during class when all I can think about is trying to somehow not sweat or feel nauseous from dehydration? Teachers try their hardest to make the classrooms a bit cooler for their students, mostly by putting the fans on high, but all that results in is not being able to hear and having your papers fly across the room. These dreadful conditions aren’t only uncomfortable for students and teachers, but hotter classrooms are shown to make learning severely more difficult.

 

Recent studies from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) show several negative impacts of students learning in hot classrooms. An analysis taken by the NBER reveals that when classroom temperatures are too hot, students don’t learn as well as they would in a cooler room. It was also found that students who took the same test twice did worse the second time in warmer conditions. Finally, the researchers found that when a school year was hotter by one percent, it took away one percent of learning from the whole year. Obviously, these conditions are not good and can lead to many poor outcomes.

 

The new bell schedule, which takes two minutes away from passing time, makes it even more miserable to walk into a hot classroom after having to run to class. Having to carry a heavy backpack while rushing from one end of the school to the other just to end up in a steaming hot room is the worst imaginable way to get around. Trying to stay focused while in these conditions is near impossible.

The overwhelming temperatures in many classrooms are not only uncomfortable, but are proven to negatively affect learning. I understand that air conditioning is a huge expense, but if it can help students learn it should be an obvious investment.   

 

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