A LYS Principal asks the following:




Based on your observations in schools across the country, what is your opinion on the use of alternative lighting in classrooms?  For example, a teacher using lamps rather that the regular classroom lighting.


Additionally, do you know of any research that has been done on this?


SC Response

Yes, I have an opinion and there is relevant research on the subject of classroom lighting. My opinion and advice are completely in line with the research, and completely contrary to what I observe in way too many classrooms.


Classroom Lighting Best Practice


  1. Natural light is best.


  1. Soft light is better than harsh light. Note: If anyone is going to question lighting decisions and options, it will be Reading and ELAR teachers. Reading and ELAR teachers love soft light.


But, soft light that isn’t bright enough isn’t good.


The short version of the research is:


We are a light sensitive species.

The more light there is… The more alert, active, engaged we become.

The less light there is… We slow down, want to hibernate and fall asleep.


The practical, nuts and bolts application of classroom lighting research:


  1. If you have windows, keep the blinds open.


  1. If you don’t have windows, keep the light on.


  1. If you are dead set on using soft light, use enough. If the room feels like you are in a cave, then get more light.


I hope this helps.


Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…

  • Upcoming Conference Presentations: TASSP Assistant Principal Workshop (Keynote); NAESP National Conference (Multiple Presentations); NASSP National Principals Conference; LYS/TASSP Leadership Symposium (Keynote)
  • Follow @LYSNation on Twitter and Lead Your School on facebook.