A change in environment can help students readjust focus

Criminal justice major Morgan Head doing her work productively at GreenWise on the second floor. Photo by Nadia Wilson

Students have transitioned into remote learning since last March, but they are still getting readjusted. Their daily schedules have been consumed, with an immense amount of screen time due to COVID-19. With the new in-home learning environments, most students are struggling to maintain focus during their Zoom classes.

A change of environment to better accommodate those extensive courses is beneficial to a student’s focus.  Students who normally attend class from the comfort of their bed or at a desk in their rooms tend to lose focus more easily than a student who has chosen a well accommodated workspace. Studies have proven that natural lighting promotes productivity, improves your health, and can have a positive effect on your behavior and mood.

According to the director of digital audience at BigRentz, Lior Zitzman, As human beings, we thrive in changing scenery — which is hard to come by in a monotonous desk-job setting. Studies show that trees, natural light, and outdoor air can positively impact our well-being.”

TiffanyPacker, an African American history instructor at FAMU, has seen a decline in her students’ focus during remote learning as opposed to in-person instruction. Packer believes that virtual environments should be conducive to being able to pay attention.

Being in bed, cooking a meal, or watching TV, for example, can create many distractions and take away from class motivation,” Packer said. I do think switching up professional environments can help. For example, log in on your porch or at your kitchen table, or in the library. Different learning environments can help keep school fresh and interesting.”

There are areas in town where students can go during classes or even do homework and study. These include GreenWise, Starbucks and Panera Bread, which all accommodate students with outdoor and indoor seating and free Wi-Fi. Jayda Miller a pre-elementary education student at FAMU, has had minor problems focusing during her Zoom classes, but she noticed that a variation in her learning environment helped readjust her focus.

The environment you choose to attend class at has a huge impact on our ability to focus in class,” Miller said. I usually attend class from my apartment. However, last semester there were some days where I went to Starbucks, GreenWise, and even the library, and it helped me focus, and it felt more like the real thing.”

Ritualizing an environment for learning can help reinforce productivity during online instruction. Coming to the same space to do work and attend a class every day creates a pattern beneficial to a students focus.

According to Time Doctors writer Amara Pope, Consistency is key to establishing your workspace and separating it from your home or recreational time,” Pope said. These rituals can help to separate work time and your work environment from any other space within your daily routine.”

Creating a learning environment that provides a more focused, less stressed, and productive atmosphere will help students stay disciplined during online instruction. While it is not imperative that students change their setting for Zoom classes, a different environment can make learning more refreshing.