Engaging Students: Creating "Colorful" Lessons

Understanding the way exposure to specific colors can elicit certain behaviors, feelings, and states of mind in humans--an integral tool for instructors. Modern science has proven that colors have a large impact on the way our brains work. Marketing firms use this same concept as subliminal advertising every day--controlling audiences with puppet strings of colors and color schemes.

Here is a list of colors and the way they can be applied that can be very helpful when using visual supplements:

  • Red: The color red naturally calls up feelings of intensity and alarm, creating excitement. Use red accents on graphics or slideshows to catch the audience's attention, and to introduce your topic as interesting. Red accents will draw direct attention to your main--and most important--argument. The color red plays on emotion.
  • Blue: Generally, blue creates a soothing feeling of clear-mindedness. People are more productive in blue rooms, and the color has been proven to slow the heart rate. Blue shades are easy on the mind and eyes, and much easier to process. This will prove to be much more efficient.
  • Green: Science indicates that green improves reading speed as well as reading comprehension. Even putting a light green background or filter over dense material can significantly improve retention of information.
  • Brown: The color evokes reliability and security, as well as sophistication. Brown is a color of trust that people will respond to, and the information will resonate with.
  • Yellow: This is the color the brain struggles the most to interpret, and therefore can be used as a valuable tool. Yellow provides a sense of urgency to the brain that immediately commands attention. Use the color sparingly or information can be overwhelming, but it works great for remembering important dates, names, or even statistics. 

There is nothing more difficult for teachers than getting--and then actually maintaining--the full attention of their students. This is even more challenging when using audio and visual aids, especially because often your back is turned. Students tend to doze off during lectures, videos, and presentations--often making their use seemingly futile. This is where understanding simple concepts in psychology becomes incredibly important.

It is not reasonable to expect every instructor to have a degree in psychology, but many specific concepts within the subject can be applied in an almost universal way.


More about

AJ Romano

About AJ Romano

AJ Romano is a writer and poet, a mixed media artist, musician, and photographer from Central New Jersey--now living in Bayonne. He has published full length books, many blogs, as well as web content.

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