Displays in the classroom… what’s the point of them?
An interesting questions… a very interesting question. It’s one which is debated heavily on teaching forums and twitter and is often something of a dividing topic between teachers. I still am not sure entirely WHERE I stand on the whole “display debate” but I would like to have my 2 cents, so here it is…
I feel like there’s a few different kinds of displays.
- Displays in public areas (corridors, hallways etc) which are there to show off children’s work to the world.
- Displays in classrooms to be used as “working walls” (which is not a term I am particularly fond of but I will use it)
- Displays in classrooms to do just that DISPLAY things.
Now, before I go any further, I would just like to state that I am more than happy to have a discussion about this should you have something interesting and productive to say. I don’t want you just to rip apart my views.
So here we go… I believe each of these different types of displays has a place in the classroom and would absolutely, will absolutely, have place for all of them when I have my own classroom. They all have a function that is valid and necessary to me as a teacher.
Displays in public areas
Walking down our corridor in school is a mass of colour and creations that the children have contributed to. Yes the teachers and the TAs have put them up and arranged them so they look effective, but the kids are the ones who have done the work that deserves to be displayed. You walk down the corridor and there’s art on display, a World Book Day display, Science display, History display, Poetry… Year 1 all the way to Year 6… there’s a place for all of them in our corridor. And this I think is important. Children need to feel like they’re as important as the rest of the classes in school, and what better way to give each of their accomplishments somewhere public to show them off.
“Working walls” in classrooms
Ah, hello “working walls”. We meet again. So don’t get me wrong I know these can be a really useful tool and I have seen SO many brilliant examples – I follow one teacher on Instagram and she uses working walls and they always look incredible and I hope that eventually I’ll be able to emulate her incredible walls. On the flip side however, there are so many working walls that are NOT useful at all – they’re not updated regularly, they’re not used to their fullest. I think if you are going to have a working wall then it needs to be one which you invest a bit of time in, you use it and the children use it. Otherwise what’s the point?
Displays in the classroom
This one is a bit of a vague category but it’s dedicated to those Science/RE/History displays we all have that we use for that essential key vocab/key facts but aren’t updated as regularly as “working walls”. Or they could be displays that you put up with information on for the children – for rules/expectations/helpful hints and tips. They’re still needed in the classroom, they still need their place.
So to round this all up…
Displays are useful.
Displays can bring so much life to your classroom.
Displays can ignite a child’s imagination if it’s done right.
Displays need to be used. Not just by us, but by the kids.
Displays need to be maintained. Don’t get sloppy.
Displays need to be relevant and appropriate. Get the kids involved.
So yeah… I’m sure there’ll be teachers out there who wholly disagree and that’s OK because I do what’s best for my kids in my classroom and that could be TOTALLY DIFFERENT to what is beneficial to your kids.