Environmental modifications are changes done in a classroom or at home (for those who have home-based therapy or who do homeschooling). These are done not only to improve instruction but to minimize visual stimulation.  Behavioral excesses like fidgeting, not focusing on tasks on hand and looking at visual stimulation tend to be minimized too.

How can one go about environmental modifications to ensure maximum result when it comes to teaching?

Keep the room clutter-free.

Try to keep the room free from clutter: open shelves, posters on the wall and even on the ceiling. Use storage boxes and cabinets that can be closed to remove the supplies from eye level. Cluttered-free environment means less things to focus on aside from the tasks on hand.

About school supplies:

There are school that ask students to bring supplies to be used for the school year. These are gathered together and put in containers for sharing. Sharpened pencils go the same way too, as well as papers and glue.

This is more practical and less likely to waste time because the students would not have to rummage through their bags searching for the supplies they need.

There can also be a weekly schedule of a student in charge of taking care of these supplies: sharpening the pencils, making sure all crayons are present in the crayon box/jar, putting these back in storage and replenishing paper supplies.

Appropriate furniture

Cubby holes for bags, jackets, hats and lunch boxes are a must to keep these things away from the learning/study area. Books and other reading materials should also be kept away. School supplies can be kept in cabinets with doors.

Having these furniture will make rooms clutter-free and there fore have less visual distractions.


Bright lights can be a distraction. If possible, lower the lighting.


One of the ways to improve concentration is to have insulation in the room. Children tend to react to some external and environmental sounds like a ball game, a helicopter and even students walking outside the hall way. Carpeting helps though these might be a problem with students who have allergies. Curtains made from heavy materials can also help as well as cork boards on the wall. Rubbers on chairs and tables’ legs will also help minimize the noise.

I am sure there are still a lot more environmental modifications that can be done to improve instruction and minimize distraction. Why not start with these basic ideas and improve on them as you go along?

Have fun teaching!

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 29th, 2009 at 10:59 am and is filed under behavior modification, Being a (Special Ed) Teacher, Challenge Yourself, Lessons in Life, special education, Teaching Techniques. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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