FARMINGTON — How a classroom is built — from the layout of desks to posters on the wall and even the smell — can either enhance or hinder a student's learning experience.

With her book titled "Successful Learning Spaces: A Transforming Guide for Parents and Educators," San Juan College adjunct professor Aerial Liese said she hopes to help transform classrooms nationwide into a "power place" for learning.

"A child's (learning) environment really affects their learning," Liese said. "The space makes as much a difference as the lessons."

The book focuses on a multitude of topics including lighting, wall decorations, seating, shelving and air quality, which could affect the learning experience in a classroom. The book will be released soon.

The idea for the book was sparked by Liese's 10 years in a classroom environment. With a background in special education with severely disabled children, Liese said she would have to rearrange her classroom to produce an optimal learning environment.

"Small things usually overlooked can help a child and make a huge difference," Liese said. "I would make bread in my bread maker. The smell of chocolate chip cookies or pine could ignite sensations."

Liese researched specific areas into what makes a child more alert and how they respond to certain stimuli like colors or the type of light used to illuminate a room.

"The immersive impact the physical setting has on learning, it's profound," Liese said.


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"Especially when you walk in and the room is so overcrowded with desks."

Through her search into how the school system and the classroom has changed in the couple of decades, she believes the lost of educational focus comes from the increased prominence of technology in our lives.

"A lot of it is due to technology, students are so over stimulated with everything at a touch of a button," Liese said. "A lot of it stems from their inability to sit still in a classroom."

This is the fourth educational resource book Liese has wrote. She has previously written about connecting children's learning to nature, strategies for children with play challenges and movement based learning.

Her desire to write books and teach comes from a drive to make a difference in a child's life.

"I'm not pleased with what I'm seeing with the direction that children are going today," Liese said. "We're just not holding up the bar. That's just unfortunate."

Josh Kellogg may be reached at jkellogg@daily-times.com; 564-4627. Follow him on Twitter @jkelloggdt