Have you ever wondered why you keep having headaches after work? Or maybe why you feel so drained? Do you ever think it's "normal" for your body to feel this way after a day of work? However, my friends, I am here to tell you that it's not "normal" for our bodies to feel this way. And those fluorescent lights that many of you work under could be to blame. Most importantly, if you find yourself answering "yes" to these questions, you may need to think about covers for that fluorescent lighting.
A Little Background Info
In 2017-2018, I was working away getting my Masters Degree online and teaching at the same time. During this period in my life, I was extremely into wellness. This was the point in my life where wellness was new to me. I was doing a lot of research about it. Trying new devices. Finding a self-care routine that I enjoyed.
So when it was time for me to write my thesis, I wanted to tie in wellness with my classroom.
This paper had to be long, right? So, I wanted it to be something of interest to me.
Just at that time, I was learning about the impacts fluorescent lights can have on adults. I had just purchased the light blocking glasses and was wearing them for a couple of weeks. I noticed a difference in myself. No more headaches. No more feeling drained by a certain time in the day. Likewise, no more feeling like I was blanking out while others were talking. Almost like I was in another dimension. I just couldn't focus.
I thought to myself... If I was starting to feel better with just these glasses, I wonder how these lights are affecting my students. What can I do to experiment with this? And maybe even help with this issue around the building?
So, I got on Amazon and found covers for fluorescent lighting.
I decided my research paper should be about fluorescent lighting and the effect it has on student focus.
Today, I am going to share some of my findings with you. I hope you find it as alarming as I did and can relate to this issue of fluorescent lighting. With this information, I hope I can help you feel better with this simple fix.
Fluorescent Lighting and What It Could Be Doing to You or Children
Fluorescent lights have become increasingly popular in classrooms. These lights are cost-effective and save the school's money. However, these bright lights have an impact on student learning and the efficiency of the teacher.
Students who learn in more natural light during the day perform better than students who learn in unnatural light (Cheryan, Ziegler, Plaut, & Meltzoff, 2014).
Many schools and districts are not able to provide natural lighting in the classrooms so the study, covers for fluorescent lighting, is of importance in education.
Data Before the Covers for Fluorescent Lighting Study
The past and current data show that students are off-task many times of the day and the data also shows that students have a hard time staying on-task for an appropriate amount of time.
During my research, the covers for fluorescent lighting were placed on the lights to collect data on students' on-task and off-task behaviors.
Current research on the lighting of classrooms says that the brightness of lights negatively impacts student reading, visual acuity, behavior, mood, attention to tasks, and produces headaches (Loew, 2017).
The effects of fluorescent lights show on the students every day. Many students that come to my classroom to read have headaches or they are just tired. I always ask if something happened during the day and more times than not students say nothing happened they are just tired and sometimes even grumpy.
The current data in my classroom of student's off-task behavior is off the charts. In one-hour, students were able to stay focused for eight minutes before redirection during an activity. During this one-hour period, the students were off-task sixteen different times.
When the students were given the option of keeping the lights on or turning them off for natural lighting most of the students' responses are to turn the lights off because they hurt their eyes. This data brought my attention to the lighting used in my room and how it affects not only me but my students as well.
My Classroom Setup and A Question
I have been teaching in the same building for six years in a small room where the lights are bright. The lights are underneath the reading table right where I teach at.
When I started to research why I might be coming home with headaches every day, I began wondering what kind of effects these lights may have on students as well.
I wondered whether if I felt this way as an adult whether my students were feeling the same.
This personal research has now turned into action research for my classroom with the proposed research question, to what extent do covers for blue fluorescent lighting affect third-grade student on-task behaviors during reading and reading skills activities?
The Results of Covers on Fluorescent Lights
My research question was to what extent do blue fluorescent light filters affect third-grade student on-task behaviors during reading and reading skills activities?
The collected data and the analysis has answered this question. When analyzing my results and entering the data into a bar graph, it was clear that covers for blue fluorescent lighting had a positive effect on student on-task behaviors during reading and reading activities.
Also, the data showed that there was a positive impact on student behavior during reading groups. The data showed that students can stay on-task for longer amounts of time with covers for fluorescent lighting than without the covers.
For example, students stayed on-task for 11 minutes without the covers and 37 minutes WITH the covers on.
Blue= Number of times students were on-task with covers off over a period of 6 days
Orange= Number of times student's were on-task with covers on over a period of 6 day
Similarly, the data showed a decrease in off-task behavior with the covers on.
For example, the students were off-task 31 times without the covers and seven times with the covers on.
Blue= Number of times students were off-task with covers off over a 6-day period
Orange= Number of time students were off-task with the covers on over a 6-day period
In my observation, I also noticed when the light covers were off student's eyes was glazed over but when the covers were on student's eyes were not glazed over and their eyes were more focused.
During this time, I noticed students were easier to get back on-task with the covers on than without them.
An Unexpected Find
There was a part of my research that was not intended but I found out. It was the impact the covers had on teachers who came into my room.
Many teachers who came into my room said they instantly felt relief and their eyes relaxed. This shows that fluorescent lights have an impact on teaching practice and student learning.
The data revealed that student learning can be greatly enhanced with covers for fluorescent lighting.
What Does This Mean for You?
There are more ways than one that lighting affects you. This study shows that you need to be aware of how you are feeling. If you keep coming home with headaches, this is not normal! Ask yourself what can be going on with your environment that keeps giving you headaches.
It's not normal to feel depleted all the time. Fluorescent light is artificial light or fake light. Your brain is not meant to process this kind of light. It tries really hard, too. But it struggles. The lighting can wear your brain down. This can mean a depletion of energy for you.
Are you staring at someone like a deer in the headlights like I did? Do you just go blank and all you see is black while someone is talking? This happened to me when I didn't have those covers on or my light filtering glasses.
Check out this post about how blue light and fluorescent light are messing with your sleep... Why Blue Light Is Messing With Your Sleep- And What To Do About It
This is not normal. Your body is trying to ask for help. Pay attention to it, your environment, and what you put in your body. Because it can do more harm than good. It's so important to pay attention to yourself. Your wellness is worth it to me, to your loved ones, and to the people you surround yourself with.
Give covers for fluorescent lighting a try if you have them at your workplace. Or... if you have any of these symptoms during or after work.
Brain Health Coach
Owner of SustainaBRAIN