Displays: Are they for learning or for decoration? 

Nine times out of ten, you’ll find the best displays in college in the contemporary childcare departments. They outshine the out of date practitioners who seem to think that static displays printed in Comic Sans are the way forward; these practitioners are creative, dedicate time and effort to their displays and get the learners involved. So, why is it that childcare departments manage to get it so right?

They see everything as a learning opportunity, they have worked in environments where doors are used to display angles, name tags teach children the alphabet, images and colours are used as signposts for learning and displays are held in high regard! So, why is this not common practice?

Well, in many cases, it is, but if you are not taking advantage of those blank canvases in your classrooms, which can be used as prompts, word walls, unit signposts and celebrations of learning…then it’s time to change your ways!

Don’t have the time? It shouldn’t be your work, it should be a project for your learners…a learning tool! Here’s some ideas for tasks…

Task: How can you remember key terminology? Make a display! Use for starters and plenaries. Images from @EduKayte‘s GCSE English class.
Task: We need to monitor your learner journey. Using the marking criteria and design a display board for this! Images from @cazzwebbo’s classroom.
Task: We need to revise this topic, make a visual to help you remember what you need to do for each qs of the exam. Display it! Images from Karen Darvill’s classroom at Hertford Regional College.
Task: What have you learnt today? Display it! Images from @EduKayte‘s training session on using initial assessments to aid progress.

It’s as easy as that. Don’t stick it on a worksheet. Display it!

What are the benefits?

1) Learners will retain the information much more effectively as they have processed it in a different way.

2) It can be used as an interactive learning tool. No wait, it should be used as an interactive learning tool. (Down with static, Comic Sans, pointless displays!)

3) It makes it their space. Their learning space. Ownership can be everything to some learners.

4) Always check spelling! It’s develops English skills – capital letters for titles, use of punctuation etc.

5) It develops maths skills – measurements, area, diameters, scale and so on.

6) It’s a great activity!

To take every opportunity for learning, you must first see everything as an opportunity for learning.



Experienced teacher in all things English: I teach GCSE English Language, FS English at all levels and deliver bespoke training and qualifications in promoting English and maths to all vocational departments as an Education and Training Consultant. I have mentored many trainee teachers specialising in English and maths, who work for and/or complete placements at college, supporting them in all aspects of becoming a confident teacher of English/maths in Further Education. I provide training on teaching and learning to colleges across the country and am an author for Hodder Education, writing contextualised English resources for use in vocational areas and GCSE English resources for use in FE.

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