Sherilyn Dulay

Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte issued Order No.21, series of 2023, to remove unnecessary decorations and posters in classrooms. This is intended to create a classroom
environment for the learners that is free from visual distractions. Several studies, like for instance a 2014 study by researchers from the Carnegie Mellon University1, a 2017 study by the Department
of Psychology of Durham University2, and 2015 research from the UK based University of Salford3, found evidence of influence on the attention and learning of young children in classrooms that are highly decorated. Although the intention is good, the visually attractive posters on the wall that the teacher painstakingly made and glued on the walls inadvertently becomes a rival for the children’s attention, as the studies reveal. The Secretary’s directive, indeed, are based on actual scientific research.

Because of these, faculty rooms and teacher’s chat groups are buzzing with comments and questions like, “Are we going to remove all posters and decorations, or are there some that are allowed?” “I worked hard all vacation to make my room pretty, now they’re telling me to remove them?” “Does this also include removing the bulletin board?” “Do we leave the room bear, or is
there a uniform color scheme?” “It’s easy to tear the decorations off my room, but it would take
a while to clean and paint.”

Classes starts soon and I don’t think I would be able to do it just in time.” “Can we decorate the outside of the room instead?” The DepEd Order is with good intentions, but the teachers, as well as the parents, should be given clear and specific instructions, and be presented with a “model classroom”, to address concerns and inquiries. For as far as we remember, the room we identify as our “second home” has always been colorful, interesting, and fun, and it would be a huge leap to transition into a room without the ABCs or the “Honesty is the best policy” posted on a wall.

Amianan Balita Ngayon