What Colour is your School Uniform?

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 10:41:41 +0000


By Edna Kazonga

Does colour of items affect learning?


Have you ever wondered why some schools have earned a certain reputation (good or sometimes bad) which does not go away no matter how you change the Headmaster or transfer the teachers around? Could it be because of the way the colours of their school uniform are combined?

Different schools have different kinds of uniforms in terms of style and colour. The uniform serves as an identity, a sense of belonging for the school. The school uniform is helpful in terms of discipline, order and oneness. Pupils feel they are all equal before God and before man. However, the colour and style of the school uniform can highly influence general behaviour of pupils in terms of class performance and extra-curricular activities. It is therefore important for teachers to sit down and discuss the colours of their pupil’s uniforms seriously. The parents must also be involved. If the school is already in existence, the older pupils can also be allowed to say something under the guidance of their teachers. It follows that every teacher and parent should have basic knowledge of colour psychology.


The Psychology of Colour


In general: It is important for every human being to be interested in colours in terms of the meaning and the influence that it has on people and their surroundings. Colours have a purpose. Apart from beautifying the environment and maintaining uniqueness, colour is basically a kind of communication which is non-verbal. It is not so much the colour which has a definite rigid and unchanging meaning but it is us as human beings who associate colour to certain traits in relation to nature and experience.  Every individual has their own interpretation of colour but eventually, a pattern emerges and a general interpretation comes up. Similarly every individual is affected differently by colour but eventually, a general pattern emerges. You can talk to people using colour. For example, without saying anything, I could dress up in a colour which says any of the following:

I am in a hurry, hallo, You are welcome, I am sad, It’s a very important day for me, I am joking, look at me I am important, I am a nobody, Here I come with God’s anointing, I am the boss in this house, I am sorry, don’t touch me, let’s go, do as I say, relax! etc.

However, on the other end of the communication line, there may be a different interpretation as I have already explained, but usually communication takes place and this may often be done unconsciously. The mind will probably choose a colour for you to suit the situation on the basis of your experiences. You may think that you are never concerned with colour at all, yes you are but unconsciously. I am sure you will agree with me that obvious occasions call for conscious choice of colours.


Does God care about colours?


Of course the Almighty God cares about colours. Remember the covenant associated with the display of colours in form of the rainbow during Noah’s time?  Read Genesis 9 vs 13-16. We all know that a rainbow is an arch of all the colours of the spectrum which is formed in the sky (or other places) when the sun shines through rain or water droplets.

White: In the biblical sense, the colour white, which is a combination of all, is associated with holiness, righteousness, purity, virginity, spiritual empowerment and generally worthy of God’s inheritance. The white collar of priests against their black or grey shirts, gives me the confidence that they are swimming in God’s authority, favour, grace, anointing etc. Check your bibles in Psalm 51 vs7-9, Revelation 3 vs 4-5 and Psalm 19. White goes well with hospitals and houses of authority such as State House or indeed the White House.

Purple: In olden times, purple dye was very expensive so as a result only the rich and royalty could afford it so it was associated with wealth, royalty, authority etc. Please read Exodus 28vs31.

Gold: On the other hand even if gold was associated with kings and wealth, it was also used to depict God’s Glory, sacred items, royal priesthood etc as seen in Hebrews 9vs 4-5  in the Tabernacle and in Revelation 1vs 12-13. You can also check celestial beings in revelation 1 vs 12-13. Gold may also signify pomp and authority. A golden shade of yellow is a happy colour which is used in marketing. Some companies use a golden yellow colour to market their products depicting happy and comfortable pomp.

Blue: This colour is associated with sky (symbolic of heaven), rivers (life) and water bodies (God’s providence and mercy). We surely have fish and sea food. The sea has depth and a kind of stability hence blue shows a balanced upright orientation and intelligence. It may also show docility and indifference if we go to the other end of the continuum (light shades of blue). The natural things have a relaxing effect. However, you will notice that when a colour changes to a darker shade, the associated meaning may change. Take Dark blue or Navy Blue for instance, it depicts strength of some kind and nothing near relaxation. The dark version of blue may portray assertiveness, rigidity and perseverance. Commercial Banks love blue colour. Some Church organisations prefer blue colour for their uniforms. I have also noticed that schools love blue for their walls and even school uniform.

Red: Red is the colour of blood. It signifies the redemptive power of the blood of Jesus. Animal blood was also used to allow the lord to pass over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. See Genesis 12 vs 21-30. Red colour portrays, power, protection and redemption. On the other hand it is the colour of fire so it can signal danger, hot temper or undesirable traits. Advertisers may use red colour for quick sales. Red combined with black may create a suspicious outlook when worn by men but may look romantic when worn by women.


Where else is colour considered important?


  • Examinations

When printing any examination papers the colour is chosen with caution so that it does not affect the candidates negatively. The same thing should be done at school level even when dealing with mock Examinations or even simple weekly tests. It is better to write a test on the chalkboard than to print it on a colour that will scare the pupils.

  • Teachers’ clothes

This may be a hilarious issue but if you think deeply it matters what colour the teacher wears when teaching. The colour of the teacher’s clothes may affect some pupils’ eyes or even ears. Certain conditions may be triggered in the pupils such as headache or toothache just because of the teacher’s clothes colour. In rare cases, if the colours are in certain spiral patterns, it may trigger dizziness and even nausea if the teacher is walking swiftly round and about in the classroom. Both teacher and affected pupils are unaware of the effect of colour and colour patterns when such discomfort is triggered. Teachers who have been warned to consider what they wear when teaching have so far been very cooperative so it is not a very big national issue.

  • The principal’s office

The principal’s office is a very important place in the school because that is where people are directed to discuss development and other future plans. Moreover, parents who want to bring their children to the school will have to pass through the principal’s office. The point that I am driving at is that the primacy (first time) effect that occurs upon entering the office may affect the next step of developers or parents. Generally, schools are careful with the colour but a few isolated cases in peripheral areas need to work on the wall colours. They could be having challenges in obtaining suitable colours due to supply or even the economy.

If you allow me to brag a little, I am attached to a school where the Principal’s office has a good friendly colour on its walls and the particular colour commands authority, fresh air and superiority in relation to other subject teachers’ offices. It stands out!

  • School Hall

The school Hall in schools or the Youth Hall at church etc is usually a multipurpose facility which should be painted in colours that will embrace the activities that take place in there. For instance, the Hall could be an Examination Hall, Recreation Hall for indoor games, a Gymnasium for keeping fit, a movie theatre for educational movies or non-educational fundraising issues, weekend Church service and so on.

We do not expect the school to organise different paint for each event or season because it is practically impossible and expensive. An all embracing painting technique should be embraced so that Exam Candidates are not negatively affected, performance of indoor games is not affected and so on.

The issue of school uniform can be analysed using the above assertions for a lovely, comfortable and envious colour. This automatically breeds a happy culture among pupils translating into better behaviour and consequently better class performance.


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