Pupils and students gain essential knowledge by hearing and retaining what the teacher or lecturer says and through conversations in the classroom or lecture room. If the listening environment is poor, a scholar struggles to learn and retain information, especially those with hearing difficulties.
Firstly, let’s summarise the benefits of improving classroom acoustics:
- Improved learning for all children – Children can spend more than half of the school day just listening, so good listening conditions are essential for pupils to be fully included in school life.
- Improved learning for pupils with additional learning needs – It is particularly important to have good classroom acoustics for children with hearing impairments and learning difficulties.
- Improved behavior – The surroundings in which children work and learn have a major impact on behavior.
- General listening comfort improves the ability to concentrate – when you are content in an environment your ability to focus is drastically heightened, creating a better learning and teaching atmosphere.
- Reduced teacher absence – Teachers have more throat problems than other professional groups, not helped by having to project their voices over classroom noise in poor listening environments.
- It ensures listening technology is effective – Poor acoustics can be challenging for deaf children because hearing aids cannot cut out background noise. They amplify all noises in a classroom, not just the teacher’s voice, meaning that a deaf child may miss a lot of the words spoken by their teacher.
There are various ways classroom acoustics can be improved, such as closing windows and doors. This is not always practical though. Absorption panels reduce echoes and reverberation in a class environment. It improves speech intelligibility and acoustic panels can be fitted to either walls or ceilings. Speak to us about our innovative Fabricmate Absorption Panels, which have a fabric front with a layer of foam beneath that accepts pins for a versatile and modern display option, as well as its absorption properties. You can choose a range of fabric colors, which is a top trend in classroom redesign. More and more schools are moving away from dull color schemes towards brighter colors to stimulate learning and prevent anxiety. It is important to note that color also affects children differently according to age. Younger children are empowered by bright colors such as yellow, blue, and red. Older children work better in rooms with lighter shades of blue, yellow, and green, which are less stressful and distracting. This would be a simple and practical way of introducing color and better acoustics!
Another latest trend is reconfigurable classrooms. It provides a more modern instructional approach and meets various needs, such as small-group collaboration, large-group instruction, and individual study. With student collaboration increasing in popularity, schools and universities are moving towards flexible classroom configurations.
If you invest in a product that has acoustic properties, is mobile, and reconfigurable (such as our Variflex® mobile acoustic partition system), you are never confined to one classroom layout.
According to researcher Peter Barrett of the University of Oxford, “Flexible spaces alter the fundamental dynamics of teaching and learning, giving students more control and responsibility, improving academic engagement, and undermining the typical face-forward orientation of the traditional learning environment.” (Cox, Janelle. “The Flexible Classroom Management Option.” TeachHub.com, https://www.teachhub.com/flexible-classroom-management-option.)
Consider subdividing the classroom using mobile acoustic partitions with integrated absorption panels or even integrated magnetic whiteboards or pinboards. Flexible room layouts, no floor track, and two or more areas can be used simultaneously without disrupting each other or a large room can be created with the individual elements being parked neatly to one side or into a niche. This is especially useful if a teacher is absent. Instead of trying to organize a substitute teacher, the two rooms are ‘opened up’ into one and both classes have supervision and the lesson can go on.
Space optimization with acoustic benefits!
In summary: Speech intelligibility in any teaching space can be improved by fitting Fabricmate acoustic panels to either walls or ceilings. Exterior noise from other classrooms and outside activities can be minimized through Variflex® mobile acoustic partitions, Varikust® acoustic doors, and the Glassflex® GF Serene acoustic glass system. Concerning classroom acoustics, a relatively small financial investment may considerably improve the preconditions for successful and enjoyable learning and teaching.