Noisy classrooms can cause all manner of trouble. Pupils struggling to hear teachers speak can become easily distracted and their behaviour and school results can soon reflect this. Controlling school acoustics is essential to improve everyone’s wellbeing and concentration in class.
In certain room layouts, children don’t have to all individually be making a lot of noise to trigger noisy acoustic levels. Hard, flat surfaces reflect sound waves meaning reverberation of sound waves can soon become excessive and noise will seem to spiral. These issues can make it difficult for teaching not to mention make dinner time and sports lessons a headache.
Whether you’re a Head Teacher, School Governor, or classroom assistant, this blog sets out to give some cost-effective ways to control and improve your school acoustics.
1. Soft furnishings
Noise will reflect off any hard, shiny surface so think windows, desks and hard floors. So basically, every item in your school. Reverberating sound will continue to bounce and reflect off any surface until it dissipates. In this situation, noise levels can spiral.
Carpets, rugs and soft furnishings can help dampen sound by absorbing a bit of the reverberations. This will make it easier for people to communicate as spiralling background noise is minimised
2. Keep windows closed
Air filters, air conditioning units, traffic, football courts, nearby airports can all distract and disrupt teaching. A good learning environment needs to give children the opportunity to focus and concentrate, with as little opportunity for noise and distractions to disturb them.
Closing windows will block out a bit of that external noise so classrooms can stay quiet when they are meant to be, and children can get their heads down.
3. Ambient noise
Noise itself isn’t distracting, especially if you are wanting to encourage children to debate and work together. Unwanted noise is what disturbs children and reduces their concentration.
Playing quiet ambient noise in the background of a classroom as they get stuck into class can mask any unwanted noise. It also allows minor conversations to be easily ignored by those not intended to hear them.
As long as none of your children has hayfever or the like, adding plants can be a pretty and green way to solve your classroom’s noise pollution. They do a good job at absorbing sound in a natural and cost-effective way.
5. Sound-proof your partitions
Many classrooms today have retractable wall partitions in them in order to effectively use space when rooms are sparse. However, these thin wall structures can be ineffective when it comes to noise transmission.
Adding sound-proofing panels to these wall partitions will allow for chatter and discussion from neighbouring classrooms to disrupt each other.
This will also be great for your drama and music spaces when larger rooms being needed often call for partitions, but also where lessons are often the noisiest.
6. Acoustic ceiling solutions
If adding acoustic treatments to your walls are not suitable for your classroom then adding sound absorption to your ceiling could be a better option.
Like a carpeted floor, the ceiling offers a large space to add an acoustic treatment to control the noise in a classroom. Using baffles or ceiling panels are an easy way to add acoustic treatments while also keeping them out of view.
7. Use hidden spaces
Classrooms are jam packed with desks and these are actually a key source of reverberations due to their hard and shiny surfaces. But we can actually use these spaces for acoustic treatments too, by lining the underneath of them!
This is an effective and hidden way to control noise in classrooms as well as not affect the design of the walls, meaning art and essays can remain on display.
Ridged or pyramid foam is perfect for under desks, it’s easy to place in awkward spaces, has an excellent noise reduction rating, and kids won’t even notice it’s there.
Why classroom acoustics are so important
Key areas in a school where sound is an issue are already well known – corridors, stairways, dining halls. These long/large open spaces and high ceilings cause sound waves to reverberate (reflect or bounce) which means noise can be persistent, echoing around the room.
This can also occur in classrooms where hard surfaces such as desks, walls and floors contribute to reverberation. These reflecting sound waves cause your brain to constantly be working hard to make sense of your surroundings and where the noises are coming from. It is extremely distracting and can cause brain fatigue, especially in children.
As background noise builds, learning is compromised, and concentration is disturbed. Soundproofing for schools is a must; your effort will help deliver the premium sound quality that’s required for a positive learning environment where children are not constantly bombarded with sound waves from every direction.
It would be great if we had independant working spaces for every child in school, but unfortunately many schools don’t have the space to do this. That is why controlling classroom acoustics is so important.
Your school’s acoustic needs
Each solution of acoustic treatment will be different depending on the severity of the challenges in the space as well as the needs of the school and its staff and pupils. For example, SEN pupils require much less reverberation time and higher speech intelligibility than other students.
Acoustically treated spaces supply a much better classroom and school experience due to providing significantly better sound quality and therefore better concentration, achievement and wellbeing for pupils and teachers.
Conclusion: Contact an expert today
Our team is available to discuss your school acoustics needs to ensure you select the right product from our line. We have a range of products that include moss walls, cork panels, insulation foam, acoustic foam, and wall panel pro. All of these acoustic panel options can be completely customised to your colour, size, fabric, and other product requests.
Whether you need maximum noise reduction or slight adjustments to your classroom acoustics, we can help. We have helped countless schools and organisations improve their school acoustics over the years. Please do not hesitate to contact us today to go over our unique acoustic panels for schools that can help your students achieve better concentration.