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.
Credit: Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash
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
> Improved learning for pupils with additional learning needs – It is particularly important to
have good classroom acoustics for children with hearing impairments and learning
> Improved behaviour – The surroundings in which children work and learn have a major
impact on behaviour.
> 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
> 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
> 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 to teacher’s voice, meaning that a deaf child may miss a lot of the words
spoken by their teacher.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Fabricmate
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 colours, which is a top trend in classroom
redesign. More and more schools are moving away from dull colour schemes towards brighter
colours to stimulate learning and prevent anxiety. It is important to note that colour also affects
children differently according to age. Younger children are empowered by bright colours 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 colours and better acoustics!
Credit: Photo courtesy of Fabricmate
Another latest trend is reconfigurable classrooms. It provides a more modern instructional
approaches 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.
Credit: Variflex® mobile acoustic partitions at Unam Oshakati School Namibia
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 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.”
Consider subdividing the classroom using mobile acoustic partitions with integrated absorption
panels or even integrated magnetic white boards or pin boards. 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 organise a substitute teacher, the two
rooms are ‘opened up’ into one and both classes have supervision and the lesson can go on.
Space optimisation 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 minimised through Variflex® mobile acoustic partitions, Varikust® acoustic doors and the GF
Serene acoustic glass system. With respect to classroom acoustics, a relatively small financial
investment may considerably improve the preconditions for successful and enjoyable learning and