Noise in the classroom: tips for better acoustics

Headache, tiredness and students who are not learning well. High sound levels and reverberation have a lot of impact. Yet the acoustics of classrooms often receive little attention. “While it is tiring for the teacher to speak loudly and for children, listening to the teacher becomes unpleasant, which is negative for the educational performance,” says Lennard Duijvestijn, owner of the Geluidburo, an engineering firm specialized in noise research in schools, among other places.

 



  1. Include periods with less noise or silence in the classroom.

  2. Make sure students wear 'silent' shoes, socks or slippers. Place felt pads under tables and chairs.

  3. Isolate. If necessary, close the windows during the instruction.

  4. Reduce the distance between teacher and students, for example by setting up in a circle or semi-circle. Place students with hearing difficulties close to the teacher.

  5. Use acoustically absorbing materials on walls and ceiling. Lower the ceiling if it is higher than 3 meters.

  6. Provide quieter ventilation and air conditioning systems. Noise can consume a lot of physical energy.

  7. Soft floor coverings such as commercial carpet can contribute to good acoustics, as can open bookcases, curtains or canvases on the wall.

  8. In secondary schools, use the classrooms on the quiet side of the building for theory lessons.

  9. More information can be found on the website of the Working Conditions Catalog under 'safety & health' and 'classroom noise' and on the English website: nonoise.org/quietnet/qc/ These tips were included in the article: Noise in the classroom from the Education magazine of March 2018. Want to read more? Download the PDF.