CAN CLASSROOM ACOUSTIC CONDITIONING AFFECT LEARNING?

10 Apr 2024
Blog

When focusing on the problem of noise in classrooms and its relationship with learning, it is essential to talk about the Italian physicist Arianna Astolfi . This woman, who studied construction physics at the University of Turin, decided to focus her research on the acoustic comfort of classrooms. The reason, his children. When their children started school they complained that they did not understand their teachers well. She decided to talk to the school and attended several class sessions in the classroom along with the children. He was able to see how stressful the sound environment was in those spaces, which also belonged to old buildings and were not built with acoustics in mind when teaching a class. This, together with the meetings he held with teachers and center staff, led him to begin his research and dissemination work on the relationship between classroom acoustic conditioning and learning.

In her work as a researcher, she evaluates the acoustic environment of 51 secondary school classrooms and monitors teachers' speech within them. He observed how this influenced the performance and concentration of the students, obtaining very surprising results, such as:
 
-       Student conversations in the classrooms were the most annoying source of noise, as well as intermittent noises, such as footsteps, were more annoying than constant ones.
-      Their work gave rise to the IO ASCALTO project, an Italian project whose goal is to help children with dyslexia cope with their condition through better acoustics. This is because there is a solid theoretical basis for this link between dyslexia and auditory processing in the brain, which produces a mismatch between the rhythm of speech and its neuronal activation.
-       He concluded that reverberation times around 0.75 seconds are beneficial for the teacher's speech when it comes to his message reaching the class clearly, as well as in relation to the sound effort that the teacher himself must make. with his voice.
-       Was able to determine the existence of a significant relationship between speech clarity and reading speed in children
 
All the work led by Arianna gave rise to an Italian standard that was approved in 2020, UNI 11532-2:2020. The standard defines the acoustic descriptors that represent acoustic quality, and the reference values for the school sector - communicative/collective - collective - small conference and/or multifunctional rooms. Although this regulation currently only applies in Italy, it represents a great advance as a reference for the rest of the countries.

 

 
Some of the consequences caused by poor acoustic conditioning of the classroom in which the learning task is carried out that we can list are:
 
 
- Difficulty understanding words : In a high-reverberation environment, words can blend and overlap, making speech difficult to understand. This can negatively affect the process of language and communication development, as well as the understanding of the information presented.
 
- Decreased attention and concentration : Background noise caused by reverberation can distract students and reduce their ability to focus on the task at hand. This can negatively affect information retention and active participation in the learning process.
 
Behavioral problems : Constant exposure to noise is associated with changes in children's behavior, including irritability, aggression, and difficulty concentrating.
 
 
Auditory processing problems : An environment with high reverberation can make auditory processing difficult, especially in children with hearing difficulties learning. This can result in difficulties following instructions, processing verbal information, and understanding key concepts.
 
- Hearing fatigue : Continuous exposure to a noisy environment due to reverberation can lead to hearing fatigue. Listening fatigue can make it harder for students to stay engaged in learning throughout the day.
 


 
From everything collected in this post, we can conclude that the acoustic conditioning of the classroom not only represents an improvement in the learning process itself, but also in relation to the medium and long-term health of the teacher, the environment. of the classroom in terms of student behavior, or a decrease in the levels of stress and anxiety of both students and teachers.
 
The technology offered by ISINAC through its acoustic conditioning solutions for the reduction of echo and reverberation represent a source of acoustic comfort characterized by being:
 
- Easy to install
- According to the design and use of the room, customizable
- High performance and low environmental impact
- Fire resistant and hypoallergenic
- But above all effective
 
If you have a project of these characteristics in your hands, or know someone who in their daily life suffers the consequences of poor acoustic conditioning in the classroom, do not hesitate and contact us, it is a big problem that ISINAC has an easy and quick solution.
 
Finally, if you have some time, I invite you to meet LEO, a child with hearing difficulties who tells us how his life has changed thanks to ISINAC acoustic panels.