Successful learning is invaluable. But in noisy classrooms or big lecture auditoriums, even the most diligent student can be disadvantaged if they simply cannot hear the teacher clearly.
Classrooms can be noisy places, considering hard surfaces, from the brick walls, solid floors, to the furniture. Add to this a bunch of excited learners chit-chatting and fidgety movements, and you’ve got a cacophony.

Although classrooms should be positive learning environments, it is rare to find one built with acoustics in mind. Quite the opposite – often classrooms are crammed into a building, constructed to accommodate a large volume of people. Thin walls and ample windows make it hard to ignore ambient noise from other teaching sessions or outdoors activities such as sports or garden services.

Glassflex partitioning at the Deutsche Internationale Schule zu Johannesburg.

Aluglass Bautech suggests five steps to address these challenges:

1.    Dampen noise from students
To reduce noise in the rest of the class, soft surfaces need to be installed. Simple and aesthetically pleasing acoustic panels such as Fabricmate have been proven to be very effective in addressing the issues of reverberated sound and high frequency reverberation times. These can be installed on walls and ceilings and come in a range of finishes.

2.    Help the teacher’s voice to travel
Traditionally, acoustic treatment, aims to soften noise and reduce sound reflections. Strategically placing or leaving harder surfaces nearer to where the teacher will be teaching from, in order to help carry his or her voice all the way to the back of the room.

3.    Isolate/Insulate noisy equipment
Try to isolate or insulate noisy elements such as electrical equipment and air-conditioners and not have them hang directly above the teacher, as this will hinder the communication process or perceptibility. If possible, move students away from any equipment that is noisy and disruptive in function.

4.    Flexible class sizes
Subdivide a class or lecture halls, using acoustic partitions such as the Variflex range. The individual elements can be moved through ceiling rail systems, reconfiguring a classroom in minutes.Benefits include: a flexible room layout to fit the size of the class as required, without disturbing and distracting each other.

5.    Reduce exterior noise
Exterior noise from hallways and outside activities can be minimised by installing Varikust acoustic doors and the GF Serene demountable acoustic glass system. Glazing windows is another option to keep noise out and create a comfortable learning environment.

Variflex mobile acoustic partitions at Unisa.

For more information or advice, contact Aluglass Bautech.

Aluglass Bautech (Pty) Limited
Tel: 011 451 8400

Aluglass Bautech – ENGINEERING QUIET SINCE 1973!

Caption Main Image: Fabricmate acoustic panels installed in a primary school classroom.