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Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

Posted October 27, 2011 7:30 AM

A research project is underway at New Zealand's Victoria University to discover if school classrooms, with acoustics similar to those of cafes, are hindering children's ability to hear properly during lessons. The university's architecture school will set out to find cost-effective ways to combat noise in schools, which can be increased by sound reflecting from hard surfaces such as glass, concrete, and linoleum. Do you think poor acoustics can negatively affect classroom learning?

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#1

Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/27/2011 7:54 AM

Yes. The researchers are a little late to the party. These have been in use since the 60s, and acoustic absorption continues to improve.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/27/2011 1:58 PM

What did you say? My IPOD has this great song playing. "OOOH. OOOH. Can you see my ears bleed?"

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/27/2011 4:16 PM

Good point. The little brats have the noise attached directly to their brains, and their fingers are busy texting each other. Why aren't they learning?

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#4

Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/27/2011 6:56 PM

The classroom acoustics had little to do with my less than spectacular public school education rather the quality or lack thereof of the teachers where what was most responsible for the far greater and measurable effects both good and bad.

So at what point will everything in the educational system, of even the most remotely negative influence, be eliminated other than the main problem of quality of the faculty and staff that accounts for what, about 90+% of how and what we learn?

So far we have blamed the walls, the lights, the floor color, the window size, whats out the window, who is in the class, the sound of everyone and everything, and the air itself.

What is possibly left to blame for schools producing stupid kids other than the remaining stupid people who they are expected to learn from. It couldn't possibly be so obvious as to be the teachers and the subject matter itself that could be the main reason for the overall success or failure of students, could it?

Nah. Its probibly something in the water.

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/27/2011 8:01 PM

You may be onto something... The water must be tested!

I have had both GREAT teachers and HORRIBLE teachers from the public school system. I learned a lot from the great ones, and next to nothing from the horrible ones, and you don't have a choice but sit through their horrible class, in early education. You don't have the luxury of picking your instructors like in the higher education... you simply get what you get, which can be anything!

I can't stand that teachers don't get paid based on performance, but rather on how many years they have been poorly educating our youth... A lousy teacher that's been teaching for 30 years gets hefty pay (relatively speaking), while an amazing teacher who's only been at it for 5 years gets peanuts. Pay them based on how good they do their job... like the rest of the world!

Ohh... and the sound in a classroom has very little to do (in my opinion) with what is taught, and learned. A good teacher will hold the attention of the entire class (even at a city park), because being a great teacher means making the subject at hand relevant and interesting.

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#9
In reply to #6

Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/28/2011 9:04 AM

If you can't hear what the teacher is saying, the content doesn't matter.

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#11
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Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/28/2011 10:21 AM

I can't stand that teachers don't get paid based on performance

It's being implemented as we speak. It's also coming to light, that teachers have no problem with cheating, when it comes to continued employment and merit pay.

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#12
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Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/28/2011 10:56 AM

It is because teachers are becoming paid for performance, that teachers now have an incentive to cheat. When a teacher must keep their job by having all or most students pass, regardless of the students ability or work ethics, cheating by all will happen.

Not making an immediate punishment of failing the students that do not learn is IMHO a critical root of the problem.

The other root problem is that our society desires mindless, malleable sheep that can be lead by the nose and genitals by the various skills of advertising. This allows useless politicians to be elected and for wealth to be concentrated into fewer and fewer.

I don't know if my first proposal to fail students will actually improve the average of those who leave public education. I also know that the political local and national attitudes will never allow my idea to be tried. My second point though is the real heart of the problem. The ones "in charge" prefer to have the education system collapse. Just look at their track record. The more they change public curriculum, teacher incentives and anything at all about public education, the average public educated student gets dumber.

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#14
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Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/28/2011 11:38 AM

Just so we're not heaping it all on the teachers' shoulders. Most of the distracting noise in the classroom comes from kids whose parents refuse to be parents, and expect society to raise their little brats, with no discipline at home.

My answer to that would be................if a kid gets 3 warnings, and continues to disrupt the class, the parent gets a $50 fine. They'll get the message.

My parents would have gone broke.

No, more likely, I would have been broken.

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#15
In reply to #4

Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/28/2011 11:40 AM

As you imply, some considerations may be out of line, but I wholly disagree if you mean to say that acoustics fall into the category of negligible details.

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#5

Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/27/2011 7:57 PM

There's only one thing I know of that guarantees that the students that pass a grade have actually learned something, fail those students that don't learn the material.

Now as far as acoustics, it is plausible that a noisy room where the teacher cannot be heard will be difficult for a student to learn. Even the most resonant room, if only one person is talking they can be understood. That is if the student's minds are open.

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#16
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Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/28/2011 12:21 PM

Individual perception of sound is as varied as fingerprints or voices. You write of open minds as though completely unaware of those who must concentrate intensely on filtering out interfering echoes and inferring meanings just to derive a possible intended statement.

Any true audiophile may have trouble with a given speaker in a resonant room, just as many people physically cannot fully appreciate music. Notice how highly valued quality audio equipment is for some but not for others. That difference is the tip of the ice-burg.

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#7

Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/28/2011 12:07 AM

Oh really, slow pickup.

Much thinking does not happen in noisy environment.

On the other hand, inveterate talkers feel right at home in noise. After all, that is all they emit too.

QED

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#8

Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/28/2011 5:25 AM

To me the best method to control noise in class room ,without damaging learning process ,and also cost effective is hay hut class rooms or learning in open ,similar to "Shantiniketn " by Guruvarya Ravindra Nath Tagor

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#10
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Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/28/2011 10:06 AM

To western ears that is Santiniketan, West Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore, nobel laureat poet (1913?) with Mahatma Gandhi establishing an ashram, that later grew to be a maior university.

Be mindful of your audience. And, thanks for the reminder.

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#13

Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/28/2011 11:28 AM

The sounds that echo in a "noisy" room can be very obtrusive to discerning spoken words, depending on many variables for those blessed with very acute hearing, as I was.

All that was ever mentioned was whether one could hear the teacher, never whether the sounds were distorted or overpowered, (so to speak), as they were now and then.

The best acoustics for me were always under the lower, 8' high ceilings. Never was in a classroom without acoustic tiles.

Some instructors simply would or could not modulate or appropriately raise or lower their voices. If too loud, some would distort/echo. I should have insisted on better speaking techniques.

I did well in school overall, entirely due to the able teachers. The poor ones really screwed up my learning of their particular subjects. Of course the able ones spoke well and the poor ones did not.

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#17

Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/28/2011 1:22 PM

I think a bigger problem would be "too quiet". Sounds can take on a monotone character and put students to sleep.

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#18

Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

10/29/2011 2:50 AM

Class room learning from the teacher is a focus oriented process. The focus of the sensory organs[ ears, eyes, reception & conception functionaries of the brain] are very critical. Unwanted external disturbances by way of audial, visual & other forms of distractions are likely spoil the effectiveness and concentration levels of both the teacher & students. It should be more like a meditation hall conducive for learning.

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#19

Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

11/03/2011 10:45 AM

Bring back "Corporal Punishment" and classes will quiet down quickly. Into the "chokey" with you all!

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#20
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Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

11/03/2011 11:31 AM

Yep. I had a teacher that liked to grab kids by the ears or sideburns, and yank them up from their chair if they were making noise, or any other distraction.................................he had a short temper, and it was a very quiet classroom.

Back in those days, you didn't dare go home and complain to your parents either..................................they would double any pain you received in school.

So simple, and yet so effective.

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#21

Re: Can Noisy Classrooms Hinder Learning?

11/25/2011 4:52 AM

PARDON!

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