Archives of Acoustics, 45, 3, pp. 401–417, 2020
10.24425/aoa.2020.134057

Teachers’ and Students’ Assessment of the Influence of School Rooms Acoustic Treatment on Their Performance and Wellbeing

Irena POLEWCZYK
University of Silesia in Katowicach
Poland

Miokołaj JAROSZ
Ecophon
Poland

The paper presents the latest research results concerning the correlation between changes in the room acoustics of school spaces and noticeable changes in the communication and functioning of students and teachers at school.

The primary school covered by the research is the second largest school of this type in Poland. The large number of students and hard interior finishing made the acoustic conditions in the school building very unfavourable. The measurements showed that school rooms were very noisy and reverberant. The measured values of reverberation time T were in many rooms 3–4 times higher than the acceptable values specified in the mandatory Polish acoustic standard PN-B-02151-4:2015-06. Also the speech intelligibility measured by the speech transmission index was very poor, in the extreme case STI = 0:31. This situation (very characteristic for most of Polish schools) became the basis for the first such comprehensive acoustic treatment of the whole school building in Poland. This intervention allowed to meet PN-B-02151-4:2015-06 demands almost in every room accessible for students. This case gave an excellent opportunity to assess the influence of improved room acoustics on teachers’ and students’ performance and wellbeing.

Measurements of the equivalent sound level LAeq, reverberation time T and STI speech transmission index were made before and after acoustic treatment. The questionnaire survey used the Acoustic Change Feelings Scale (ACFS-S, ACFS-T) for teachers and students. 378 students, and 44 teachers were included in the study. Both students’ and teachers’ answers show significant improvement of their performance and wellbeing. Positive changes were noticed in students’ level of concentration, short memory capacity and pace of work. After acoustic treatment students (both in teachers’ and their own opinion) can better hear and understand teachers’ instructions and are much more capable of task fulfilling. Both teachers and students observed clear reduction of aggression level. Teachers reported considerable drop in students’ fatigue and their own voice effort.
Keywords: acoustic treatment of school rooms; changes in the functioning of students and teachers; acoustic change feelings scale
Full Text: PDF

References

Ali S. (2013), Study effects of school noise on learning achievement and annoyance in Assiut city, Egypt, Applied Acoustics, 74(4): 602–606, doi: 0.1016/j.apacoust.2012.10.011.

Ana G., Shendell D., Brown G., Sridhar M. (2009), Assessment of noise and associated health impacts at selected secondary schools in Ibadan, Nigeria, Journal of Environmental and Public Health, doi: 10.1155%2F2009%2F739502.

Astolfi A., Pellerey F. (2008), Subjective and objective assessment of acoustical and overall environmental quality in secondary school classrooms, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 123(1): 163–172, doi:10.1121/1.2816563.

Augustyńska, D., Kaczmarska A., Mikulski W., Radosz J. (2010), Assessment of teachers’ exposure to noise in selected primary schools, Archives of Acoustics, 35(4): 521–542, doi: 10.2478/v10168-010-0040-2.

Beaman C. (2005), Auditory distraction from low-intensity noise: a review of the consequences for learning and workplace environments, Applied Cognitive Psychology, 19(8): 1041–1064, doi: 10.1002/acp.1134.

Boman E., Enmarker I. (2004), Factors affecting students’ noise annoyance in schools: the building and testing of models, Environment and Behavior, 36(2): 207–228, doi: 10.1177%2F0013916503256644.

Bottalico P., Astolfi A. (2012), Investigations into vocal doses and parameters pertaining to primary school teachers in classrooms, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 131(4): 2817–2827, doi:10.1121/1.3689549.

Bulunuz N. (2014), Noise pollution in Turkish elementary schools: evaluation of noise pollution awareness and sensitivity training, International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 9(2): 15–21, doi:10.12973/ijese.2014.212a.

Choi Y. (2016), Effect of occupancy on acoustical conditions in university classrooms, Applied Acoutics, 114: 36–43, doi: 10.1016/j.apacoust.2016.07.010.

Choi Y. (2018), Speech and noise measurements in active university classrooms, Proceedings Euronoise, Crete, pp. 1749–1754, http://www.euronoise2018.eu/docs/papers/294_Euronoise2018.pdf

Connolly D., Dockrell J., Mydlarz C., Shield B., Conetta R., Cox T. (2016), A quasi-experimental field study of the impact of classroom noise on adolescents’ mathematical performance, Proceedings 22nd International Congress on Acoustics, Buenos Aires, http://www.ica2016.org.ar/ica2016proceedings/ica2016/ICA2016-0724.pdf.

Cutiva C., Puglisi G., Astolfi A., Carullo A. (2017), Four-day follow-up study on the self-reported voice condition and noise condition of teachers: relationship between vocal parameters and classroom acoustics, Journal of Voice, 31(1): 120.e1–120.e8, doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2016.02.017.

Dockrell J., Connolly D., Shield B., Conetta R., Mydlarz C., Cox T. (2013), Students’ perceptions of noise in English secondary schools, Proceedings Internoise 2013, Innsbruck, Austria.

Dockrell J., Shield B. (2006), Acoustical barriers in classrooms: the impact of noise on performance in the classroom, British Educational Research Journal, 32(3): 509–525, doi: 10.1080/01411920600635494.

Dongre A.R., Patil A.P., Wahurwagh A.J., Kothari A., Burchundi K., Manohare M.P. (2017), Acoustical characteristics of classrooms of tropical climate, Applied Acoustics, 121: 46–55, doi: 10.1016%2Fj.apacoust.2017.01.030.

Durup N., Shield B., Dance S., Sullivan R. (2015), An investigation into relationships between classroom acoustic measurements and voice parameters of teachers, Building Acoustics, 22(3–4): 225–241, doi: 10.1260/1351-010X.22.3-4.225.

Elliott E. (2002), The irrelevant-speech effect and children: theoretical implications of developmental change, Memory and Cognition, 30(3): 478–487, doi: 10.3758/BF03194948.

Elliott E., Briganti A. (2012), Investigating the role of attentional resources in the irrelevant speech effect, Acta Psychology, 140: 64–74, doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2012.02.009

Escobar V.G., Morillas J.B. (2015), Analysis of intelligibility and reverberation time recommendations in educational rooms, Applied Acoustics, 96: 1–10, doi: 10.1016/j.apacoust.2015.03.001.

Golmohammadi R., Ghorbani F., Mahjub H., Daneshmehr Z., (2010), Study of school noise in the Capital City of Tehran, Iran, Iranian Journal of Environmental Health Science & Engineering, 7(4): 365–370.

Hay B. (1995), A pilot study of classroom noise levels and teachers’ reactions, Voice, 4: 127–134.

John J., Thampuran A., Premlet B. (2016), Objective and subjective evaluation of acoustic comfort in classrooms: A comparative investigation of vernacular and modern school classroom in Kerala, Applied Acoustics, 104: 33–41, doi: 10.1016/j.apacoust.2015.09.017.

Joseph T.N., Hughes R., Sörqvist P., Marsh J. (2018), Differences in auditory distraction between adults and children: A duplex-mechanism approach, Journal of Cognition, 1(13): 1–11, doi: 10.5334/joc.15.

Klatte M., Hellbruck J., Seidel J., Leistner P. (2010b), Effects of classroom acoustics on performance and well-being in elementary school children: A field study, Environment and Behavior, 42: 659–692, doi: 10.1177/0013916509336813.

Klatte M., Lachmann T., Schlittmeier S., Hellbruck J. (2010a), The irrelevant sound effect in short-term memory: Is there developmental change?, European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 22(8): 1168–1191, doi: 10.1080/09541440903378250.

Klatte M., Meis M., Sukowski H., Schick A. (2007), Effects of irrelevant speech and traffic noise on speech perception and cognitive performance in elementary school children, Noise and Health, 9(36): 64–74, doi: 10.4103/1463-1741.36982.

Koszarny Z., Jankowska D. (1995), Determination of acoustic climate inside elementary schools, [in Polish], Roczniki Państwowego Zakladu Higieny, 46(3): 305-314.

Kotus, J., Szczodrak M., Czyżewski A., Kostek B. (2010), Long-term comparative evaluation of acoustic climate in selected schools before and after acoustic treatment, Archives of Acoustics, 35(4): 551–564, doi: 10.2478/v10168-010-0042-0.

Ljung R., Sörqvist P., Hygge S. (2009), Effects of road traffic noise and irrelevant speech on children’s reading and mathematical performance, Noise and Health, 11(45): 194–198.

Lundquist P., Holmberg K., Landstrom U. (2000), Annoyance and effects on work from environmental noise at school, Noise and Health, 2(8): 39–46.

Lyberg Åhlander V., García,D.P., Whitling S., Rydell R., Löfqvist A. (2014), Teachers’ voice use in teaching environments: a field study using ambulatory phonation monitor, Journal of Voice, 28(6): P841.e5–841.e15, doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2014.03.006.

Mackenzie D. (2000), Noise levels and sources in UK schools, Proceedings of International Symposium on Noise Control and Acoustics for Educational Buildings, May 2000, Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul, pp. 97–107.

Mealings K., Demuth K., Buchholz J., Dillon H. (2015), An assessment of open plan and enclosed classroom listening environments for young children: Part 2 – Teachers’ questionnaires, Journal of Educational, Pediatric and (Re)Habilitative Audiology, 21: 1–17.

Meinhardt-Injac B., Schlittmeier S, Klatte M., Otto A., Persike M., Imhof M. (2015), Auditory distraction by meaningless irrelevant speech: a developmental study, Applied Cognitive Psychology, 29: 217–225, doi: 10.1002/acp.3098.

Mikulski W., Radosz J. (2011), Acoustics of classroom in primary schools – results of the reverberation time and the speech transmission index assessments in selected buildings, Archives of Acoustics, 36(4): 777–793, doi: 10.2478/v10168-011-0052-6.

Moodley A. (1989), Acoustic conditions in mainstream classrooms, Journal of British Association of Teachers of the Deaf, 13(2): 48-54.

Peng J., Zhang H., Wang D. (2018), Measurement and analysis of teaching and background noise level in classrooms of Chinese elementary schools, Applied Acoustics, 131: 1–4, doi: 10.1016/j.apacoust.2017.10.012.

Picard M., BradleyJ.S. (2001), Revisiting speech interference in classrooms, Audiology, 40: 221–224.

Pinho P.G., Pinto M., Almeida R.M.S.F., Lemos L.T., Lopes S.M. (2018), Aspects concerning the acoustical performance of school cafeterias, Applied Acoustics, 136: 36–40, doi: 10.1016/j.apacoust.2018.02.020.

Polish Norm (2008), PN-EN ISO 3382-2:2008: Acoustics – Measurement of room acoustic parameters. Part 2: Reverberation time in ordinary rooms [in Polish: Akustyka – Pomiar parametrów akustycznych pomieszczeń. Część 2: Czas pogłosu w zwyczajnych pomieszczeniach].

Polish Norm (2011), PN-EN ISO 60286-16:2011: Sound system equipment – Part 16: Objective rating of speech intelligibility by speech transmission index [in Polish: Urządzenia systemów elektroakustycznych – Część 16: Obiektywna ocena zrozumiałości mowy za pomocą wskaźnika transmisji mowy].

Polish Norm (2015), PN-B-02151-4: Building acoustics. Noise control in buildings. Requirements regarding reverberation conditions and speech intelligibility in rooms and methods of measurements [in Polish: Akustyka budowlana. Ochrona przed hałasem w budynkach. Wymagania dotyczące warunków pogłosowych i zrozumiałości mowy w pomieszczeniach oraz wytyczne prowadzenia badań].

Pulkii V., Karjalajnen M. (2015), Communication acoustics. An introduction to speech audio and psychoacoustics, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., West Sussex, United Kingdom.

Ronsse L., Wang L. (2010), Effects of noise from building mechanical systems on elementary school student achievement, ASHRAE Transactions, 116: 347–354.

Ronsse L., Wang L. (2013), Relationships between unoccupied classroom acoustical conditions and elementary student achievement measured in eastern Nebraska, Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 133(3): 1480–1495, doi: 10.1121/1.4789356.

Roy K., Li J. (2013), Background noise in Chinese schools – student and teacher perceptions, Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics ICA2013, 19(1): 040122, doi: 10.1121/1.4799449.

Sala E., Rantala L. (2016), Acoustics and activity noise in school classrooms in Finland, Applied Acoustics, 114: 252–259, doi: 10.1016/j.apacoust.2016.08.009.

Sarantopoulos G., Lykoudis S., Kassomenos P. (2014), Noise levels in primary schools of medium sized city in Greece, Science of the Total Environment, 482: 493–500, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.09.010.

Sato H., Bradley J.S. (2008), Evaluation of acoustical conditions for speech communication in working elementary school classrooms, Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 123(4): 2064-2077, doi: 10.1121/1.2839283.

Shield B., Carey A. (2007), Measurement of teachers’ voice levels in primary school classrooms, Proceedings 19th International Congress on Acoustics, Madrid, Spain (Revista de Acustica, 38: 3–4).

Shield B., Dockrell J. (2003), The effects of noise on children at school: A review, Building Acoustics, 10(2): 97–106, doi:10.1260/135101003768965960.

Shield B., Dockrell J. (2008), The effects of environmental and classroom noise on the academic attainments of primary school children, Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 123(1): 133–144, doi: 10.1260%2F0957-4565.43.6.2.

Shield B., Dockrell J. (2010), The effects of noise on children at school: A review, [In:] Gibbs B., Goodchild J., Hopkins C., Oldham D. (eds), Collected papers in building acoustics: room acoustics and environmental noise, Multi-Science Publishing, Essex, UK.

Shield B., Dockrell J. (2004), External and internal noise surveys of London primary schools, Journal of Acoustic Society of America, 115(2): 730–738, doi: 10.1121/1.1635837.

Shield B., Connolly D., Dockrell J., Cox T., Mydlarz C., Conetta R. (2018), The impact of classroom noise on reading comprehension of secondary school students, Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics, Vol. 40, pp. 236-244, https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10058921/.

Shield B., Jeffery R., Dockrell J., Tachmatzidis I. (2000), A noise survey of primary schools in London, Proceedings International Symposium on Noise Control and Acoustics for Educational Buildings, May 2000, Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul, pp. 109–118.

Shield B., Conetta R., Dockrell J., Connolly D., Cox T., Mydlarz C. (2015), A survey of acoustic conditions and noise levels in secondary school classrooms in England, Journal Acoustical Society of America, 137(1): 177–188, doi: 10.1121/1.4904528.

Silva L.T., Oliveira I.S., Silva J.F. (2016), The impact of urban noise on primary schools. Perceptive evaluation and objective assessment, Applied Acoustics, 106: 2–9, doi: 10.1016/j.apacoust.2015.12.013.

Wålinder R., Gunnarsson K., Runeson R., Smedje G. (2007), Physiological and psychological stress reactions in relation to classroom noise, Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, 33(4): 260–266, doi: 10.5271/sjweh.1141.

Waye K., Agge A., Hillström J., Lindström F. (2010), Being in a pre-school sound environment – annoyance and subjective symptoms among personnel and children, Personnel, 265(4): 187.

Whiting J., Jensen Z., Leishman T., Berardi M., Hunter E. (2015), Classroom acoustics for vocal health of elementary school teachers, Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, 23: 015001, doi: 10.1121/2.0000074.

Zannin P.H.T., Loro C.P. (2007), Measurement of the ambient noise level, reverberation time and transmission loss for classrooms in a public school, Noise Control Engineering Journal, 55(3): 327–333, doi: 10.3397/1.2734939.

Zannin P.H.T., Zwirtes D. (2009), Evaluation of the acoustic performance of classrooms in public schools, Applied Acoustics, 70(4): 626–635, doi: j.apacoust.2008.06.007.




DOI: 10.24425/aoa.2020.134057

Copyright © Polish Academy of Sciences & Institute of Fundamental Technological Research (IPPT PAN)