How to reduce noise in schools and improve learning process

June 11, 2020

A Polish school competition raises noise awareness among students and demonstrates that noise can and should be fought.

children in classroom with acoustic ceilings

How noisy can a classroom be?

One of the greatest enemies of students and teachers is noise. Schools can be extremely loud places where both pupils and educators are often distracted and annoyed by sounds. When noises become too loud, teachers can often experience headaches and fatigue,  where children can lose their ability to focus and learn effectively.

In some Polish schools, noise can exceed the recommended levels, becoming louder than the noise you experience at a busy road or near an airport or even inside a noisy restaurant. Noise can be a troublesome problem in overcrowded primary schools in Poland, which are often built in old, unmodified buildings. The Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing from Warsaw notes that exposure to 'acoustic smog' damages the hearing cells.


Comfortable acoustics and inspirational design in a Polish School

Rockfon® Eclipse™ acoustic islands and wall panels have helped to improve learning at the  Primary School No. 46 in Poznań. In the new area of this school, optimal acoustic absorption has been introduced in all the classrooms, library, teaching room and corridors. The reverberation time has been minimised so that students can hear clearly what teachers are saying. "In addition to its acoustic properties, Rockfon acoustic solutions are a great interior design tool. At this school, they perfectly complement the harshness of the concrete surfaces with its soft forms and colours." says Marcin Sakson from Front Architects, the design office responsible for the school expansion project.

The positive effects of the acoustic islands and wall panels are felt by teachers working at the school. 67% of them believe that the acoustic solutions have improved the pupils’ concentration.  Anna Nowicka, a history teacher at Primary School No. 46, says: "I’ve noticed that students in the new classrooms learn better, and, above all, learn the material faster and work better in lessons. The panels create a nice, calm atmosphere in the room. Such unconventional wall and ceiling decoration can also, in my opinion, inspire students to be more creative. "

A special project for Polish schools

In late 2019, Rockfon organized a nationwide competition for primary schools in Poland. The key objective of the campaign was to raise awareness among the students as well as the educational institutions themselves, about the effects of noise pollution in schools and solutions available to minimize it. In addition to individual prizes for students - authors of the best competition entries - there were also prizes and recognitions for the schools.

As part of the campaign, students were asked to create artistic and literary works around the subject of acoustics ("The sounds of my school").  As many as 175 students from all over Poland participated in the competition. Thanks to their work you can see how noise is experienced through the eyes of children. All the submitted competition entries are characterized by great creativity and show the emotions associated with the noise in schools. Most of them are linked to negative or uncomfortable feelings.

'The Sounds of My School'

The best and most creative expressions turned out to be the work of students from primary schools in Sulechów, Słupca and Błaszki – small towns with several thousand inhabitants. As a reward for their participation, Rockfon specialists carried out noise measurements and offer their support with recommendations and implementation of acoustic solutions in the classrooms.

Additionally, distinguished students from other schools in Pleszew, Piława Dolna, Leipzig, Szydłów, Pielgrzymowice, Połczyn-Zdrój and Wrocław also were rewarded for their participation. For their schools, Rockfon has given professional, noise-based advice for the use of high-quality acoustic solutions. We will see the effect of the acoustic modernization thanks to the “Sounds of my School” competition in September when everyone returns back to school.


We fight to reduce noise and to improve learning in schools

According to prof. Krystyna Pawlas, audiologist and specialist in occupational hygiene and environmental hygiene of  Wroclaw Medical University: "Noise at first starts with tiredness, then it starts to irritate, and finally leads to an explosion of anger. There are studies showing that there is more aggression in high schools. Children in such institutions learn less, have poorer vocabulary because of noise disturbs communication."

Rockfon has always listened to teachers and students’ needs and helped improve acoustic environments with high quality and durable solutions. Offering a colourful design, our acoustic ceilings and panels can also create an inspirational and fun atmosphere where spaces can be improved for learning and wellbeing.

I’ve noticed that students in the new classrooms learn better, and, above all, learn the material faster and work better during the lessons. Such unconventional wall and ceiling decoration can also, in my opinion, inspire students to be more creative.

Anna Nowicka

history teacher at the Primary School No. 46 in Poznan