Saint-Gobain Ecophon: Acoustics in UK Classrooms Affects Concentration and Health, Say Teachers

  Saint-Gobain Ecophon: Acoustics in UK Classrooms Affects Concentration and
  Health, Say Teachers

Business Wire

LONDON -- November 19, 2012

A survey of teachers by Ecophon, part of leading international materials
company Saint-Gobain, has revealed classroom acoustics could be having a
serious impact on pupils’ concentration and teacher health.

According to the research, almost three quarters (73%) of the 250 teachers
surveyed believe the quality of acoustics has an impact of pupils’
concentration in the classroom with 30% saying the impact is serious, which
could be detrimental to listening and learning.

In addition, 82% of teachers say they’ve had to raise their voice to be heard
in the classroom, with almost half (48%) claiming they have to do so at least
once a week. Similarly, 45% of those surveyed say they are asked at least once
a week to raise their voices because pupils can’t hear them and almost 10% say
they are asked to do so every lesson.

Unsurprisingly, this has led 39% of teachers to suffer from a sore or strained
throat more than once a term.

“We know from recent research, that despite the advancement in ICT, most
learning is carried out vocally from teacher to pupil, so it’s crucial that
they are in a sound acoustic teaching environment,” says Shane Cryer,
Education Concept Developer at Ecophon. “If classrooms are noisy and
reverberant, it becomes very difficult for children to hear, focus,
concentrate and memorise. This can contribute to bad behaviour and an increase
in noise levels as attention becomes disrupted. Also, if teachers have to
raise their voices on a daily basis, voice strain is inevitable, resulting in
time off and extra costs for substitute teachers. Research also tells us that
teachers who work consistently in noisy environments suffer heart rate
increase and stress levels well beyond the healthy norm.”

“Nearly half (45%) of the teachers we surveyed recognised that classroom
acoustics are a problem at their school but the good news is that almost 30%
claimed potential solutions are being investigated.”

When asked what are the most important criteria for creating a great teaching
environment, most teachers chose temperature and fresh air followed by good
acoustics and natural light. Yet there were some regional differences with
teachers in East Anglia believing that brightly coloured walls were just as
important as temperature and those in London recognising natural light as
being the least important.

“However, we understand that good acoustics is only half the story,” agrees
Shane. “The DfE agrees that air quality and controlled natural light are both
also very important for a comfortable teaching and learning space. Using our
expertise we can help schools to understand how these elements work together
to create the best educational environment for teachers and students.”


Note to Editors

Saint-Gobain, the world leader in the habitat and construction markets,
designs, manufactures and distributes building materials, providing innovative
solutions to the challenges of growth, energy efficiency and environmental
protection. With 2010 sales of €40.1 billion, Saint-Gobain operates in 64
countries and has nearly 190,000 employees.

In the UK and Ireland, some of the best known and respected companies in the
construction industry are part of Saint-Gobain. Alongside Ecophon, these
include British Gypsum, Isover, Solaglas, Weber, Saint-Gobain Glass,
Saint-Gobain PAM, Pasquill, and Saint-Gobain Solar. Together they offer a
range of high performance energy-saving products and solutions to help create
a more sustainable built environment.

For more information on Saint-Gobain visit

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