The Ceilings & Interior Systems Construction Association has released an extensive white paper, “Acoustics in Schools,” designed as a tool for architects, interior designers, and other design professionals who work to improve school environments for all users. According to the association, this is the first white paper to address this issue and is available at no charge.
Ceilings & Interior Systems Construction Association has released an
extensive white paper, “Acoustics in Schools,” designed as a tool for
architects, interior designers, and other design professionals who work to
improve school environments for all users. According to the association, this
is the first white paper to address this issue and is available at no charge.
the educational environs, acoustics matter-classrooms in the United States typically have speech
intelligibility ratings of 75 percent or less, meaning every fourth spoken word
is not understood. Furthermore,
children and adolescents only understand about 180 words per minute that is
about a third less words per minute than adults-all the more reason that
designers as well as educators need to be attentive to the acoustical environs
of educational settings-including the reduction of reverberations.
paper provides an introduction to the acoustical issues commonly confronted on
school projects. Literature on this topic, gathered by CISCA and highlighted in
the white paper, draws attention to important acoustical considerations in the
built environments of schools. The white paper also presents practical design
responses to these issues in language that is “practitioner-friendly.” The
white paper features a bibliography and a glossary of terms that both provide
was compelled to develop this white paper because of the critical role
acoustics play in creating an environment that facilitates learning. CISCA has
a great deal to contribute to design professionals, as well as educators and we
are proud to publish this white paper as a valuable reference tool,” said CISCA
Executive Director Shirley Wodynski.
white paper makes clear the following:
acoustics are an important, often neglected, aspect of the learning
environment. Up to 60 percent of classroom activities involve speech between
teachers and students or between students, indicating the importance of
environments that support clear communication.
levels of background noise, reverberation, and signal-to-noise ratios can also
inhibit reading and spelling ability, behavior, attention, concentration, and
academic performance. Furthermore, children who develop language skills in poor
acoustic environments may develop long-term speech comprehension problems. Good
classroom acoustics are a basic classroom need, not an accessory, to give all
students access to spoken instruction and discussion.
problems persist in classrooms because of a lack of acoustics education for
architects and engineers, the prohibitive expenses of acoustic refurbishment,
and because adult listeners often do not consider the limitations of children’s
in Schools” also covers the stipulations for new or substantially renovated
schools to be LEED certified. In addition to in-depth coverage of the classroom
space, the white paper carefully identifies issues particular to school
libraries, gymnasiums, classrooms for the hearing impaired, lecture halls and
auditoriums, and music rooms. The paper also points out the importance of
collaboration between the various members of the design teams and the educators
and administrative staffs.