Sound in Schools and its Impact on Learning and Teachers’ Wellbeing

The Future Classroom Lab, in collaboration with Saint-Gobain Ecophon, conducted a survey on teacher wellbeing in secondary schools with a particular focus on the impact of classroom acoustics on educators’ work, physical and mental health.

If we want schools to provide children with the best possible preparation for life, we need to ensure optimal working conditions for the teachers - schools’ most valuable assets, the primary actors who guide pupils on their journey to knowledge and self-improvement. With this survey we want to hear teachers’ thoughts on their working environment, particularly with aspect to sound and acoustics. We are looking forward to learning more about the impact of different learning activities and teaching styles on noise levels in the classroom. In addition, we are also investigating the effect of various types of education equipment on acoustics. Lastly, we go outside the perimeter of the school yard and examine the impact of the school’s location within the city on classroom ambience. This special focus on acoustics stems from the relationship between school innovation and physical and mental wellbeing. While we promote innovative teaching and learning methods, we want to stay attentive to the space design changes that might be required to ensure educators have the new conditions needed to adopt these new methods.

When it comes to education, the prevailing understanding is that in the 21st century, students should be given the opportunity to be more active in class, to express themselves more often, to discuss and debate with their peers. This suggests that the future of schools lies in a direction which involves even more activity and noise. How can teachers cope with this? How do we upgrade educational environments to respond to the demands of the future while also taking care of schools’ most valuable assets – its teachers.

In partnership with Ecophon, we conducted a survey among secondary school teachers from across Europe in which we want to hear your thoughts, suggestions and concerns regarding the impact of noise on you and your classroom practice.

The survey was available in 13 languages (Czech, Danish, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Portuguese, Slovakian, Spanish, Swedish) and open until 28 May 2023.

In November 2023, we released the final report outlining the current state of play in classroom acoustics across Europe and summarising what secondary school educators had to say on the issue. Explore it below!



You can also watch the publication launch event where you can hear directly from some of the experts involved in the research and other professionals int he field of acoustics, architecture and education!