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Control of noise for speech intelligibility in open plan classrooms

Greenland, E; Shield, B; Dockrell, J; (2009) Control of noise for speech intelligibility in open plan classrooms. In:

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Abstract

Speech intelligibility in open plan classrooms cannot be assured from standard classroom design criteria (indoor ambient noise levels, reverberation time, sound insulation) due to the extent of multiple teaching activities occurring within the space. As a consequence of independent teaching activities occurring simultaneously, open plan schools are often associated with high intrusive noise levels resulting in poor conditions for speaking and listening in the classroom. With open plan classrooms becoming an increasingly popular design trend in the UK and elsewhere, it is critical that layouts are designed to control noise in order for new schools to be acoustically 'fit for purpose'. A detailed survey of speech intelligibility conditions in existing open plan schools (based on specific classroom layouts and activity plans) has not previously been undertaken. Our research work has addressed this lack of knowledge through objective and subjective acoustic surveys in 44 existing semi-open plan classrooms in primary schools. This paper addresses the effect of critical physical design variables on speech intelligibility in semi-open plan classrooms, to achieve compliance with current UK standards (Building Bulletin 93) 1. Subjective opinions of acoustic conditions (obtained through extensive student questionnaire surveys), have been considered in addition to the physical design of the classroom. From these combined assessments it is demonstrated that the number of classbases within the open plan unit and the selection of acoustic finishes for control of reverberation and sound transmission are major factors in the control of intrusive noise for speech intelligibility. However, coordination of specific teaching activities and classroom management strategies are equally important for control of intrusive noise.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Control of noise for speech intelligibility in open plan classrooms
ISBN-13: 9781615676804
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1559285
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