Posted by Peter on 24th May 2011

Should maths lessons be quiet?

Should maths lessons be quiet is clearly a tricky one to answer. There should certainly be allowances made for children to discuss the work they are doing, explore ideas, work in small groups on a tricky investigation, but there is a big difference between quietly discussing options and shouting at each other. There are ceertainly times when everyone should be quietly concentrating.

The most recent research also suggests that the acoustics of the room can make it more difficult for children to learn. Researchers have found that 14-16 year olds working in a noisy environment performed at a similar level as 11-13 year olds working in a quiet classroom.

Dr Daniel Connolly of the Institute of Education said the study shows that poor noise levels are not good for learning.

“In a lot of tasks, higher noise levels take the older age group back to the same level as the younger age group. There will always be a certain amount of noise in a school, but if you put students in an acoustically poor room it will amplify that,” he said.

When you went to your child’s classroom was it noisy, even with nobody talking? I remember working in one classroom where the chairs made a horrendous scraping noise every time someone moved. It certainly was disturbing and onlty solved with fitting carpets. Noise from outside can also be disturbing – with some classrooms right next to the school playing fields, or schools under the Heathrow flightpath!

See Independent for more.

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