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Sound Amplification System May Help Students Learn

by Ron Kurtus (12 March 2007)

Most teachers assume that all the students in their class are able to hear them speak. However, studies have shown that many students, especially those toward the back of the room, may not hear what the teacher says due to background noise and other distractions.

One solution suggested was to employ an amplification system in the classroom, such that all students will be able to hear the teacher. The problem of course is that such a system may be too expensive for many schools.

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Students can't hear as well

Younger students may need to have their lessons amplified because their brain's auditory system is not fully developed until about the age of 15. Although their hearing is more acute, the processing of information heard is not yet mature.

Many students require quieter environments and louder signals than adults do in order to absorb spoken information.

A big problem is that in the classroom background noise and other distractions can compete with the teacher’s voice. They may hear the teacher speaking, but the information may be garbled.

Amplification solution

Amplification systems have been used to help hearing impaired students, but they also can help students with good hearing.

When what a teacher says is amplified through loudspeakers placed in various locations in the classroom, students seemed to absorb the lessons better, especially those in the back of the room. This enhanced audio benefited all students by helping a teacher's voice get through loud and clear.

A study at Brigham Young University showed that standardized test scores for fourth and fifth graders rose between 10% and 15% in every subject at a school after amplification began.

Disadvantages

A major disadvantage of installing an amplification system in classrooms is the expense. School systems may not be able to afford such systems and taxpayers may balk at what they perceive as a luxury.

Also, some teachers may not wish to use even a lapel microphone in class.

Summary

Studies have shown that many students may not hear what the teacher says due to background noise and other distractions. One solution suggested was to employ an amplification system in the classroom. One problem is that such a system may be too expensive for many schools.


Help your students learn


Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials

Websites

Wiring Classrooms for Sound - Time Magazine, October 2006

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Top-rated books on Education

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