Helping children to reach their full potential.

Five “keys” to hearing and learning in a new classroom

Girl reads book at school
Everything your child learns in a classroom relies on them being able to hear well!

Speech, language and vocabulary  are all learned through listening and as much as 90% of vocabulary is not acquired through direct teaching – it’s overhearing conversations, and hearing words used in context.

But how do you know your child is hearing everything they need to keep up in the busy and noisy environment of the classroom? As we all gear up to return to a brand new year, new teacher, and new classroom, there are some easy things you can look for to make sure your child has the best chance to hear and learn.

We’ve compiled the top five things you can change in the classroom to help your children along the way!

  1. Shut the door

    It might seem like a no brainier, but a huge amount of background noise is generated from outside of your child’s classroom. Tiny feet, on cement or wood can make significant noise! As does a classroom that is close to a main road, it’s  surprising the amount of noise that traffic creates and it is disruptive in the classroom.

    You can’t change where your child’s school has been built, or which classroom they have been allocated, but teachers certainly can opt to close doors and windows, to reduce the amount of background noise from outside of the classroom!

  2. Cut the rug

    Carpet doesn’t always make the cleanest choice in a classroom, but it sure makes a difference to how noisey a classroom can be!
    For the same reason that closing a door can help, having carpeted floors, or rugs on floors, means foot traffic and fidget noise is minimised.

  3. Be aware of background noise

    Most people aren’t aware that there is a recommended maximum noise level for classrooms. The Association of Australian Acoustical Consultants (AAAC) recommend an overall sound level in a classroom (including teachers voice and student noise) be no greater than 65-70dB.

    One of the easiest ways to check if your classroom is exceeding this, is to download a free noise level alarm app on an ipad, or iphone. Most people are astounded how quickly 70dB is actually reached in a classroom.  As the noise gets louder than 70dB, children’s brains really struggle to learn optimally! Tactics like having a microphone, or talking stick, that ensures that children do not talk over each other, or that only one child is talking at a time can be great resources!

  4. Hang up your artwork

    Trends over the past few years have moved away from decorating classrooms, to minimise visual “noise”. Hanging soft furnishing, artwork, and furniture cluttered around a classroom actually helps absorb sound, and minimise reverberation that is generated from hard surfaces.

    So go right ahead, and make sure your child’s artwork is proudly on display!

  5. Turn off the music

    Whilst it is trendy to play music in a classroom during different times of the day, this may inadvertently be making it more difficult for your child to learn through listening. Music raises the background noise level of a classroom, thus pushing the level closer to, and above that magic 70dB threshold beyond which children will struggle to hear over.

We know that every child can reach their full potential.

Ensure your students are getting the most out of their education, contact us on 07 3850 2111 or hearing@hearandsay.com.au for more information.

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Maia’s Story

At 9.10pm on 24 October 2013 our beautiful daughter Maia was born. 

The moment of elation was short-lived as we immediately noticed her left ear was missing. I frantically looked to the medical team around me for answers but received none.

Panic set in as we waited 4 days in hospital for an ENT to explain her condition, by which point we already had all the answers from Simone, who runs the Microtia and Atresia Program at Hear and Say.

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