Quiet in Classrooms

To: quiet-list@igc.org
From: Ron Pellegrino <ronpell@microweb.com>
Subject: Re: Carpets for Classrooms in UK
Date: May 24, 1999

>=== Quiet-List message from David Staudacher ===

>[Ref: The London Telegraph, 23-May-1999]

>By Martin Bentham, Education Correspondent

>A local authority is hoping to raise educational standards by laying
>carpets in its classrooms to absorb the shouts of pupils, banging desks and
>clumping shoes and create a more peaceful atmosphere.

>Barking and Dagenham council in Essex also wants to invest in
>"high-quality" chairs and benches to improve the classroom environment.


>Roger Luxton, principal school inspector for Barking and Dagenham, insisted
>that improving classroom conditions could have a significant impact on
>children´s performance.

>The idea, which will be applied in nursery and reception classes, has been
>prompted by a visit to schools in Zurich. According to Mr Luxton, Swiss
>minimise noise and increase pupils´ focus on their work.

>"If children are sitting on a chair on a wooden floor you automatically get
>noise. Carpets eliminate that and help to get the concentrating, listening
>environment that you need to teach children more effectively."

Substituting air pollution for noise pollution is not much of a solution. For the first couple of years carpets outgas toxins that will adversely affect the respiratory, neurological, and immune systems of the school population. After a short time, especially in a school environment, the carpets will be packed with impossible to clean soil and other allergens that will generate a nonstop attack on the immune systems of the school population. The combination of putting heavy tough fabric sliders on the feet of any furniture that slides on wood or other hard surfaces, putting sound absorbing tiles on the walls and ceiling, using incandescent rather than fluorescent lights, and demanding quiet from the students is a far superior approach to poisoning the air they breathe or drugging them into quiescence (the Ritalin solution to hyperactive students).

What a stunning insight -"improving classroom conditions could have a significant impact on children´s performance." Yes, give students good comfortable furniture. Also give them good light and good air. Design their day so they have some regular blowoff time. And try teaching them a bit of discipline too so they´re not shouting, banging desks, and clumping shoes in class.

Ron Pellegrino

A post with some corroborating input from another quiet-list subscriber:

To: quiet-list@igc.org
From: Maxine Carpenter
Subject: Re: Carpets for Classrooms in UK
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 08:23:43 -0700

Hello All,
As a school board trustee who serves on the new school design team, I have a bit of further info. relative to carpets in classrooms - they are not advisable. We have found them impossible to keep clean and healthful, so we've had to find other means to cut noise from bare floors. One way is the use of area rugs, which can be cleaned and/or replaced. One hint that sounds foolish, but really helps, is to cut tennis balls to fit over the ends of chair legs to muffle the sound of chairs on floors. Cheap, easy.

[Note from list admin: see http://www.quiet.org/ideas_idx.htm for pictures of tennis balls cut and fitted over the ends of chair legs to reduce noise in a school classroom.]

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