NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ880832
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 72
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
Acoustics in Physical Education Settings: The Learning Roadblock
Ryan, Stu; Mendel, Lisa Lucks
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v15 n1 p71-83 Jan 2010
Background: The audibility of teachers and peers is an essential factor in determining the academic performance of school children. However, acoustic conditions in most classrooms are less than optimal and have been viewed as "hostile listening environments" that undermine the learning of children in school. While research has shown that typical classrooms may be acoustically challenging, the acoustic conditions in physical education settings are without a doubt more challenging than in the typical classroom. To date, researchers in physical education have sparingly focused on the way acoustics affect physical education settings. Aims: The focus of this research effort was to measure noise levels in elementary-, middle- and high-school physical education settings and compare them to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) guidelines (30 dBA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards (40 dBA). Documentation of these ambient noise levels may give greater understanding to the effect of background noise on student learning in physical education. Methods: Acoustic environments were measured in indoor and outdoor settings in 12 elementary, 4 middle, and 6 high schools in northwest Florida. Nine outdoor, seven gymnasium, and six covered area settings were evaluated. Ambient noise levels were recorded for each unoccupied physical education setting. A sound decibel digital meter which met American National Standard Specification for Sound Level Meters set on the "A"-weighted scale and on slow response was used to record the noise levels for each setting. Two-tailed t-tests were used for comparison of the overall mean noise levels in outdoor, gymnasium, and covered physical education settings to the standards established by ANSI and ASHA. Results: The findings showed that all of the settings were significantly (p less than 0.05) higher than the established standards and only 1 of the 22 physical education settings studied had background noise levels at or below 40 dBA. These results also indicate that the physical education settings investigated exhibit ambient noise levels at 10-15 dB higher than recommended levels. Conclusions: In light of the acoustics standards and prior research, these results are discouraging if not alarming. These results also suggest that the background noise in physical education settings is likely detrimental to student learning. These findings indicate an immediate need for administrators to support future research and determine the most appropriate, cost-effective procedures to reduce noise in existing physical education settings. Strategies for reducing high noise levels in physical education settings include sound amplification devices, acoustical modifications, and future construction strategies. (Contains 1 table and 1 figure.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida