If a teacher has a naturally monotone voice, and has difficulty inflecting or modulating tones or registers, try these:
1. Take out verbs. Instead of saying, "Aneesa, you need to fill out a reflection form," say: "Reflection form."
2. Speak as if there are periods in between words: "Fill. Out. Your. Reflection. Form."
3. Combine these: "Reflection. Form."
Now you've hit economy of language, and you sound more authoritative.
Try some video or audio analysis.
1. Capture some baseline footage of yourself in action. With the support of your coach or a trusted colleague, identify which elements of Strong Voice need attention.
2. Without children present, role-play and record a "do over" of that one key piece of the lesson, working to improve the identified element of Strong Voice.
3. With your coach, watch the video, reflect, and try again. Repeat this process as many times as necessary, integrating the feedback, until you have a video example of a successful implementation of that element.
4. Implement the improved practice back in your classroom, capturing another video to analyze progress.
*This could also work well with just audio. It will allow you to zero in on the voice without considering the physical elements.
Role-play scenarios that require three registers: casual, formal and urgent (for more details, see Doug Lemov's Field Guide for Strong Voice).
"I saw the funniest movie this weekend!" (casual)
"Hello, my name is ____, and I will be your tour guide." (formal)
"There's a fire! Exit the building immediately!" (urgent)
While role-playing, practice the appropriate physical postures and gestures that align with each register. Again, video is a great way to reflect on the difference between these registers, and the message each conveys.
Link to a strong persona within another context.
Is there a place in your life in which you do exude authority?
Is there a person you know who does this well?
Is there a character you could emulate?
Envision and evoke this example (appropriately!) when you are before your class.
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Katie- you are a rockstar!! Thanks for the suggestions.
Wow, Katie! That was so interesting to read! It makes me want to be a mentor someday to try it out :-)
Do you mean a teacher's voice or a student's voice?
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