California Educator

October/November 2019

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Hone Your Teacher Voice A broadcaster-turned-educator's pro tips on presentation and message By Danny Hauger E d u c a t o r s , li ke b r o a d c a st e r s , s h o u l d a lw ay s w o rk o n d e v e l o pi n g a n d i m p r o v i n g th e i r i n str u c t i o n a l v o i c e and message. Start by analyzing, and then refining, your vocal presentation. Before you teach your next lesson, sit down at a microphone and record yourself teaching for two minutes. Ideally, you will be introducing the next lesson you plan to teach in the recording for a more helpful conclusion of this expesriment. You can utilize your phone, a USB-connected microphone, or a computer's mic using a free program like Audacity to accomplish this. A professional or semiprofessional USB microphone will give you a closer idea of your actual fre- quency and tone quality, and is preferred ($50 to $100 will get you there). Sit or stand as you would when you are teaching, about 1.5 to 3 feet from your recording device, to simulate the distance to your class. If you are too close, you will "peak" (add distortion) to the recording. Hit record, and capture at least two minutes of an open- ing, general instructions, and some specific directions or instructions that are part of a typical lesson. Speak as if you were teaching. Project your voice just like you would during instruction. Envision your classroom and students while you speak, to be sure you are emulating the natural tone of perfor- mance. When you are finished, open a computer document or grab a piece of paper to jot down your reflections. Questions for reflection: 1. F i rst l i st e n : Observe dynamics (variations in the volume). Are you louder or softer than you imagined? a. Are you too loud, to the point where students may feel uncomfortable? b. Are you too quiet to be heard confidently in the back of your class? c. Do you use changes in dynamics for points of emphasis? d. Hearing your dynamics, can you make changes that could improve your presentation? Try re-recording with these additions before proceeding with step 2. 2. S e c o n d l i st e n : Do you sound motivated? a. Are you alert and dedicated to your subject material, or just meandering and daydreaming while you speak? b. Are you expressing genuine interest in the subject material? c. Do you sound as if you are inter- ested in learning, signaling to students that this is a lesson you look forward to teaching, to get them to sit up in their seats? d. Did practicing make this feel less than realistic? Then put yourself in the desk of a student and play the recording again. What would you want to hear differently? 3. T h i r d l i st e n : Is there a clear "why" to your objective for the lesson? a. Did you explicitly state the learn- ing goal or target? b. Did you explain how you were going to achieve the goal? c. Can you apply the lesson to something else you have learned, will learn, or have used in your life? Help relate the importance of the day's learning. d. Did you get to the point? Does it hold the attention of your audience? 46 Teaching & Learning Danny Hauger

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