The teacher’s tone of voice is a powerful instrument. It sets the tone and environment for the entire classroom in terms of engagement, behavior, and rapport with students.
We recently came across an article on EdSource.org titled, For Teachers, It’s Not Just What You Say, It’s How You Say It. It contains some valuable insights from teachers who have experimented with how their tone of voice affects the functionality of their classrooms.
Here are our top three teacher tone takeaways:
- Find the right balance between stern and sugary.
Though the job can be stressful at times, teachers should be careful not to sound angry or exasperated… but at the same time, you should avoid using a “sugary-sweet” tone. Especially in early grades, it’s important to send the message to your students that they are not babies, so you will not “baby” them. Speaking to them with a direct and sincere tone of voice will help them build trust and meet your expectations.
- Use whispering in your behavior management.
Whispering is a smart way to quickly de-escalate an unsavory behavior scenario. It forces the student to quiet down in order to hear what you’re saying. Instead of embarrassing a student by yelling or correcting behavior in front of the whole class, show respect by whispering a firm reminder. This gives the student the chance to get back on track without peer influence or disruptive confrontation.
- Incorporate some theatrics into your lessons.
Teachers must be cautious not to speak in a tone that’s too flat. You don’t want your students to be bored! Vary your inflection and your volume to keep students engaged. Don’t be afraid to “get into character” and have some fun; your students will pay attention and your lesson will be more likely to stick!