How the pandemic has changed the way we train (thanks to Zoom)

With the launch of a new website, there is also so much to catch up on where we are as an organisation.

With the launch of a new website, there is also so much to catch up on where we are as an organisation. 

To start with, we thought it would be useful to explain how the pandemic has transformed the way we train and how The 5voices has evolved in the last couple of years.

Moving the classroom to Zoom

My colleague, Suzanne Parke, and I have spent the last 12 years travelling to Essex, Surrey and Sussex to work with trainees on different teacher training courses. In the early days, we would work with a cohort of about 25. We developed a day’s course of six hours and sometimes we were able to return for a further three hours. Then lockdown came and, like many, we discovered Zoom.

Our major voice course is in Essex. This year there were 125 trainees and we carried out our six hours over an eight-week period in November and December.

Like most others, we have had to adapt our training. We split the group into groups of 25 and developed a course of four 1.5hours sessions over an eight-week period.

Our two tutors became four with the introduction of a Speech and Language Therapist, Clarissa Hardaker who had just finished her MA at the Central School of Speech and Drama and Sue Lockwood who joined the team for Secondary trainees.

Bringing a new scientific grounding to our voice work

But possibly the most exciting development was the discovery of Prof. Silke Pullmann, a neuroscientist working at the University of Essex.

Silke has been working on the effect of vocal tone on the brain and how it affects mood and brain function for about 10 years.

Having read a paper by her and others in her team, I contacted her about the work we were doing, especially the effect of vocal tone on behaviour and learning.

It was one of those serendipitous meetings. Silke’s university was very keen that any research done and published should have some application outside the academic field and so we have become that application.

Silke’s work gives a bio-chemical grounding to our hitherto intuitive work. It has also changed the way the programme is delivered and it now has a much stronger emphasis on the importance of brain hormone activity on memory and learning abilities. We are being led by the science.

All in all, the impact of the pandemic has opened up the possibility for training even more individuals around voice and having a bigger impact than we ever thought possible.

How we can help

If you would like to discover more about how we work and the 5voices method, you can read more here.

Self-Analysis Voice Test

You will need to be able to use your voice at a professional skills level in order to communicate effectively in the classroom.  Read and consider the following statements.  Mark each statement yes or no according to your view of your voice.

To do...