Initial Teacher Training

As a teacher, your voice is one of the most powerful tools you possess to educate and communicate with your students.

The Training Programme

In the training, trainees practice varying their voices to suit any teaching situation by using specific vocal techniques. Trainees are introduced to the basic vocal techniques of postural alignment, breath support, resonance, and articulation, as well as the more advanced vocal delivery skills: pace, pitch, rhythm, intonation and inflection. The result of which is having a voice that is not only more self-assured and interesting to listen to, but is healthy, strong and flexible – a voice that will support them throughout their teaching careers.

In the first few years, we noticed that this one-off session approach led to some confusion for trainees who could not understand the connection of voice production to their daily work in the classroom.  Those who had had no voice problems could see no relevance to their work.  You could say that these trainees’ epistemology of teaching could not accept the integration of voice training into their knowledge base without a proper context.

Many trainees were being given erroneous advice by their mentors and older teachers, such as a ‘sore throat is an occupation hazard’, forcing the voice into a lower pitch helps with discipline, and shouting is the only way to control children.

But perhaps more alarmingly, only people with a voice problem, for example nodules or polyps, need any help with their voice.  If teachers are stuck with certain ideas about voice, the big question is how do you change their understanding?

What has been interesting, is the recurring features that a non-voice trained trainee (and indeed qualified non-voice trained teachers) bring to the classroom.

We have identified several features that are usually present before training.  The same general attributes apply to all types of body shape and voice make-up, in males and females alike.

There are features such as: Poor posture leading to poor breath control.

These include, weight being transferred onto one leg, crossing legs over one another to keep balance, crossed arms, body being slumped onto the hips, evidence of clavicular breathing (upper chest breathing) leading to poor support of sound.

Another is pitch. Every voice can produce notes on the pitch range from the highest through medium to lowest (We have 8 notes if the voice is placed properly on our pitch range). The untrained female is often of over-pitched i.e. the sound a voice makes is produced on a note higher than the centred note for that voice.  This constricts the ability to use the whole range of notes that the voice could produce. Together with poor breath control it can produce a voice that sounds thin and sometimes squeaky. Male voices can have similar features but also an under-pitching which effects the quality of the sound. 

All these factors are often linked to very little jaw movement which impedes the mobility of the lips, tongue, and soft palate thus hampering good articulation.

The 6hr course – 4 sessions

Much time in the early sessions is spent on physical balance and alignment, the importance of good breathing and finding the centre of the voice and natural speaking pitch.  The restrictions of habitual use are explored and explained; good habits are taught and practised.

The trainees need to be able to understand the effect of their voice on the pupils in front of them. Using the voice with a tone that subdues the class does not lead to retained learning, indeed the contrary. It has now been established that there is a strong correlation between the tone of voice used and the ability to learn. The correct tone of voice leads to stronger memory, increased absorption of new information, better internalisation, which together yield real deep learning.

By the end of the programme, we hope all trainees will know how to speak with a solid understanding of the ‘centred-neutral’ voice. The ‘centred neutral’ is the main voice for teaching purposes, alongside the four other tones that make up the toolbox of ‘The5Voices’. 

Voice training gives the teacher command over the favourable neurological pathways. The result is better permanent learning, more controlled behaviour by the pupils and much reduced stress for the teacher.

Book an appointment with one of our colleagues today.

Our 5voices training helps teachers, lecturers and professionals avoid common voice issues and use their voices to command the attention of even the busiest lecture theatre.

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...