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Jeruba's avatar

Teachers: how do your style of speech and manner of expression change in front of a classroom?

Asked by Jeruba (53604points) January 30th, 2010

Do you speak in shorter sentences than you do in your own normal speech, speak more slowly, draw out certain words for emphasis, use dramatic stage techniques, repeat yourself more? What do you do? (I’m asking “What do YOU do as a matter of your own practice?” and not “What does or should one do?” This is a question about your own style and not a request for advice.)

Or is your classroom style just like your conversational style, only louder?

And is it something you have consciously trained yourself to do, or does it come more or less naturally?

As a point of reference, what grade level do you teach?

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8 Answers

Harp's avatar

I’m much more animated; I use lots of dramatic gestures and exaggerated facial expressions, and modulate my voice much more than I would in conversation. I also roam around quite a bit as I’m lecturing, never staying in one place for long. I find that all of this is necessary to hold people’s attention.

The fact that I teach late (6–11) on Friday nights may be a factor. If I don’t put a lot of energy into my delivery, I see their eyes glaze. It’s definitely a conscious strategy, and not at all like my conversational style. It amuses me that my student feedback forms always rave about my “passion” and “enthusiasm”; hell, I’m just trying to keep them awake and focused.

These are mostly young adults, with a smattering of older career-changers.

galileogirl's avatar

Most effective teachers take on a teacher persona when the class is starting to signal for attention. For me itis not what I say but how I hold myself and stand quietly. Some classes get trained quickly to look to the board for a Do Now but sometimes I get a class that requires a minute or 2 of “the look” before they are telling each other to be quiet.

Once I have their attn and I am teaching I am like @Harp. I get excited by my subject and tend to get more dramatic and animated.

nikipedia's avatar

I yell and tell dumb jokes. In normal conversation I’m much more reserved. In a lot of ways I think I come off as much more confident. Most of my humor in casual conversation is pretty self-effacing.

Like @Harp, it’s a conscious effort to keep the kiddos awake and engaged. I’ve taught mostly 16–19 year olds.

feeder_goldfish's avatar

Like harp, I’m more animated and I definitely amplify my voice. I try to make everything sound so gosh-darn exciting! And frankly, when I’m teaching, everything does seem more exciting! I always roam around the classroom and I make eye contact (however brief) with as many as I can. Sometimes I’ll get in their space; leaning against their desk or tapping on it when I’m making a point. I’ve only ever taught adults, so I don’t know how that would work with kids.

juniper's avatar

My tone and mannerisms change dramatically as soon as I step into the classroom. I teach both college-level ESL students and native speakers. I’ve worked hard to hone my “enthusiastic yet professional” teaching voice. It’s not fake, but it’s definitely different than the casual, dry tone that I use with friends and family.

I’m also a lot more animated in the classroom. I find that great, sweeping gestures or sudden exclamations keep fading students focused. (Most of the courses I teach are 3 hours long. It’s easy to fade.)

Like @Harp, my students seem to pick up on the genuine interest in our subject matter that I allow my voice to convey. This is good. It’s why I never feel too silly when I say or do something a little over-the-top. Like launching into a choppy, haphazard walk around the classroom, explaining to students that this is what a paragraph without internal transitions feels like to the reader.

God, teaching is fun.

zephyr826's avatar

I speak slower with my students than I do with adults. I’m very animated, and I also roam the classroom. I don’t mind embarrassing myself when I’m teaching, as long as it gets a point across. It’s really very freeing.

I teach high school French, kids aged 14–18.

asmonet's avatar

I want Harp to be my teacher. :)

galileogirl's avatar

I’m just back from the state finals of a Constitutional competition and the students were invited to say what their teachers did that most encouraged them. Stories. mostly true, that were examples of the concepts, humor and the occasional butt kicking (My kids rapped you don’t want to make me mad)

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