Voice Health in Teacher training

Welcome to the Voice Health in Teacher training homepage. The resources on this webpage are designed for students on the PG (Home Economics) and UG (Primary Education) teaching courses. The content includes information about voice use and voice problems in teachers, plus various techniques to look after your voice.


Why is this important?

  • The voice is an essential tool of the trade for teachers
  • Teachers are 8 times more likely to experience voice problems than other professions
  • Newly qualified teachers at higher risk, with 50% reporting voice loss during first year of teaching
  • 70,000 teaching days lost yearly in the UK
  • Cost to schools around £15 million per year

Cited in National Education Union (2018)

But…

  • The majority of voice problems are preventable!
  • Prevention is better than cure

Top tips for voice care

General voice care

  • Keep hydrated
  • Don’t force your voice or yell – use alternatives to attract attention
  • Don’t whisper – better to use quiet, relaxed voice
  • Avoid clearing your throat repeatedly
  • Never strain your voice if it is hoarse or you have a cold
  • Release tension through relaxation exercises
  • Allow your voice to rest with periods of no speaking

Remember

  • Diaphragmatic breathing – let your lungs do the work!
  • Posture matters
  • Consider environment and background noise
  • Smoking and acid reflux can have negative effects on your voice
  • Stress and tiredness affect your voice

Mask & Remote Teaching Tips

  • Test your microphone, use a headset if possible
  • No need to raise voice – may need to slow down and speak clearer
  • Sit a bit further away from camera to show body language (just not too far from mic!)
  • Make use of visual cues and video chat functions
  • Check that your listeners have understood
  • With masks, also:
    • Make sure you have listeners attention and face them directly
    • Use ‘safe loudness’ strategies to avoid voice strain

Voice Care Class Slides

For more detailed information on the above content, please take a look at the slides for the voice care sessions which are delivered as part of your programme.

Session 1 covers:

  • Voice survey
  • Our voice and voice problems
  • How our voices work & why they sometimes don’t work
  • How to avoid voice problems
  • Reflection and reading task

Session 2 covers:

  • Reflection on tasks from Session 1
  • Breathing
  • Voice warm-up
  • Remote teaching
  • Face masks and speaking
  • Fitvoice app
  • Reflection
    • Relaxation
    • Voice awareness

References:

National Education Union., 2018. Voice care. Available from: https://neu.org.uk/media/6981/view