‘Education is an art – it must speak to the child’s experience. To educate the whole child, his heart and his will must be reached, as well as the mind.’ (Rudolf Steiner).
The tool of the teacher is the voice. The voice can inspire and enliven, facilitating an engaging learning experience for students of all ages.
However the voice should not be taken for granted – numerous studies have identified certain vocations, including teachers, as being at higher risk of occupational voice disorders. A study of teachers in South Australia showed 16% of teachers reporting voice problems on the day of the survey, with 20% reporting problems during the current year, with females twice as likely to report problems than males (1998, Russell et al…).
There is an identified need for educational programs aimed at preventing voice problems among professional voice users – as studies also show that ‘voice training significantly improved the knowledge, awareness and quality of voice’ (2011, Hazlett et al…).
The voice is such a versatile tool – it is used to express all kinds of emotion – in fact the tone of the voice often carries more meaning than the words spoken. In the teaching sphere, the voice can be used to engage students, to encourage participation and cooperation, and to give meaning and life to the content being taught.
Learning care and awareness of the voice tool is an important step in investing in teaching longevity as well as continuity of care, as improved voice health means less time off work and away from students.
Sydney Rudolf Steiner College is pleased to be partnering with Nicole Ostini from TeacherPlus to provide the teaching community with a NESA endorsed professional development course which addresses the need for voice training and care. Over two days spaced apart, participants in the course learn how to centre and place their voice, and how to work with the breath to avoid tension in the vocal chords.
The course is tailored to address practical scenarios which teachers face regularly – larger classes, teaching outdoors or in other unusual settings, as well as how to incorporate non-verbal gestures actions designed to take a load off continual reliance on the voice.
The two sessions are spaced apart to allow teachers to take the content and apply it to their own circumstance, and to return with observations, feedback and questions which facilitates deeper engagement with the content and increased ability to make long lasting and healthy adaptions to voice usage.
If you are interested to learn more or to come along to Nicole’s course, here is the link.