They’re booming, boisterous, bigger than life! A powerful, loud voice can be appreciated at times and redirected at other times. Often a teacher’s reaction is to quash the behavior, but their power actually likes in determining when speaking loudly enhances a situation and when it detracts.
Because the teacher’s goal is to help students appreciate themselves and see how they can belong in positive ways, their challenge is to discover how and when a loud voice can make a positive contribution. In addition, a teacher must learn how to gain the student’s cooperation when a loud voice is inappropriate.
Suggestions a Loud Voice
- The first step in dealing with a student who uses an unusually loud voice is to suggest a hearing test. This should be set up first with your school nurse and/or administraion.
- Speaking to the student more quietly, rather than trying to match their volume, creates an awareness of voice levels and also eliminates competition between teacher and student.
- Avoid giving negative reminders, such as, “Please don’t talk so loud.” A positive reminder might be. “Sara, please use a softer voice.”
- Talk to the student about arranging a signal that you can use to remind her when it isn’t a time for speaking loudly
- If you’re feeling annoyed, angry, or upset, use the class meeting format to talk to your students about how loud boisterous behavior impacts you and their learning.
Planning Ahead to Prevent Future Problems
- Create opportunities to use loud voices such as acting in a play, calling out the daily announcements, or cheerleading. Appreciate the use of loud voices at these times.
- In a class meeting, take time to discuss appropriate voice levels. Have the students come up with a list of situations both in and out of school where loud voices are appropriate and appreciated. Have them make another list of places where a quiet tone is needed. A follow-up meeting could be used to practice, demonstrate, and discuss their solutions.
- Create opportunities for students to learn in active ways that make good use of exuberance. Math teams or role plays in history class may help them channel their energy in a positive direction.
- Avoid labeling a student or a class as boisterous or loud. This limits the students’ view and your view of both individuals and the group. Keep in mind that a loud voice can be a gift as well as a liability.
- Find an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the family style of the student who always speaks loudly. There is a wide variety of voice levels, and people have many ways of expressing themselves. By collecting this information, you can develop a better understanding of the student’s behavior and become more encouraging.