January 11, 2013

Is “Speaking Up” Good Enough?

One of the great ironies of teaching is that many teachers probably think that as long as they speak loudly enough, every student in their class will not only hear them, but also understand them.

There’s certain logic in that kind of thinking, because we often think that turning up the volume will enable everyone to hear us. But do students in a large classroom really understand every word a teacher is saying? I think, often, they do not.

Battling Noise Competition

The challenges of a classroom from an audio perspective are large. There may be many students nearby who are shuffling around in their seats or rustling paper. There may be extraneous noise from a classroom HVAC system, or a nearby band room, or playground — in other words, external noise competition for the teacher’s voice.

Then there are nuances such as the teacher turning to write on a board, so her voice is directed away from the students. All of these factors can compromise the intelligibility for some students of what a teacher is saying.

How to Meet the Challenges

So, the real challenge in classroom teaching is not merely that students can “hear” that a teacher speaking, but that they understand every word. To see a visual and auditory representation of what I’m talking about, so I’m sure you understand every word I’m saying, please watch the short video I made on the subject.



And so I can hear from you, and understand your opinion on the subject, please give me feedback:  feel free to share your response in the comment block on this page!

Dan Ostergren

Dan Ostergren

Dan Ostergren has been an educational audiologist since the early nineties and is now a managing member of Audiology Resources, LLC, a research and consulting firm.

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Thanks for sharing!
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