Their master's voice

5th November 2004 at 00:00
Q: Even though I have a group of naughty Year 4 children, I rarely shout.

Nevertheless, I seem to be losing my voice already. Do you have any good old-fashioned remedies to help me?

A: Start by strengthening your voice. Singing is good exercise and fun, so start now. Talk to a musician about voice exercises. To save your voice, you need to establish routines and agreed classroom behaviour. Try for a quiet start to the day. Use the board in your class for messages - then you can focus on individuals. Children enjoy special codes, so think about gaining their attention without using your voice. Rain sticks are good, or use a visual signal.

Don't shout over the class. Children find it fun and tend to pay attention if you start talking rubbish - "There's a four-legged shark dancing across the windows." Maximise whole-class time on the carpet, where you can establish acceptable volume levels. With your pupils, reflect on the purpose of all the talk happening in your classroom. And get your mentor to help.

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