by Robyn A. Merkel-Piccini, M.A., CCC-SLP
Another year is gone and a new year has begun. This is the perfect time for teachers and students to clean up their speech act! Here are some tips for your classroom to encourage better speech skills:
- Teachers should practice projecting the voice from the diaphragm, so that vocal hoarseness does not occur.
- Teachers and students should avoid yelling, shouting, or excessive use of the voice for long periods of time. If hoarseness does occur without an infection, use herbal teas, and throat drops to nurture swollen vocal cords. If the hoarseness persists, see a speech therapist and consult your ENT (Ear-Nose-Throat doctor).
- Pay attention to the ends of words. Speech can sound much clearer with a sharp ending!
- Improve students vocabulary through crossword puzzles, trivia games, and word games.
- Have your hearing checked! Yearly screenings are not just for kids. As we get older, our ears get older too…better hearing means better listening!
- Encourage good eye contact and proper speaking distance. The norms for these "suprasegmentals of speech" vary across culture. Sensitivity to personal space and eye gaze send messages about attention and listening.
- Try group discussions. Group discussions are helpful for discourse skills.