The Power of the Quiet Voice

When shouting is getting you nowhere, try this.

23 December, 2022

We’ve all been there. Those times when you’re trying to get the attention of the class but all that’s happening is your students are getting louder, then you’re getting louder and they’re matching your volume right back at ya.

Your voice is white noise.

Instead of fighting fire with fire, try some ice. Try using a quiet voice.

Lowering your voice can have the powerful desired effect of getting your students’ attention. When you speak quietly, it gives students the impression that you’re sharing a secret, something important that you don’t want everyone to hear. It’s captivating. And sometimes you’ll get that ripple effect of a hush descending over the classroom.

And students are hanging on your every word.

When you deliver instructions in a calm voice, you project that you are in control; that you have a handle on your own emotions and the situation.

Now, even if you don’t get this full-blown magical effect that I’ve just described, the difference you might notice is that students come to match your quiet energy when you lower your voice. The wild, noisy energy of shouting to get their attention is replaced with an aura of control, patience and focus.

We see this matching of energy in our daily lives; when we get greeted with a smile and unbounded enthusiasm, we are more likely to relax and engage in a positive way; when we’re snappy and irritable, we’re likely to get a similar response back; when we walk into a library with nothing but the sounds of pages turning and brains ticking, it’s pretty likely we’ll follow suit.

You know the old saying ‘What you put out is what you get back’.

As a teacher, YOU have the power to set the tone of your classroom. If you’re running around in a flap or shouting from your reclined desk chair, are you creating calmness or chaos? What will your students mirror back at you?

Picture yourself back in that shouting battle that I described at the start of this piece. Now ask yourself:

What am I projecting?

And, what would I like to see back?

I’ll leave it to you to make those two pictures match.

Be purposeful teachers
Who are in control
Feel inspired
And know they've done enough.