Speak in front of the class
Talking is part of everyday life for you. Reason enough, then, to deal with body and voice very consciously. Here you will find our five top tips for body language, rhetoric and voice: from speaking credibly and releasing the brakes on thinking to strengthening your voice.
Body language and rhetoric – essential for teachers
As a teacher, you speak to and with students every day. So, you are not afraid of speaking: you are a confident speaker almost by profession. Nevertheless, there are certainly a few tricks and tricks that you can use to further optimize your daily appearance in front of the students. We have put together our top 5 tips for body language and rhetoric for you here.
- Look for credibility.
Body language is still central to all of us today. Historically, that makes perfect sense, after all, at first we could only communicate with gestures and sounds. Later, the voice leading became more controlled – and finally the verbal language emerged. When making a first impression, we still subconsciously pay attention to body language. And “hands and feet” are also used for complex content or when communicating with people who do not speak our language.
You should therefore pay attention to your body language, especially when speaking in front of groups, but also in front of colleagues. You appear credible when what is said and what is done are congruent. For example, if you say to the students: “Your opinion interests me a lot!”, but cross your arms in front of your chest and possibly raise an eyebrow, the students will hardly believe you.
You can practice certain key phrases that you use again and again in class with full physical effort in preparation. If possible, please do not do this in front of the mirror: You should only empathize and not rehearse any gestures or sequences of gestures. Because that doesn’t seem very credible either.
- Don’t forget to wave your hand.
What sounds strange at first is quickly explained. Children learn with and about gestures as early as pre-school age. In turn, it helps adults because it supports the flow of thought and makes complex content comprehensible. Incidentally, this applies to both you and your listeners – ultimately, your gestures also make it easier for yourself to speak.
Here, too, the well-intentioned piece of advice: don’t stage and don’t study any gestures. These gestures are often used with a slight time lag, i.e. either too early or too late – or they come in parallel, but seem wooden. So rather allow natural movements by “just letting your arms and hands do their thing”. This usually works wonderfully: The movement fits what is said and ideally comes at the right time immediately before the respective utterance.
- Asking doesn’t cost anything: Feel your body language.
Most of us have a very unique body language that has evolved over the years. By no means everything happens consciously – we use many gestures, facial expressions or postures completely unconsciously. So it’s worth addressing those who you see “in action” again and again: friends, relatives or maybe even nice colleagues. Ask her if there are any typical gestures or postures that just “belong to you.” The better you know your unconscious body language, the more consciously you can use it.
If you can’t or don’t want to ask anyone, or you want to find out more about yourself, the best thing to do is tap into the family “memory boxes”: Old videos or photo albums will tell you a lot. You can use this opportunity to practice a little body language training: For example, think about how you would have looked in the photo of your uncle 50th birthday if you had sat up straight or hadn’t buried your arms in your pockets. You can also play through these mental exercises in real life and sit down accordingly.
- Release the thinking brake.
Of course, as a teacher, you don’t want to say anything rash. However, this often means that you get in your own way when you talk. Because like the “don’t wave your hand while talking!” Her gestures inhibit, limit the tiresome “Always think before you say something!” you in your speaking. Be aware: If you want to be a lively speaker, you simply cannot think every sentence through to the end first. Thoughts only come to an end when you talk – so don’t constantly slow yourself down.
You can then pass this encouragement on to your students. Quiet students in particular often have a “speech-thinking problem”: they work on every sentence mentally for far too long, i.e. they “think-speak” instead of starting with speaking and finishing the rest of the thought while speaking.
Good ways to encourage speech thinking include:
- Keywords that encourage you to speak instead of formulated thoughts,
- small pauses in speaking, which give space for new speaking impulses,
- Intermediate questions from students that take you out of the routine and “force” you to be more specific,
- an open posture and
- calm breath.
- Strengthen your voice – you will need it for a long time.
The greatest body language won’t do you any good if you’re too hoarse to get a peep out, or if you’re speaking at a whisper-loud level in general. A strong voice is essential for you. You should therefore regularly carry out appropriate exercises – for example the so-called breath throw.
To do this, first stand up straight and place one hand on your stomach. Breathe in and out slowly and consciously observe your breath. Then exhale on “fff”. Teeth and lips form a constriction so that you can expel the air in a targeted manner. Repeat this for a few breaths, taking small breaks so you don’t hyperventilate.
Then imagine that you blow out a candle with the f sound. Pull in your stomach abruptly, expel the “f” and immediately relax the abdominal wall again; then repeat the whole thing several times. You don’t have to take a deep breath to do this, but please remember to take small breaks between repetitions.