Sunday, April 19, 2009

Talking the Talk

Earlier this week I left a comment (which I later turned into a blogpost) on this post by @wmchamberlain and was invited, via Twitter, to be a contributor at "At the Teacher's Desk" As I'd already identified audio and video of myself as a personal dislike I decided that the first step in "walking the talk" would be to use an audio-post as my first contibution to the blog.

Click to play*

This is my speaking voice; I mean this is the voice I use at school in class and with colleagues. I made a conscious effort to change and modify the way I spoke at teachers college 10 years ago. Out of school it’s a little more relaxed, but I maintain the same inflections, vocabulary and syntax. I still encounter occasional blank looks at particular phrases and sometimes I can see people ruminating, trying to decode exactly what I just said, because I used a familiar word in an unfamiliar context, but most of the time my altered English voice serves me well.

But I’m not English. I’m a Yorkshireman. I’m Yorkshire, a tyke. This is my real voice. It’s flatter and my Yorkshire accent is broader. I drop my aitches, miss out words like ‘the’ and the letter T and replace them with a glottal stop. Most vowels become short vowels, others undergo a shift, taking on other vowel sounds. Some words with a double O sound in become U and others are extended into diphthongs. Ends of words are shortened or clipped and unfamiliar dialect words may be used instead of Standard English words. Right doesn’t sound like write, Mother or mum stays much the same, but father is different, dad is not. Boys and girls are lads and lasses who like to play football on the grass and if a lad scored a goal he’d be really proud of himself. They might have brought something for their lunch, but if they haven’t brought anything they’ll have nothing to eat and will be hungry on the way home.

How many times have you heard an adult say, “I hate the sound of my own voice.” Someone (@klandmiles in Singapore) tweeted on Twitter last week, “Of course you hate the sound of your own voice, it’s in the rules.”

I wonder how children hear themselves. So do kids hate the sound of their own voice? Or do they listen and think, “Hey! That’s me!”

We expect children to want to record themselves on audio or video and many of them do, but a small percentage of them will feel as I still do...I hate the sound of my own voice. What can we do to nurture these students? How can we build their confidence and encourage them to participate and create in this way? Do they have to?


*audio recorded on a Nokia N95, three main takes and edited in Audacity


Wm Chamberlain said...

Honestly, I really like the sound of your voice. You should view it as a strength, not a weakness. It separates you from those around you, and not necessarily in a negative way. While it is true that many don't like the sound of their own voice, that doesn't mean those around don't like it.

Maybe we should do voice overs for each other. Your students might like my accent, and I know my students would love yours!

Live and Learn said...

I read somewhere that the reason people "don't like the sound of their own voice" is that a voice coming from an external source sounds different than the way a person would hear themselves as they are speaking. It's just different. In hearing a recording of their voice, my kids always ask "Do I REALLY sound like THAT" (they usually do sound just like that, and it usually sounds good to me).

luvnteachin said...

I know this was not the purpose of this post but I as well enjoy the sound of your voice, and was wondering if I could use a recording of your voice in my class. Your Yorkshireman accent. We read A Secret Garden and I have yet to find a good example of a Yorkshire accent. My kids would love to hear it from a native speaker!

Ali Colbeck said...

We use Audacity to record excerpts from books for our reading assignments, an activity that most of the kids adore. However, one young girl (recently arrived in Australia from the UK) recorded a post but physically cringed every time she heard it. I wondered then if it was the first time she had heard her gorgeous accent through the lens of our Australian drawl? What is it that we are judging ourselves against when we 'hear' ourselves speak??
We posted our podcasts on our website and here is hoping some positive feedback can help us all learn to live with how we sound :)

Mel Gibb said...

Congratulations and well done. I too, hate the sound of my own voice and will reluctantly demo how to record voice to my students but then immediately delete the evidence. I certainly can’t do what you have manage and that is to publish it on the www.

Strangely I have never had a student refuse to record their voice over the years…. may be that is a characteristic of the “digital native”. They are OK with hearing their own voice.

NZWaikato said...

I love this post, as I come from the sort of well I'd refer to it as 'low key' approach. I've never put a post of myself anywhere on my work, nor have I had video tape of myself shown. I've always been like that, I've done countless, countless sports teams and never put myself in the frame. I don't know I think its something that your happy with, or something your not, and there is a "cult of personality" with some people who are more than happy to be an online force or face, and I'm just not one of them.

Jarrod Lamshed said...

I think that this is a great example of a teacher stepping out of his comfort zone, and that is something that we need to keep pushing ourselves to do. I am another person who prefers to stay firmly in the editing room and not in front of the camera.

An earlier post on this site by Bill Chamberlain (wmchamberlain) and the comments that followed pushed me to step out of this comfort zone and put myself in front of the camera for the recording of a skype call with Joe McClung's (jkmcclung) class. It's an unusual feeling seeing yourself on film, and an even more unusual feeling to be posting it for all to see.

I'm glad I did though. It let me conquer that 'fear' and let's me better model what I expect from my students.

Pam Thompson said...

I love hearing different accents - it's so much better than the days when all BBC presenters spoke the "Queen's English". Loved hearing your recording - reminded me of many of my fav progs, such as Dalziel & Pascoe. I, too, have trouble with recording and am always surprised at the way I sound. I certainly don't have the Welsh/Cardiff accent that I expect to hear. Good on you for coming out of your comfort zone - something most of us need to do more often.

Jarrod Lamshed said...

I seem to be in a reflective mood this week, and looking back, this is probably one of the posts that has encouraged me to change my classroom practice the most. After reading this, I made a conscious effort to 'put myself out there' more often and model learning even if it means stepping out of my comfort zone. Thank you.