myTESOL Lounge

Expand all | Collapse all

How do you encourage your quiet students to speak louder?

  • 1.  How do you encourage your quiet students to speak louder?

    Posted 18 days ago
    I'm sure all of you encountered this at some point in your teaching career: a student speaking in such a low voice that neither the teacher nor the students can hear him/her. I have a student like this in my class currently.  Even after I ask her to speak louder 2-3 times, I can still barely hear her. How do you deal with this issue in your classroom? I'm on the verge of buying a mic for her, but I know it won't solve the problem because the cause is likely anxiety. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.

    Kateryna

    ------------------------------
    Kateryna Forynna
    Director, English Language Center
    University of North Carolina Wilmington
    United States
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: How do you encourage your quiet students to speak louder?

    Posted 17 days ago
    Edited by Paul Beaufait 17 days ago
    Hi Kateryna,

    Rather than a suggestion, please allow me to offer a reflection first.

    In recent years, when in face-to-face settings, it seems I've been asking students to speak up more and more often. I came to a realization that part of the problem may be partial personal hearing loss. (Routine hearing tests for educators here aren't particularly fine-grained.)

    One tactic I've used is to ask a student near me whether they heard what the student who'd spoken had said, and if so to reiterate it. Occasionally, in teacher-fronted settings, you even could ask the speaker to telegraph her response from student to student up a row till it becomes audible.

    I hope that helps.

    Paul

    ------------------------------
    /////
    Paul Beaufait
    Associate Professor
    Japan
    /////
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: How do you encourage your quiet students to speak louder?

    Posted 16 days ago
    Hi everyone,
    About the learner who speaks at a low voice, if I may ask does this learner speak the same way throught? I mean we need to inderstand the cause of this through observing her during her play time with the peers and the parents.
    If she does this only during lessons there's room to change but if it is something natural then accomodations and modifications have to be applied.
    This learner can be encouraged to speak up in a friedly way by creating good teacher pupil relationship, bring her close and encourage her to always speak up, most learners speek the same way in fear to make mistakse.
    Regards Rehema

    ------------------------------
    Nalunkuma Rehema
    Kampala School for Physically Handicapped
    Uganda
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: How do you encourage your quiet students to speak louder?

    Posted 16 days ago
    This is very likely something that you've already used, but maybe it should be added to the discussion.  Sometimes it is very helpful to use something like "Think, Pair, Share" or a similar pattern that gives the very quiet student a chance to practice with one person, close by and quietly, before being asked to speak to the whole group.  This can also give the partner an opportunity to speak for the shy one, reporting his or her ideas to the whole class.  When a shy person knows his/her ideas are well received, some increased courage can grow.

    ------------------------------
    Nancy Ackles
    United States
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: How do you encourage your quiet students to speak louder?

    Posted 17 days ago
    Hi, Kateryna,

    Paul's suggestions make sense, and I will try to remember this for the future for my own classroom. It might be helpful to have a conversation with her. The fact that she is frequently asked to speak up may embarrass her, which can exacerbate the problem. The problem might be cultural or physiological If you know any speech language pathologists, maybe one can suggest some exercises the student can do on her own to help her speak louder. Last thought: There are apps that can be connected to the AV system (if there is one in the room), which the student could put on her phone and use as a mic. I haven't had to do that yet, so I can't recommend a specific app.

    This is a great question, and I will be interested to see other replies.

    Best regards,

    ------------------------------
    Dayna Foster
    Adjunct Instructor
    Indian River State College
    Okeechobee, FL
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: How do you encourage your quiet students to speak louder?

    Posted 16 days ago
    Hi Kateryna,
    Sure most of us have that problem with students who don't speak aloud, but maybe in this particular case, your student faces a psychological problem, why if she is shy or maybe she isn't sure about her knowledge and is fear to make a mistake while participating? What about having an appointment with the psychologist in order to have a professional opinion?
    Regards,

    Dora Calvo

    ------------------------------
    [Dora] [Calvo]
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: How do you encourage your quiet students to speak louder?

    Posted 15 days ago
    Most students in class are afraid of getting things wrong or speaking up before their classmates, they are harder to express themselves and participate in class. We can use this strategy in a real class: students work in small groups, in this space they interact and communicate with one other.


    ------------------------------
    Etsy Roxana Nunes Noronha
    Universidad Nacional de la Amazonia Peruana
    Peru
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: How do you encourage your quiet students to speak louder?

    Posted 15 days ago
    Kateryna,

    I have a few questions:

    When you meet with the student privately, is she able to speak more loudly?
    Also when you've met with her privately, have you asked her why she is so quiet?
    When you have students work in pairs or small groups, does she have the same problem?
    Do you ever do written forums (or journals, or something similar)?  If so, does she express herself better there?
    If you have students memorize or use set dialogues for practice (such as the Side-by-Side series), is she able to speak more loudly when she knows exactly what to say?

    Karen

    ------------------------------
    Karen Stanley
    Professor, Academic ESL
    Central Piedmont Community College
    Charlotte, NC USA
    karen.stanley@cpcc.edu
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: How do you encourage your quiet students to speak louder?

    Posted 14 days ago
    Katerina. I like your idea to buy mic. But I am not sure if that student would like to speak on it. Mostly silent students are shy and they dont prefer to be in the center of attention. As for me I would ask the student to write her/his answer allocating time for this. Still not sure if this approach would work...

    ------------------------------
    Dina Mamirbaeva
    Nukus State Pedagogical Institute
    Uzbekistan
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: How do you encourage your quiet students to speak louder?

    Posted 14 days ago
    I found that shy students speak when the members of the team ask to
    participate with them.

    2020-09-06 15:23 GMT-02:00, Dina Mamirbaeva via TESOL International




  • 11.  RE: How do you encourage your quiet students to speak louder?

    Posted 13 days ago
    Thank you all for great suggestions. I'm teaching listening and speaking, so I would like for all students to speak as much as possible in class. When working in pairs, this student also speaks quietly, and I can hear other students asking her to repeat what she said multiple times. When I ask her to speak up, she says that it hurts to speak louder.

    ------------------------------
    Kateryna Forynna
    Director, English Language Center
    University of North Carolina Wilmington
    United States
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: How do you encourage your quiet students to speak louder?

    Posted 13 days ago
    If it's truly physically difficult for her, maybe sit would be good for her to see a speech pathologist.

    Karen

    ------------------------------
    Karen Stanley
    Professor, Academic ESL
    Central Piedmont Community College
    Charlotte, NC USA
    karen.stanley@cpcc.edu
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: How do you encourage your quiet students to speak louder?

    Posted 6 days ago
    Here's what I would do:  Speak to her privately...either before class or after class.   Tell her the problem...you can't hear what she's saying in class, and are not sure what to do about it.  Ask her if she has any suggestions   If she is speaking so softly because she really doesn't want to participate, then if it were me, I would just "skip" her during those times.   But if she is raising her hand and wants to participate but you can't hear her, then you can ask her what a good solution is.  I think making sure she is aware of YOUR problem, and has a chance to help YOU is important. FWIW, a small plastic megaphone is a lot cheaper than a microphone.   And a paper megaphone is even cheaper than that!?   Let us know how it works out!!

    ------------------------------
    Elizabeth Bigler
    Owner/Head Teacher
    Bigler ESL
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: How do you encourage your quiet students to speak louder?

    Posted 5 days ago
    Great suggestions, Elizabeth! Thank you for sharing them. Empowering this student to help you, the teacher, is truly inspired!

    ------------------------------
    Amy Alice Chastain
    The University of Iowa
    United States
    amy-chastain@uiowa.edu
    ------------------------------