a. General Information. Voice quality is the characteristic that distinguishes
one voice from another. Some voices have a pleasant quality while others are
unpleasant. Most people have a voice quality that can be made pleasant to listeners.
Sometimes this requires overcoming any tendencies toward nasality, hollowness,
hardness, throatiness, or monotone. A voice monotone has a deadening effect on
students. Inflection will help overcome monotone and hold the students' attention.
Expressive speech can be achieved by change in pitch, volume, rate, or by a
combination of all three. Your voice is your most effective teaching tool. Use it to your
b. Pitch. Pitch is the highness or lowness of a sound. Voice pitch should be at
the natural level used in conversation. You should determine the pitch level at which
you can speak with greatest ease and clarity and then vary your pitch to produce
emphasis where needed. Variation of the pitch breaks monotony and adds interest to
c. Volume. You must speak loudly enough for all students to hear without
difficulty. On the other hand, too loud a voice is deadly. The hearing attention of the
students soon dulls in self-defense. Loudness requires volume. A thin voice can be
loud, but loudness is not enough. If you have the proper volume, students feel
(1) Vary volume. You should vary the volume with the size of the class and
the conditions under which the instruction is given. You can change volume to accent
the proper syllables of words. Accent in pronunciation is described as greater force or
stress on a particular syllable. This means change in volume. Too great a voice
volume makes it difficult to change volume for accent and variation, and more difficult
for the student to catch these changes in volume.
(2) Proper volume. Proper volume is especially important when teaching
outdoors or in a building with poor acoustics. By watching students' reaction, an
instructor can tell if they are having difficulty in hearing. If there is any chance that the
volume of your voice is not satisfactory, have an assistant or a student in the rear signal
you so that you can adjust your voice to the class.
d. Speed. Rate of speech should be governed by the thought or emotion
communicated to the students. Complex material should be presented slowly.
(1) Class learning ability. The instructor should also consider the learning
ability of the class in determining his speed of delivery. Change in the rate of speaking
obtained by a change in pace. Speak faster once in a while, but slow down or pause
occasionally for variety and emphasis.