Chennai

Teachers take a break from shouting in class

In a seminar on ‘Voice care for students and teachers,’ conducted by Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre in coordination with Medical Advance Research Foundation, close to 150 teachers got a respite from talking -- Photo: M. Karunakaran   | Photo Credit: M_Karunakaran

N.R. Sarala was used to throwing her voice around. On Friday, the schoolteacher learnt better ways to control her class of 40.

In a seminar on ‘Voice care for students and teachers,’ conducted by Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre in coordination with Medical Advance Research Foundation, close to 150 teachers got a respite from talking.

Dr. M. Kumaresan, who engaged the teachers at the day-long seminar, began with the very basics — breathing techniques. “I have noticed that after 10 years of teaching, close to 20 per cent of teachers develop voice-related problems,” he said.

Ms. Sarala who has been teaching for close to 15 years recalls how she did not take voice-associated risks seriously, early on.

“Of late, I have been facing a lot of difficulty with my voice and am undergoing treatment. The seminar was very hands-on as we were taught how to reach out to a larger number of students without raising our voice,” she said.

Amid deafening silence and raucous laughter, teachers were introduced to the basic principles of voice care and how to include it in daily routine, necessary lifestyle changes for a healthy voice, speech therapy, basics of virtual reality therapy and chiefly, breathing techniques.

“A healthy respiratory system is key to a healthy voice. Ideally, the abdomen must come out when you inhale, and go in when you exhale,” Dr. Kumaresan said.

The most common problem in teachers, he said, is the formation of a nodule or a growth in the vocal chords.

“It feels like something sticking in the throat, but in reality, there would be nothing. This occurs mainly due to misuse and overuse of vocal chords. If detected when still a soft nodule, specific breathing exercises can cure it,” he said. The symptoms of this problem would manifest as normal speech in the morning, but a hoarse voice by evening.

Professionals who employ their voice, such as singers, teachers, actors and politicians, must produce sound from the abdomen rather than the throat, Dr. Kumaresan said. This, combined with breathing exercises taught during the seminar, will help her overcome the risks faced, another teacher, V.V. Neeraja said.

“I handle classes I to VIII and have no break from talking all day. The breathing exercises we learnt were quick and can be done in between classroom sessions,” she said.

The seminar was inaugurated by Chennai mayor Saidai S. Duraisamy, and a book titled Meimai Maruthuvam by Dr. Kumaresan was also released on the occasion.



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Printable version | May 6, 2021 6:00:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/teachers-take-a-break-from-shouting-in-class/article4200694.ece

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