Education: The tone and voice of teachers would affect student motivation and confidence, according to a study

Education: The tone and voice of teachers would affect student motivation and confidence, according to a study

Pupils are sensitive to their teacher’s voice and tone, a British study of 250 children aged 10 to 16 shows. A warmer and calmer tone would be more effective for learning, while an authoritative tone, on the contrary, would be conducive to rebellion.

The voice of education. According to a study published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology and conducted by researchers at the University of Essex in the UK, students value the voice and tone used by teachers in their lessons. The results would also apply to homeschooling.

For their work, the British researchers had 250 children and young people aged 10 to 16 listen to identical lessons, word for word, but in a more or less authoritarian tone and with a more or less warm voice. The children then had to answer questions to gauge their feelings about what they had just heard.

Warm tone and soft voice

Not surprisingly, dry, cold voices and authoritarian tones are less effective at motivating students. They would even decrease class attendance and make students rebel more. A teacher who delivered his course in this way would therefore be viewed as less trustworthy by students and could lower their self-esteem.

Conversely, a teacher who teaches the exact same lesson and uses the same words, but in a calm and warm tone and with a soft and calm voice, would be much more effective in motivating his students and keeping them interested in the course. He would also be more trustworthy.

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At school and at home

A 2019 study by researchers from Cardiff also showed that these results also apply to home schooling. The tone and voice in which a child is asked to tidy up their room or to do their homework can play a large role in the child’s acceptance of the request and their motivation to complete the task.

Specifically, the researchers asked more than 1,000 adolescents, ages 14 and 15, to respond to identical parental instructions in an authoritarian, neutral, or loving and benevolent tone. Again, adolescents showed that they were more willing to listen to their parents when the same instruction was given in a warm tone rather than an authoritarian tone.