Most of the time, what people remember is how you spoke to them, not what you said. Hence, how you talk to you students matter a lot whether you are taking a conscious effort to improve this or not. This is probably the reason why you are more likely to remember what you and your friends talked about than what a stranger told you a few days ago. How is that? Because you are more relaxed when talking to someone you are familiar with. You are being you because everything is natural and you feel at ease. Now the same goes for your student. The way you hold your conversation with them is important; it determines how receptive they will be to what you say.
As mentioned earlier, naturalness is appealing. It is true even for us. So be natural but avoid being overly casual. In some cultures, there are ways of showing the respect that is different from ours. We should be aware of these ways for they can come in handy while we are lecturing, although we can always be ready with a warm smile.
Focus your thoughts on what you are saying, not the impression you are making on the student. Also, avoid carelessness. Just because you are being conversational doesn’t mean wrong pronunciation, slang, and muffled speech is alright. There should be a limit. We want to maintain dignity, both to ourselves and to our job.
When our speech is too formal, our sentences tend to be flat and even-paced. It might even sound stiff, and will not set a good example for our student. Therefore, the variation of speed and tone is important. In a normal conversation, you can notice these two things in play: the pace is always changing and there are frequent pauses here and there. From this point, we can also learn to adjust our tempo depending on what we are currently discussing. Speak from the heart. Focus on your aim to teach the student through communication.
The quality of our voice is also valuable. Do we speak in a concerned, friendly manner? Our student will likely listen more intently to us if we speak in a way that puts him at ease. And it’s not just our voice itself. Mostly, it has something to do with our feelings toward our student.
If we are concerned with him and really want him to learn, our voice will show it.So it’s important to reflect first on our own viewpoint and make the needed modification. But there are some cases wherein an unpleasant voice quality isn’t from our personality or how we view teaching, but rather, from inherited defect or health problems. This is something that is out of our control. However, it is crucial not to imitate that of other people’s voice but to find the potential of your own.
The last point and the most important is to practice. When you are with your family and friends, check your own conversation habits. You might ask one of them to observe your speech, and then get suggestions and tips from them. Remember, you are your first student. To excellently teach your student, you then have to master it first.