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Instructional audio can help teachers build relationships with students.

How I build relationships with students using instructional audio

When educators are close with their students, the classroom and teaching experience are even more enjoyable

The COVID-19 pandemic shined a light on the importance of instructional audio solutions. With mask mandates and social distancing, instructional audio solutions play a critical role—projecting educators’ voices and ensuring every student can hear and understand what’s being asked of them.

Access to intelligible, clear audio has never been more important.

However, while instructional audio solutions gained traction in the pandemic, there’s so much more to instructional audio than just projecting an educator’s voice. Instructional audio benefits all students—students with learning loss, students in the back of classrooms, non-native English speakers, and others.

Here’s how I’m using instructional audio as a second-grade teacher at Dora L. Small Elementary School in South Portland, Maine.

“Come on down!”
Strong relationships with students are so important; I truly believe that as a teacher, you can’t get anywhere in academics until you’ve built relationships with your students. In fact, a review of Educational Research analysis found that strong teacher-student relationships were associated in both the short- and long-term with improvements. Higher student academic engagement, grades, attendance, fewer disruptive behaviors and suspensions, and lower school dropout rates all improve with strong teacher-student relationships.

Beyond the students, these strong relationships benefit teachers as well. When we are close with our students, the classroom and teaching experience are even more enjoyable. The benefits are numerous! At Dora L. Small Elementary School, we moved to a hybrid learning environment for a significant amount of time.

This decrease in face-to-face interactions with students meant I didn’t get as much time to build and foster relationships with my students. To build relationships with my students and make the most of our time together, I decided to start welcoming students back to my classroom like a game show host, using my microphone to be overly dramatic and silly. I held the microphone close to my mouth and did my best Drew Carey impression from The Price is Right. The students loved the goofiness of the whole thing and it put a smile on their faces, and mine.

In addition to creating a fun and lighthearted atmosphere, instructional audio has also helped me gain and hold the attention of my students. I’ll use my low voice and hold the microphone close to my face to get the attention of my students, rather than having to ask multiple times for their attention. It’s an easy way to get my students back on track while saving my voice and energy.

Available for questions
While instructional audio allows me to be silly at times, it also allows me to build those critical connections with just a microphone and show my students that I care about them.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I also used Lightspeed’s Activate system, which allows me to monitor students’ group work in my classroom using the same teacher microphone and a mobile device. Students can alert me when they need assistance using their student microphone “pods,” allowing me to keep everyone progressing and on the right track. I can also check in from anywhere in the room to ensure my students are focused on their assignments. This flexibility allows me to engage and interact with every one of my students, even if I am physically not next to them.

We’re in it together
At first, I thought instructional audio was just for projecting; it wasn’t a resource that I felt I needed since I’ve always had a louder teacher voice. But as soon as I started using instructional audio, I found that I could use my regular voice and all of my students could still clearly hear me. While the transition took a bit of getting used to at first, instructional audio is now a no-brainer. When I get to my classroom each morning, I turn on the lights, put on my microphone and am ready to start my day.

Now, as mask mandates change and we adjust to in-person learning once again, it’s important that we take the time to reflect. From moving nearly overnight to remote learning in March 2020, to changing in-person lesson plans to be virtual, to ensuring we complete our goals for the school year while teaching over Zoom, the pandemic has proved that together, we can overcome anything.

Together, we’ve got this.

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