The Small Stuff that Matters: Ditch the Microphone

ESL Teaching: Ditch the Microphone

Microphones for 20 Students? Why?

A little mini-rant for today. Whenever I go into classrooms that only have 20 or 30 desks filling up the entire space, there is always a microphone that has been put to obvious use in the immediate class before me. Like it’s actually sitting on the podium, turned on and I always wonder why. How you interact with the students is part of the small stuff that matters when teaching.

Don’t the Students Hate it?

Who actually has such a small voice that they can’t project it enough for a class of 20 or 30 people? Does anyone actually just stand at the podium and lecture the entire time and think that that’s what teaching is? Does anyone actually like holding a microphone in their hand for 75 minutes? Most importantly, do students actually LIKE listening to a voice that is microphone projected, with a low-quality sound system and crappy microphone? Seriously, I occasionally make use of the speakers for a few minutes to watch a short video or do a little listening thing and they annoy me during that short time, such that I even refuse to use them for more than 4 or 5 minutes each class.

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Conform to my System, my Students

I’ve never used a microphone, even with classes of 40 or 50. I’ve done KOTESOL presentations to rooms of 50 or more and just spoke loudly. However, maybe my style is just kind of different.

I INSIST on absolute silence if I’m talking because I refuse to yell over the students. I find the death stare to be much more effective than yelling anyways.

I quite rarely write down things like answers to questions in the book so students ACTUALLY have to listen to what I’m saying in order to get the information that they need.

I also INSIST that students sit in the first few rows if it is a really large classroom, without a bunch of empty space because I refuse to yell over them. They kind of hate it, but eventually conform to my system.

I also tell them that I will never use a microphone so if their hearing is poor, they really should sit at the front of the classroom and that if they can’t hear, it’s on them and not me.

Professors: at least Decent at Public Speaking? Maybe not

Anyway, isn’t part of the job of “professor” at a university to be at least decent at public speaking? The microphone/podium warrior just doesn’t seem to cut it, in my world at least.

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