Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument

Quote from Desmond Tutu.

As I read this quote I couldn’t believe the depth of truth in so few words.

When I began working in a school I had the opportunity to work with a experienced teacher called Violet. She was originally from Ghana and she controlled the class with consistency and a whispered voice. To see her teach was an honour. The loudest and most brutal child from London was putty in her hands. To hear her they had to listen carefully. Plus, as I quickly realised – she was always right. She didn’t need to raise her voice, there was an inner calmness and it was magical to watch.

In our home voices aren’t usually raised (unless I’m singing) we tend to bicker it out, not that I’m sure this is any better? However, in the classroom I only tend to raise my voice to give instructions, particularly when the students are absorbed in the previous activity.

This quote is going to find its way on to my classroom wall. As I work in an all girls school they can be LOUD. Teenagers are often full of opinions and willing to express their distaste should anyone disagree. It makes sense that we are at our most vocal during our teen years, as we find our way through societies behaviour patterns, rebel and with a little magic come out unscathed in our mid twenties.

As I age (like a fine wine) I have become quieter (but in no way quiet) the hot air of my twenties is behind me. I cringe at some of the arguments I’ve had in the past and can see that with age comes a better understanding of ourselves and as Desmond suggested – an improvement in argument.

This week I’m going to consciously listen to arguments and how loud the voice of the weaker disputer is.


27 thoughts on “Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument

  1. Totally agree it’s all about control. Mr J just has to give the kids a certain look (a bit like a Paddington Bear cold hard stare) and they just know. I hate hearing parents shouting and swearing at their kids. There’s just no need and what example does it set?! I’m no saint I do shout sometimes but just being firm is usually enough. #thesatsesh


  2. I love this sentiment. I often find that the more I shout, the less my children listen. It’s good to dial it back xx #thesatsesh


  3. I definitely try to get my argument across without shouting, I definitely prefer a controlled conversation over a screaming match. That said, I’m not perfect and shouty mum does show up sometime xx #thesatsesh


  4. Such good advice! I often found when teaching if I spoke in a quiet voice it actually made the class listen more carefully and be quieter themselves. Kids respond to the mood we set. #thesatsesh


  5. This is one of my favourite ever quotes and as a fellow teacher I totally agree. My classroom is calm and I rarely raise my voice in fact I often feel like I’ve failed if I do. To me a raised voice signifies losing control rather than keeping it. Maybe having a son with autism who hates loud voices has also helped 😉 it doesn’t mean I don’t get mad sometimes though, no ones perfect! 🌸 Thank you for hosting #thesatsesh


  6. This is a good quote and I think it will stick with me too. I grew up in a very shouty family but I don’t think it’s the best way to accomplish things. I know I’m more effective with my children when I find ways not to shout. I’ve noticed lately that on days I exercise, I find it easier to control my emotions and avoid shouting. I guess it makes me too tired to shout! 🙂 #thesatsesh


  7. I tend not to be much of shouty person but there are occasions when I can be guilty of raising my voice when my kids are pushing my buttons. I should find ways of changing the situation rather than just repeating myself louder! #thesatsesh


  8. Desmond Tutu is of course spot on. We need to ‘shout quietly’ about the important stuff. I once freaked out some Y9 boys in my first year of teaching by telling them the quieter I got the more angry I was – they thought I was weird but responded very well after that! I have always had a calm presence in the classroom and get all the quiet PGCE students sent to watch me to see how it can work in terms of behaviour management – it just needs a steeliness behind the quiet and a consistency and then it makes for a very effective learning atmosphere. XX


  9. It does make sense, but I’m too quilty of this. I admit, that I became shouty lately – and my mum was the same when I was a child. It’s a really bad habit and leads nowhere. #thesatsesh


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