Sounds of Education: Teacher Role and Use of Voice in Interactions with Young Children

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Voice is a basic tool in communication between adults. However, in early educational settings, adult professionals use their voices in different paralinguistic ways when they communicate with children. A teacher’s use of voice is important because it serves to communicate attitudes and emotions in ways that are often ignored in early childhood classroom research. When teachers take different roles in relation to children, they use their voice with different pitch, melody, and loudness. This research examined how various acoustic elements in teachers’ voices are associated with different teaching roles when explored from a child-sensitive per- spective. The paper proposes an analytical framework in order to characterize paralinguistic elements in teacher’s voices with potential consequences for chil- dren’s affective responses. The paper analyzes auditory elements (pitch, melody, and loudness) that can be recognized in the voices of adult professionals. These are categorized with reference to four different teacher roles: a mentor role, a nurturer role, a controller role, and a playmate role. The findings reveal how auditory ele- ments of teachers’ voices need consideration when planning and evaluating educational practice.
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Early Childhood
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)57-72
Antal sider16
StatusUdgivet - 2017


  • Læring, pædagogik og undervisning