Focus Group: Teachers explore SoundWave … and discover the potential to unlock good conversation between staff, pupils, leadership teams and parents.

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An exciting exploratory session with a group of teachers from UK secondary schools around the country explored communication pinch points, and the challenges of making your voice heard among a multitude of stakeholders.

Focus group attendees came from a range of establishments, urban, suburban and rural, that had one thing in common: they’re all in deprived areas with a huge variety of social, educational and welfare needs.

Themes that surfaced included a tendency for top-down communication, issues with clarity of message, a very human inclination to responding to the delivery of the message rather than the message itself, and how you deliver information to students as passive recipients ‘at your peril’.

It also became clear how teachers, possibly more than any other profession, deal with a broad range of stakeholders, from students (both as a teacher and a mentor), to leadership teams, peers, parents and the community at large. How do you do this effectively, and be your authentic self?

SoundWave founder-director Kevin Eyre says ‘SoundWave offers a measure of verbal style in social interaction. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the impact we have on others through the way we speak and to make us skilful in responding to at the wide range of situations that professionals face. This starting point uniquely lends itself to a school setting, where good ‘talk’ is crucial to good outcomes, and where it is easy, sadly and understandably, to get it wrong’.

Kevin continues, ‘I am grateful to the focus group for the honest and open discussion that explored how we differentiate our ‘talk’ in a variety of settings, and how the hierarchy of schools exaggerates this’.

Though several of the schools represented in our focus group use Scripted Behaviour Interventions in response to certain student behaviours, our cohort felt that this was only effective when used along with more empathetic ‘emotional intelligence’. One participant commented ‘Emotional intelligence is really key to be able to diagnose our own ability to ‘flex’ our voices in any given situation, and repair a relationship after a scripted intervention’.

We are working with colleagues within the teaching profession to hone a programme tailor made for educational settings.

For more information, please email kevineyre@soundwave.global.