Vocal Health Tips For Teachers

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This article is courtesy of the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your comments below…..

schoolbusSchool isn’t just for the students, teachers need to prepare, as well, by performing vocal warm-ups to keep their voice healthy during the school year, according to experts at Baylor College of Medicine.

“It is helpful to warm up the voice box prior to prolonged voice use,” said Dr. Julina Ongkasuwan, assistant professor of otolaryngology – head and neck surgery at Baylor. “Make sure to be well hydrated before and during warm-up exercises.”

Diaphragmatic breathing, exercises to reduce muscle tension, articulation flexibility and tongue twisters are all part of vocal warm-ups.

“Diaphragmatic breathing provides full breath support, which results in greater air flow into the lungs to better support your voice,” said Felicia Carter, speech-language pathologist for the Institute for Voice and Swallowing at Baylor. “Good posture is essential for muscle range of motion.”

Articulation exercises will help improve diction, and incorporating tongue twisters into the exercises will help the individual recite the phrases without extra tension in the tongue, lips or jaw, she said.

“Less strain on the larynx while speaking means less vocal fatigue and decreased incidence of vocal lesions,” Ongkasuwan said.

Nodules, polyps and other lesions can appear from vocal overuse. If someone has polyps on their vocal folds, their voice may sound rough or raspy.

Ongkasuwan suggested that teachers build in time for voice rest while with students to prevent lesions and other voice problems. Her suggested classroom modifications include:

* Maintain good hydration

* Use visual outlines and handouts to decrease verbal repetition

* Use nonverbal cues, like ringing a bell or turning lights on and off, to gain attention

* Incorporate quiet reading, student projects and question/answer sessions into teaching style

* Run a humidifier

* Do not talk through a cold or laryngitis

Even without the presence of lesions, it can become painful to speak when using the incorrect musculature. Speech pathologists can massage these areas to loosen the muscles and provide voice therapy.

“Voice therapy is designed to directly address disorders of pitch, loudness, resonance and respiration,” Carter said. “The goal of voice therapy is to reduce or prevent a voice disorder by balancing the three subsystems of voice, which are respiration, phonation and resonance.”

Voice therapy includes vocal health and hygiene, techniques to reduce laryngeal area muscle tension, respiratory retraining, techniques to modify pitch and vocal function exercises.

Implementing these strategies may help improve overall vocal quality and health:

* Increase water intake

* Avoid mint or menthol throat lozenges

* Decrease caffeine intake

* Avoid shouting, talking over loud noise, screaming

* Eliminate smoking

* Adhere to acid reflux precautions

Stop Mocking The Gym Majors

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From Your Health Journal…..”A great story today on Yahoo about those who major in physical eduction or kinesiology. Many years ago, these majors were the butt of jokes on campus and on the workforce, but now, it appears it is a popular choice for many – as some have lucrative positions in the fitness industry, and can always fall back on possibly becoming a PE teacher. Of course, becoming a PE teacher has always been an honorable option. But for kinesiology majors these days, a potentially better-paying and higher-visibility choice is fitness training, a profession so popular that lawyers, dentists and English teachers are ditching those careers to become drill instructors at the gym. I strongly recommend your visiting the Yahoo link provided at the bottom of this page to view the full article.”

From the article…..

Once the Butt of Jokes, College Athletes Who Study Kinesiology Are Landing Plum Jobs

While playing quarterback for William & Mary College, Todd Durkin obtained a degree in health and physical education. In other words, he studied gym.

Don’t laugh. That much-maligned gym degree is one of the hottest sheepskins on campus today, and Durkin helps to illustrate why. After the fizzling of his lifelong dream to play pro football, Durkin used his phys-ed degree to fashion a career in fitness training—a practice that now includes a Pro Bowl-worthy list of NFL clients: Drew Brees, LaDainian Tomlinson and Aaron Rodgers, among others.

“Todd is a great motivator and having played ball he understands exactly what it is you’re training to do,” said the veteran NFL tight end Justin Peelle.

The college sports athlete who studies exercise has long been the butt of jokes and the target for critics who lament the fact that most athletic scholarships are wasted by people who are more interested in making the pros than getting a respectable education.

But increasingly that view underestimates the commercial and academic value of exercise studies. As the population skews older—and in many cases fatter—there’s a growing demand for fitness trainers, physical therapists, pre-med students and scholars who study the science of obesity, movement and performance. As a result, few majors on college campuses are growing faster than kinesiology, as the science of exercise is known.

In this new world, the jocks are no longer at odds with nerds. They are the nerds. In Auburn University’s fast-growing kinesiology department, 18 faculty members are former athletes, according to department head Mary Rudisill, a former swimmer.

Former college track star Matthew Miller, who calls himself the second-fastest faculty member in Auburn’s kinesiology department, runs a performance and “psychophysiology” lab that seeks to “uncover neurobiological mechanisms underlying psychomotor performance phenomena frequently reported in the sport and exercise psychology literature,” according to the lab’s website.

At the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology, freshman applications rose 30% last year, and for the last five years student athletes have represented about 20% of the school’s population—a percentage more than five times greater than the ratio of student athletes to the student body at large.

To read the full article…..Click here