The genesis for this blog post comes from an interesting experience that I had last week.
One of my professors had asked me and a colleague of mine to prepare videos on the usage of two power system software simulators that we used very often in our field and with which both of us were very familiar with. He wanted us to add as much details as we could in the videos as he intended to show them to the students of the course that he was teaching and who were not yet familiar with the two simulators. After we prepared our videos and sent them in to the professor, my colleague and I started talking about how each of us went about in making the videos. It was then that he told me that he had completely removed his voice from the video that he had made and had replaced his talk with written sentences which would pop-up on the screen when he wanted to “say” something. This was something which struck me as odd, so when I asked him the reason for it, he said “I am not comfortable hearing to my own voice.”
I did not give much thought to it that moment, but now as I contemplate on the things that we have gone through in preparing ourselves for a future professor position, I feel becoming comfortable with one’s own voice is something that is really important. Now, I know for a fact that it is weird to listen to oneself talk, but I feel that in the teaching profession, it is imperative that we do not shirk away from it. In today’s digital world where we talk about online classes and giving lectures over the internet, it becomes necessary to not only speak, but speak confidently about the work we have done/the course that we are teaching to audiences who might not be able to see us or communicate with us in any other way. For them, our voice and our video/slides will be everything. Our voice and video/slides will interest them, guide them, challenge them, and inspire them. In such a scenario, if we deprive them of our “speech”, then we are reducing by at-least 50% (maybe more) the knowledge that we could have transferred.
To conclude, I feel that although we are not accustomed to hearing ourselves speak, we should take every opportunity that we get to “talk” out loud. In the current academic environment of higher education, it is our responsibility to make things easier to learn for our students, and “talking” to them in a “comfortable” manner is one of the simplest ways of doing it.