With the emphasis so much oriented toward communication via technology, face-to-face first person skills can be overlooked. They ought to be practiced.


* Look at people. Don’t look over them, under them or around them.
* Engage people individually and collectively through eye contact. Rest on individuals and cover the audience.
* Make your eyes friendly, encouraging and inviting.
* Avoid flat or hostile eyes.
* Eyes are the most important parts of the anatomy when it comes to gesture.


* Compatible with the presenter and magnifying of speech.

* Gesture is a tool that can help emphasise and reinforce points.

* Overdoing gesture can undermine conversation because recipients are studying aspects of body language rather than listening to what is being said.

I recommend personal practive of these attributes and their encouragement by others.


Consider the following. As teachers and leaders, our voices are our most significant asset. Don’t mute that talent.


* Speech flow, including pitch, rhythm and speed.

* ‘Ah’s’, ‘um’s’, ‘er’s’, ‘aw’s’, and other speech fillers.

* Recognising and using punctuation.

* PRONUNCIATION and word usage


* A CONVERSATIONAL VOICE is engaging. A listening audience is reassured to hear program presenters speaking in a relaxed manner. Many listeners are working through the hassles of the day. A calm and relaxed manner coming at them over the airwaves is relaxing and reassuring.

* USING PAUSE, allowing your audience time to digest and reflect on what you have said.

* PROJECTION and outreach, avoiding ear burst and fade-out, which imposes ear strain.


I have written a good number of vignettes that may help in supporting and informing preservice and beginning teachers. They are practical tips and points of advice. They are drawn from experience and observation.

Please email me at if you would like any sent. Am always happy to share.


Henry Gray

1. ‘Imagination’ the inner eye
2. Computer encourages teacher sedentariness
3. Mapping movement
4. Transient students
5. ‘Conversational’ voice
6. Singing
7. Storytelling
8. Oral Quizzes
9. Celebration and celebrating
10. Apologise for mistakes
11. School appraisal
12. ‘Knowing’ your classroom
13. Looming – don’t allow your presence be off-putting to students
14. Marking student work
15. Modelling
16. Talking ‘with’ children
17. Computer lockdown
18. Classroom tidiness
19. Mobile phones in classroom
20. Direct teaching
21. Teacher dress
22. Technology can create separation
23. Classroom routines
24. How you are known
25. Interview strategies
26. Ask for help
27. Be cautions when using emails
28. Preparing presentations for PD days
29. Keep a clippings file
30. Build strong networks
31. Make ‘Show and Tell’ count
32. Spelling – necessary or superfluous?
33. Watch out for trendiness
34. Reporting to parents
35. Don’t discount drama
36. More on imagination
37. Desk tidiness
38. Time telling and time awareness
39. Learning takes time
40. Take times to relax
41. Build your CV
42. Writing applications
43. Rewarding the effort
44. Welfare is paramount
45. Socratic Discussion Part One
46. Socratic Discussion Part Two
47. Socratic Discussion Part Three
48. Remote Area service
49. Taxation deductions
50. Yard Duty
51. Staff room engagement
52. Handwriting should be taught
53. Develop a personal philosophy
54. Room tidiness
55. ‘Sayers’ and ‘Doers’
56. Playing ‘Captains and Crew’ with technology
57. ‘Quiz out’ to lunch
58. Drawing quizzes
59. More on transient and late students
60. Assembly items
61. Programming should be Flexible
62. What people see is the iceberg tip
63. Contact – keeping it professional
64. Record your dealings
65. Short excursions
66. Program carefully and with remembrance
67. Classroom groupings (being constructed)
68. Editing and fixing (being constructed)
69. Classroom work displays
70. Establishing classroom protocols
72. Presenting and speaking in public
73. Recognise the shy contributor
74. Recording outcomes and reflecting on progress