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fear of tongue tie

Fear of tongue-tie? How do teachers tackle tongue-tie?

In my experience, there are two types of teachers

  • those that get nervous and
  • those that are liars.

Glossophobia in Education

Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking and is ranked number one among all phobias, even higher than the fear of death or spiders. How ridiculous does that sound. Three out of every four people (75 percent) are affected. And in teaching, that’s a problem. 75& of our learners on the Level 3 Award in Education and Training have this same problem.

I’ve been teaching the Level 3 Award in Education and Training for over 10 years. And for some strange reason, I still have that fear. But after reading that Bruce Springsteen has this same fear, he just attributes it to preparing for concert. Nerves are good, they mean you care.

Glossophobia is characterised by fear of freezing up in front of an audience, of being judged, forgetting a word, or saying something that may result in embarrassment. Many people avoid speaking in front of others at all costs and this is what prevents a lot of people wanting to become teachers.

I’m not blessed with perfect speech, I get tongue-tied, I forget words and I always say the wrong word but guess what. Learners don’t care. These flaws I have make me seem more relevant, more real. Yes, I would prefer that I don’t make these mistakes, but no one has ever told me, Matt you just made a silly mistake. They just don’t do it. So it doesn’t really matter. I like to use the word ‘umm’ to help me through the blanks.

Let’s use an example, I havent said this phrase since school but I’ll give it a go, ‘how much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck, could chuck wood’.

Learners are too involved in the subject and they are too involved in their own personal wellbeing to notice and they are even more polite to say anything.

8 Tips to overcoming your speaking anxiety

  1. Be confident in your topic. The more you understand your topic and the more passionate you are about it, the less likely you'll make a mistake or get off track. Take some time to consider what questions the audience may ask and have your responses ready. This is why on the Level 3 Award in Education and Training, you should stick to a familiar topic for your Microteach.
  2. Know your audience. Reference something everyone in the audience will relate to. Maybe traffic made everyone in the room late. Maybe everyone in the room is an Everton fan, this has never happened. Maybe everyone is suffering from the cold and rainy weather. Use the commonality as an ice breaker.
  3. Get organised. Carefully plan the information you want to present using an outline, perhaps colour-coded, on a small card. Studies show that teachers find comfort in holding something in their hand, so incorporate visual aids and props into your presentation. I like to use a pen or my PowerPoint clicker is a useful tool.
  4. Avoid reading word for word. Practice your complete presentation several times. Start by reading it. Progress to using only the bulleted talking points you have outlined on your small card. By practicing, you’ll become more comfortable with the format of your presentation. We have guidance on how to construct a PowerPoint and heavy text is not recommended.
  5. Challenge specific worries. When you're afraid of something, you may overestimate the likelihood of bad things happening. List your specific worries, and then identify alternative positive outcomes. What happens if I say the wrong word? Nothing!!!!
  6. Don't fear a moment of silence. If you lose track of what you're saying or start to feel nervous and your mind goes blank, it may seem like you've been silent for an eternity. In reality, it's probably only a few seconds. Just take a few slow, deep breaths before resuming. My advice is to ask a question, this gives you time to regroup.
  7. If you make a mistake, be normal, laugh. We all make mistakes.
  8. 75% of us have the same fear and can relate.
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matthew reynolds
Mathew Reynolds | Managing Director and Teacher
Welcome to the ETA. It is my goal to help you get your qualifications in the easiest and quickest way. Unlike other training providers, I am putting my name and reputation on the line, I am not hiding behind logos, this is me, this is my company and I am accountable for you to reach your goals.
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