Mulberry believes that a key area of instilling Confidence, Creativity, Leadership and Learning is the ability to access and use your voice effectively, both in terms of taking your own place in the world and in speaking up for those who cannot.
We have established and developed a range of initiatives that have engaged awareness and use of voice across the school.
As well as running voice interventions, a scheme of work covering basics of voice use, including anatomy and physiology through experiential practice, was piloted with a Year 8 Drama class over the Spring term. An action research project investigating the effect of voice and communication skills was also piloted with a group of six Year 8 pupils.
A launch of a weekly Poetry Club also gives pupils and staff the opportunity to recite a published poem, read a poem of their own, or just listen.
In February Shafia Kashim in Year 10 came third in the Poetry by Heart National Competition, in which pupils were challenged to choose, memorise and recite two poems, one from before and one from after 1914.
During the last week of the Spring term Mulberry celebrated its first Voice Week to coincide with World Voice Day on 16th April. Students took part in workshops by distinguished voice practitioners such as: Barbara Houseman, Jessica Chambers and Nick Trumble. Sixth formers worked with Craft of Communication on their personal impact and communication skills. A film, Introduction to Rhetoric was created especially for the school by Professor Gary Watt, of Warwick University, which was played in assemblies during the week. Other activities included a poetry café in the SEN department and an after-school spoken word performance with poets Zena Edwards, Jasmine Ann Cooray, and Katie Bonna.
Mulberry students also participated in the Magic Me inter-generational project Out Spoken. The project allowed participants to explore the Bishopsgate Institute Archives for inspirational figures that made a difference through speaking. They discovered how powerful, encouraging and celebratory speaking out can be through the use of drama, photography and energetic discussion. Their work was exhibited at the Bishopsgate Institute over the Summer.
If you are an independent professional or organisation with a focus on the impact of voice training, we would love to hear from you. We would particularly welcome hearing from those interested in conducting studies in this area of research.