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Help Students Develop Their Body Language With These 5 Effective Steps

4th December 2023

Research reveals that 50%-80% of the communication between teachers and students happens through non-verbal communication.

Some teachers seem to have an idea about how to effectively communicate with their students using verbal and physical means. However, for others, it only comes through experience and practice. If you are someone who is struggling to express yourself through body language and want to develop the same qualities in your students as well, you have come to the right place.

What Is Body Language?

Body language is a kind of communication where physical behaviors are used to convey and express information rather than using words. Nonverbal communication is used by teachers for the following:

  • To reinforce or demonstrate the meaning
  • To signal student responses
  • To manage student behavior
  • To indicate your students to organize themselves for an activity
  • To make transitions between various phases of lessons
  • To give approval or disapproval

You can also use non-verbal communication to indicate your particular role in teaching like being an organizer, educator, disciplinarian, confidante, etc.

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Types Of Non-Verbal Communication

Here are some of the most commonly used features of body language:

  • Facial Expressions

This is one of the most obvious elements of body language. Facial expressions can be used to communicate a wide range of feelings. Researchers have discovered that humans can detect up to 21 emotions through facial expressions.

  • Posture

This is also hugely important as it can convey a wide range of emotions from attitude to confidence, dominance, fear, boredom, or insecurity. A head tilt, and folded arms combined with a genuine smile can give a completely different message that folded arms and chin pushed slightly forward.

  • Proximity

Comfortable proximity levels can tremendously vary from culture to culture. While some cultures feel comfortable having tactile contact with people, others prefer to have a quite large exclusion zone. If you feel you are constantly backing away from the person you are speaking to, you need to check your proximity levels.

  • Eye Contact

If someone isn’t maintaining eye contact while you are talking, they are probably not listening to you. This is one of the most common assumptions in most cultures and making eye contact while seeking is seen as a sign of respect. Typically you should be looking directly into the eye 60% of the time to show you are interested in the conversation.

  • Voice

Voice can betray a wide range of emotions that most people find hard to control. Studies show that vocal bursts can display up to 24 emotions based on tone, speed, volume, and pitch.

  • Gestures

When you use your hands while speaking, you can convey wisdom, openness, frustration, or domination. Apart from these loud and clear messages, you also get a range of conscious and subconscious messages.

How To Help Students With Body Language?

Here are a few activities and tasks that can ensure that you don’t neglect the non-verbal communication area of your students:

1. Comparative Viewing

Finding similar video clips from the target culture and the culture of your pupils and comparing them may be quite illuminating for them. For example, you can utilize scenes from a US comedy series that showed people talking in a coffee shop or bookstore. When students compared it to a comparable one from Spain, they were astounded by how different they were in closeness.

2. Mime Role Plays

When assigning role plays or conversations to kids, you might urge them to act out the scenes first rather than just using the words. They may use this to help them prepare the movements and facial expressions they will use while speaking with the individual in person. The interviewee can benefit greatly from miming a job interview role play by concentrating on their posture and facial expressions instead of having to concentrate on the words and what they need to say.

3. Attitude Drills

You might frequently use drill words or phrases while teaching new language to kids to support their pronunciation and confidence with the terms. These drills are often conducted in unison by the entire class, but you may model other emotions for the children to portray by asking them to speak the lines in the voices of anger, sadness, happiness, excitement, etc. This increases the pleasure factor of the drills and aids in the development of a wider variety of vocal expressiveness in the kids.

4. Observer Role

Include a third person in role plays and pair work exercises. Assign the third person the role of an observer, and ask them to record their observations about the other two students' body language to determine whether or not they were conveying anything good via it. Better even, if you can convince them to cover their ears while doing this.

5. Mirroring

Assign pupils to practice speaking in the same way as the other person. Mirroring someone else is a fairly typical technique for us to express empathy, rapport, or even infatuation. Students can be seated face-to-face in pairs. Request that one student use their posture, gesture, or facial expression to convey an emotion, and then urge another student to mimic those same motions.

Use Body Language Effectively

So, improving the body language of both you and your students doesn't have to be challenging. Follow the above-mentioned tips to understand how exactly you can help your students express themselves through non-verbal cues. As educators who have undergone TEFL live online certification classes, you are aware of how to support and help your learners grow.

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Written By : Sanjana    Share

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