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Non-verbal Communication

Considering class room situation give one example for each of the purpose for nonverbal communication. 1. Reinforcement 2. Modification 3. Substitution 4. Regulation

Many of the cues students use to make judgments about teachers competence or characters are obtained by observing the teachers nonverbal behavior. There is variety of nonverbal signals emitted from teacher in classroom which to deepest levels influence classroom atmosphere, students moods, perception, learning and eventually attitudes towards knowledge and school generally. Teacher has powerful tool to identify what is actually going on with his class. This is extremely important in lecture like classes when teacher is primarily supposed to talk. Nonverbal communication in the classroom occurs with distance, physical environment, facial expression, vocal cues, body movements and gestures, touch, time, physical attractiveness, and dress. Each will be separately discussed.

Movements and gestures by the hands, arms, legs, and other parts of the body and face are the most pervasive types of nonverbal messages and the most difficult to control. Humans express attitudes toward themselves and vividly through body motions and posture. Body movements and postures alone have no exact meaning, but they can greatly support or reject the spoken word. The variety of ways in which teacher and students walk, stand, or sit can all affect interpersonal perception. Body postures and movements are frequently indicators of self-confidence, energy, fatigue, or status. In the classroom, students keen to receive body message of enthusiasm or boredom about the subject matter being taught can sense confidence or frustration from the unconscious behaviors of teachers. Postures as well as gestures are used to indicate attitudes, status, affective moods, approval, deception, warmth, and other variables related to classroom interaction. The saying A picture is worth a thousand words well describes the meaning of facial expression. When teachers are responding to students, changes in facial expression can serve as reinforces to the student or as non-reinforcers. Smiles and grimace can therefore still be very effectively used in the classroom. A simple smile or nod is a private way to let a student know that she has been noticed in a positive way. This encourages students to repeat the behavior that earned the non-verbal communication. Teachers can use this form of communication without disrupting lessons and perhaps reinforce it with verbal communication later, privately.

The most dominant and reliable features of the face, the eyes, provide a constant channel of communication. They can be shifty and evasive; convey hate, fear, and guilt; or express confidence, love, and support. In classroom situation, teacher can use different eye behaviors to modify verbal messages by contradicting it. Eye behavior seems to be particular importance and is generally used to indicate whether one is open to communication. This can be observed when a teacher asks the class a question: students who think they know the answer will generally look the teacher, while students who do not will usually try to avoid eye contact. Teachers often use eye contact in the classroom to decide who is prepared to answer a question, or who was completed a homework assignment. Students who are constantly looking at the wall clock rather than watching and listening to the teacher may be indicating the need for a break, the dullness of the content, or a lack of teacher motivation and preparation. Teachers who make eye contact with students and who walk around the room among the students, instead of standing in one place to lecture, make it easier and more comfortable for students to speak up. This use of non-verbal communication may especially help shy students or those with learning differences who might otherwise remain silent. It also helps to build student confidence if they believe that the teacher is interested in whether they are understanding the lesson, or in their ideas.

In classroom situation, clapping is a good example of non-verbal substitution. Clapping is a quick way to get the attention of a classroom that is out of control. If you do not have time for a five second stare, loud claps should make your classroom stop acting out and pay attention.

Gestures operate to clarify, contradict, or replace verbal messages. Gestures also serve an important function with regard to regulating the flow of conversation. For example, if a student is talking in class, single nods of the head from the teacher will likely cause that student to continue and perhaps elaborate.