Teaching Tip: Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication can be a very effective tool in the classroom. Here are some ways you can use nonverbal communication effectively.
  1. Use facial expressions that signal warmth, liking, happiness, and friendliness. Above all, smile. The composition of your class makes no difference since all students smile in the same language.
  2. Try to be animated as you teach. Gesturing while you speak can help to capture your students' attention, make the material more interesting, and even provide some much appreciated entertainment. Further, a simple nod of your head is a form of positive reinforcement.
  3. Maintain a comfortable posture. If you seem stiff and rigid, your students may become anxious. If you seem comfortable, they will be too. Leaning slightly forward as your students speak suggests that you are interested in what they have to say.
  4. Proximity is an effective classroom management tool. But in today's multicultural classrooms, some students may find proximity to be threatening or uncomfortable. Strike a balance by moving about the classroom and staying close but not too close to students.
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