Before we begin, let us try and think of our favorite teachers in school, college, or tuition. Now try to think what is it that made them your favorite? Is it because they were lenient with homework or because they taught your favorite subject?
Can you recall a specific reason as to why these teachers are your favorite as compared to others? The reason cannot be because they taught a topic with absolute excellence.
By now, a few thoughts might have started clouding your minds. You might be wondering why you thought of these teachers. Well, the reason is simple. It is because these teachers didn't need a classroom or a blackboard to teach. Just their presence in the classroom made you feel happy and you wanted to learn more. A simple smile or an approving nod from them boosted your encouragement and made you feel confident. Generally, it is the teachers' body language that significantly contributes to the impact they have on you.
You must be wondering what body language has to do with teaching or how is it even relevant? Expertise in a subject and using appropriate techniques to teach is definitely a prerequisite of being an efficient teacher. However, the importance of body language in teaching cannot be denied.
What is Body Language?
Body language can be defined as a non-verbal yet powerful form of communication that every individual expresses with his or her gestures, attitude, or sometimes facial expressions. We not only respond positively or negatively to the spoken words of an individual but also react to their body language. This same rule applies to teacher -student relationships in the classroom.
As we all know, words have the power to create a substantial impact on anybody. However, body language is considered to be more impactful and influential. Combined with words, body language has the capability to enhance our message or confuse our audience.
The most effective and engaging communication occurs when the importance of body language in teaching is correctly acknowledged. When these nonverbal cues are in complete sync with our verbal ones, it creates a strong communication synergy.
It is believed that almost two-third of our communication is non-verbal. Between various gestures such as a head nod, smile, frown, raise the hand, teachers and students send multiple non-verbal cues to each other daily. Affirmative and Positive body language in a classroom setting has the power to motivate, inspire and engage. It not only provides you with the confidence you need to teach but also assures students that you know what you are teaching. The importance of body language in teaching can be understood from the fact that students feel safe and confident enough to participate and engage in the lessons more frequently.
Importance of body language in teaching
It is believed that 90% of the learning impact is created by non-verbal communication in the class. A teacher's body language plays a strong role in creating a long-lasting impression on their minds. Therefore, it is crucial to use your body language correctly in the teaching process. Inside a classroom, the body language of the teacher often dictates the presence, and the students respond accordingly.
As we all know, words can be made up, so it is not unusual for anyone to be skeptical about what's being said. But body language, on the other hand, will almost always be taken at face value. And hence, body language plays quite a positive role not only in classroom teaching but in shaping a students' character too. This is because students often respect their teachers; even imitate their words and actions, sometimes subconsciously. Therefore, teachers should understand body language correctly and master the methods and principles of body language ably.
Many leadership positions encourage body language as a source of confidence and power. Body language cues include standing straight, keeping palms down and head straight, and speaking with complete control.
However, while teaching, the body language is different as compared to a political leader. Try imagining a politician delivering a speech. These cues convey warmth and empathy, reminding your students that you are approachable and there to help them grow.
Given below are some ways to use these body language cues to empower and engage your students.
1. Maintain eye contact
This is one of the best ways to connect with your students and keep their focus. Try to hold your gaze with one student for about 15-30 seconds before switching to another student. Your students are likely to pay more attention when they know you're speaking directly to them. It also helps them feel acknowledged and keeps them engaged.
2. Be more expressive and use gestures
Try to inspire students to become involved with the lesson. Try to hook their brains, so they are fully engaged. Retention rates are quite low on verbal material but increase when you add in memorable nonverbal cues for the brain to store away as an association.
3. Try to keep open arms
An open arm body position signals an invitation. It welcomes brainstorming and new ideas. It is also a great way to draw your students' attention to you, and therefore they will be more likely to hear what you have to say, thereby keeping them engaged.
Nod your head or give a thumbs up. Try to raise your hands in excitement. Show your students that they are on the right path, and they will be more confident in continuing down it.
5. Adopt a thinking pose
Try to hold your chin and tilt your head. This will signal to the student you are pondering the question. This will generate curiosity among them.
This is the most important part of body language. Students are able to connect best with teachers who want to be present with them, who love learning, and who want to share the same passion.
Being more mindful about nonverbal communication in the classrooms will only allow the teachers to become effective communicators of knowledge. Additionally, it will also help educators to become skilled receivers of their students' needs, gain the right amount of power to send signals that reinforce learning, and open their eyes to signals that stifle it.
So, as we all know, the importance of body language in teaching cannot be undermined and Teachmint makes learning fun and easy. It not only makes you future-ready but also makes online learning more interactive and engaging.