Body language has a very considerable and significant impact on learning development. A doubtful glare, a heartening smile, a hostile shake of the head or may be a sleepy eye – all have a very distinctive symbolic illustration. Most people believe that the manner in which you say something or you represent yourself is more important than what you say with words. This is because of the non-verbal mode of communication which indicates the specific behavioural patterns of the communicators. Cultural and environmental differences contribute to different types of conscious or unconscious body movements that showcase our true feelings and emotions.
Non-verbal communication often accompanies the verbal manner that is oral communication. One of the vital features of non-verbal communication is the way we communicate with others which can be without using words, changing the way we walk, sit, and dress and so on. TESOL certification courses in their subject matter share some aspects regarding this.
Before anything let’s see what Body Language means exactly:
It is basically nothing but the non-verbal indications that we generally use to communicate. People, most of the time calculatedly use their bodies or showcase their gestures while doing something like nodding the shoulders, clapping hands, shaking heads, rolling eyes or just sitting in a straight way and so on. These all have a certain meaning.
Now comes the purpose of Body Language:
You may be thinking like if we can communicate verbally then what’s the need for body language isn’t it? Well, have you ever faced any kind of situation when your student fully opposed a particular conversation which he was saying earlier? You need to know the actual reason for that and body language here plays its vital role.
Let’s have how The Body Speaks:
- Facial Expressions:
In the process of developing communication skills, it is essential to make a conscious effort to improve our non-verbal communication pattern. The indicators of non-verbal behaviour can be represented by using some simple ideas like facial expressions, gestures, facilitated by movements or posture, silence, space and proximity, dress and grooming etc.
For instance, in Asian countries like India, eyes have a special role to play in conveying a message. Generally, students often blink more quickly when they are feeling worried or uncomfortable. Similarly, a smile can indicate approval or happiness of learners. In a verbal communication process, facial expressions can enlarge and sometimes even change the verbal message too. The eye movement also plays a significant role in a non-verbal communication process. Sadness, anger, surprise, disgust, fear, confusion all are the important part of the facial expressions of your learners.
You also need to pay attention towards the mouth movements of your students. For example, when learners want to cover their emotional response, they might cover their mouths in order to stay away from displaying.
- The Significant Role of Gestures:
Gestures are generally culture-based, in other words, certain gestures may be acceptable in one culture, while it may be deployed in another culture. For examples, laying hand on someone’s head in India would indicate giving blessings while in the Buddhist culture one is not supposed to touch another’s head since it is considered sacred.
Gestures are indicative of the individual’s behavioural patterns that are unique to a specific culture. Hence, they should be seen or perceived in the proper manner and context. This calls for developing an awareness of how to interpret gestures. For example, a tightened hand of a learner can show anger in some situations or harmony in some other situation too. Likewise, a thumbs up and thumbs down are generally used as the gestures of support and dissatisfaction. The V sign commonly means peace or victory in some countries but while in the United Kingdom and Australia, V sign is an offensive meaning when the back of the hand is facing outward.
- The Body Postures:
Body postures often give a key to the personality of a person as well as tell us about the learner’s willingness. However, body movements and postures can be appropriate for one person but may not be suitable for the other person. It is, therefore, a relative term and is also a relative approach. TESOL certification courses teach the learners about it in a broader way as it is an important element in the body language part.
For instance, how do we perceive a man who has the body movements like that of a woman? Posture and movements also convey a definite message about one’s age or state of health or anything more than that. For example, crossed arms might show that a person feels self-protective or might be closed-off. Likewise, standing with hands placed on the hips can be a sign that a student is prepared and in control, or perhaps it can also be a sign of aggressiveness.
There are some negative body languages also:
- Learner’s tense facial expression
- Hesitation for eye contact
- Folded arms
- Too much use of hands
- Repeatedly looking at watch, clock or phone
Being aware of these signs can aid you to comprehend your learners a way more. Sometimes, behaviour that is meaningless in one culture has distinct meanings in another culture. Therefore, developing communication skills imply transforming our behavioural patterns. This transformation is not an easy task but a conscious and a deliberate act. The strokes and expressions that we connect to show our thoughts can create emotions that have an effect on our bodies.