Teaching – A Survival Guide for Students and New Teachers (Part 4) Body languagwe basics

Body language is the means by which you will dominate a class of 30+, or any larger group of students. Education degrees and other teacher training never includes this essential. This rticle gives you the basics, with more in part 5

This article is about body language, teacher training, student teachers, about education here”>education degrees, education degree

Body language is your chief weapon in your campaign for a calm and disciplined learning environment. With the correct posture or hand movement it is possible to control even the most rowdy of classes. Most of the ideas here are extremely simple but they do work. Practice them on colleagues and children and they will make your teaching much more effective.

Smile. It is an indication of confidence. Some classes are unused to anyone smiling at them because their behaviour is so dreadful that teachers have to work hard to keep them under control. These children delight in winding up their teachers. If you smile then YOU are winning and the class acknowledge this by working better for you.

If you stand up you are immediately above even the tallest of seated adolescents, this means that they are looking up to you, at least literally. Some lessons lend themselves to standing better than others, but basically, you should be standing whenever you are talking to children.

Make eye-contact with every child when you look around the class. Be careful that you are not moving your point of focus too quickly and that each child knows that you have seen them. Eye contact is particularly important when you are speaking to a particular child. Do not allow the individual to look away. The child looking away has switched you off and you might as well save your breath.

Always stand in the open, rather than behind a desk. This “exposing yourself” is a sign of confidence in yourself.

Move slowly about the room. Rapid walking around the room unsettles the class and makes them noisy.

If you are using your hands to describe left and right, remember your left is the children’s right.

Consequently you should gesture with the right hand when saying “Left”, and vice versa. One way to think about it is to imagine a large glass screen between you and the class with the image you are describing on it. It is as though you are behind the screen.

If you watch someone who does not use this technique it is very distracting and prevents the class concentrating on the concepts that the teacher is trying to convey.


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