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Creating the environment in which students will be eager to share their experiences, collaborate actively, and address emerging conflicts efficiently by applying appropriate negotiation strategies is a crucial step toward enhancing the process of knowledge acquisition by the target population. In their article, Hale, Freed, Ricotta, Farris, and Smith (2017) stress the significance of a teacher using the communication approach that incorporates essential elements of body language.
According to the authors of the study, the adoption of a proper body language technique as the means of conversing with students is bound to lead to a massive improvement in the quality of the education process and leave a profound effect on learners. Apart from increasing the levels of investment among students, the use of a body-language-based communication framework triggers a rise in the levels of analytical thinking and successful problem-solving. Therefore, the tool must be considered a crucial addition to the set of communication strategies used by a teacher.
I was far from being surprised to find out that body-language communication is viewed as essential for successful learning. Indeed, a significant amount of information is received with the help of nonverbal communication. Therefore, the idea of using body language as the means of identifying the levels of engagement among learners, as well as deploying specific elements of body language to make students pay attention to specific themes, ideas, and concepts that are addressed during the lesson seems quite legitimate to me.
However, the idea of incorporating body language into the process of teaching, especially when meeting the needs of ESL students, raises a lot of questions. For instance, I wonder whether it is possible to develop a set of universal signs that cannot possibly be misinterpreted by the learners whose ethnic and cultural backgrounds are different from the ones of a teacher and the rest of the class. The article inspires me to explore the challenges associated with deploying a body-language-based teaching strategy in an ESL classroom and identify the means of managing the associated difficulties successfully.
Implementation in a TESOL Classroom
To use a teaching strategy based on body language, an educator will have to consider the needs of learners carefully by taking account of the unique characteristics of the target population. For instance, teachers will have to use the elements of body language that can be misinterpreted by the representatives of specific cultures and ethnicities. The resulting set of gestures that cannot possibly be misinterpreted by any of the learners should be used as one of the tools for rendering essential information.
At the same time, an educator must keep in mind that body language is only a part of an efficient communication system. Thus, it must be used in tandem with other techniques contributing to a faster understanding of the essential information and acquisition of the relevant knowledge and skills. ESL learners are expected to develop crucial reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills within a relatively short amount of time once body language is incorporated into the set of available communication strategies.
Therefore, the adoption of the teaching techniques based on the active use of body language should be viewed as a necessity when addressing the needs of ESL learners. By using nonverbal elements of communication, a teacher will be able to deliver key messages without causing any misunderstandings. Thus, body language tools should be incorporated into the set of teaching tools to be used in the ESL setting.
Hale, A. J., Freed, J., Ricotta, D., Farris, G., & Smith, C. C. (2017). Twelve tips for effective body language for medical educators. Medical Teacher, 1(1), 1-6. Web.