Nonverbal communication is a type of communication that is widely used in modern society. Places that use it mostly include courtroom, classroom, and football pitch and even in some working areas (Burgoon et al., 2016). Conditions such as disability and inability to talk or willingness to use them are the reason why it is widely used. However, it has a lot of challenges that it encounters when people use it in various places. Even though it is commonly used in multiple places, most users are always dissatisfied with it because it has high chances of the language barrier. The barriers may lead to problems such as wrong information, misunderstanding and distance barrier among other issues as discussed below. However, one can employ various techniques that can help him/her to deal with such problems to achieve effective communication. The paper will focus on the challenges that affect the use of nonverbal communication in a classroom between the teacher and the students.
Challenges of using non-verbal communication
Nonverbal communication in a classroom must be accompanied by verbal communication to give the exact information to the students. In most situation, the teacher might tell the students to clap for the right answer given by their fellow students to show appreciation but must add some comments to clarify it. In this situation, the nonverbal communication requires a double task which is time-consuming. Sometimes a teacher might call a student, but if the positioning of the hand is not directly on a specific student, he/she might fail to respond to it. As such, the teacher must call the students by his/her name for proper communication. In this scenario, it can be deduced that sometimes nonverbal communication might not stand alone but must be accompanied by verbal communication.
The distance between the places is a challenge in communicating in nonverbal cues as it cannot pass the message to a faraway person. Nonverbal communication requires eye contact which if fail, then the conversation might not be effective. Since most nonverbal cues are silent, some student at the back of the class might not get what the teacher is saying. This case is common to the students who have a vision impairment and are not able to see correctly. This will pose a problem of misunderstanding see clearly what the teacher is saying. As a result, the students will only respond to the non-verbal cues that they are understanding. In most scenarios, the teacher moves in a class to ensure all the students understand the use of his nonverbal cues.
Nonverbal cues differ depending on the culture one comes from. As a result. Some students might fail to understand each other because they do not come from the same culture. This is because of differences in the race, tribe or just how a student is brought up. Cultures and tribes use signals in different ways, and misinterpretation is likely among the students (Burgoon et al., 2016). This is always evident in international schools where students come from different countries and cultural background. As a result, it can erupt into chaos among students as the use of signals might be associated with abuse. Showing people the middle hand to some is abuse, and its use can make students fight. These are some of the cases that can be avoided to ensure that the school is peaceful and orderly.
Some of the non-verbal cues are complicated to understand, and one must be taught before enable him/her to understand the information. Since every school might have different signals that they use to demonstrate certain things in school, a new student has to learn how to use it because he/she might fail to understand his/her classroom. The training can also be associated with a given culture that requires a specialist service. The time spent in learning the cues can also be much which makes it tedious to understand; hence the people involved become fatigued in the middle of the lesson.
Various gestures that are used by the teachers and students are entirely different. For example, the word OK in American context meant the right thing. On the contrary, the same world means money in the Asian context. In this way, if an American teacher teaches an Asian student and uses the word ok to affirm the excellent answer given in a classroom, the student might fail to understand the teacher. This is because they will trace the use of the word back in their countries. This is a problem that is experienced mostly when various students go for study in international universities and colleges. It comes as a result of the language barrier that students encounter while they are in the classroom.
Different facial experiential also result in various confusions as it is interpreted differently by different by teachers and students. A wrinkled face is used in Latin America to show love. The same cue is used in China to show that a person is rude. When a student from Latin American meets a teacher from China, they might fail to understand each other as they possess a difference in the use of their non-verbal cues. One may assume that the person has communicated in normal mode, but the information will be interpreted differently.
Lastly, the problem that affects classroom communication is the paralanguage that is found in different languages around the world. For example, the Greeks use silence to show that they disagree with what one says. On the contrary, the Egyptians use the same secrecy to indicate that they consent to what one means (Burgoon et al., 2016). Similarly, one’s accent also brings the barrier to communication as they might be understood differently. This kind of barrier affects the teaching sessions between the teacher and the students if they come from different countries with different languages. This brings poor communication that can only manifest itself during the exams. It is so common with the students who come from different tribes and learn their language before learning foreign languages. Their mother tongue can affect their accent which brings misinterpretation in the communication.
Techniques to improve the use of non-verbal cues in the pitch
While using non-verbal communication, the students should maintain eye contact with the teacher and other students when they tend to use nonverbal communication. This shows that the other person whom, the message is conveyed to is paying attention to the message (Burgoon et al., 2016). Further, the teacher should maintain eye contact with the students while giving punishment as a sign to show that he/she is pressing on the issues that he/she is addressing. Even though this is a way to demonstrate seriousness, it should be done with moderation that enables the person passing the information to do it with comfort. Eye contact shows the students that the teacher or the head of students addressing them have confidence in what he/she is addressing. As a result, it will limit the cases of misinterpretation that is associated with this form of communication. Eye contact is a way to make other people believe in what you are telling them.
The facial expression should be used wisely to ensure that all the people respective of the race or tribe get to understand the information. This requires that use of nonverbal cues which is used by everyone around the world. For example, frowning of the face is a universal way to show that someone is upset. A teacher can use this to prove that he is upset with the behavior of a given student or the performance of the class. Similarly, he/he can talk while smiling to show satisfaction on the result. Any person will never misinterpret this as they are universally understandable. They should be used appropriately, so the students get to understand what the message the teacher is conveying depending on the situation.
The personal space between the teacher and the student also conveys a lot of information. As a result, the teacher should know how to maintain their own considerableal space while interacting with each other. The space between two people always conveys a lot of information which should be understood for the right information to be transmitted. To communicate to a person in non-verbal cues requires proper understanding of the signals to ensure the right message is sent to the right audience. For example, physical space gives different emotions. The person who is aggressive like to stand close to someone while addressing him/her. As a result, all the people in the classroom should respect the space to ensure that their information is not misinterpreted and misunderstood in one way or another. Further, it will also make the teacher maintain respect between him and the players.
The teacher in a classroom should mind their postures as well as that of students as it means a lot and conveys different information. For example, slouching while talking to a teacher show that one is rude and uninterested in what he is being warned against (Eaves & Leathers, 2017). In this situation, the teacher should issue punishment to students who are slouching while talking to them. Some of the postures by the teacher can also show that the teacher is not contented with what he/she is saying. As such, the teacher should ensure to convey the right information using an appropriate posture to limit the chances of misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the ideas.
The students should be aware of the sounds and tones of every teacher that they interact with. Appropriate use of the tones in the classroom conveys a good image as the person who gives the information always expect proper tone and sound use. A student who is not in agreement with what the teacher is telling him/her always grunt after the delivery of the information. They also show people many things about a person such as anger or frustration. The teacher can use a high tone to teach the students his frustration on their performance or his dissatisfaction on a given activity. It can also be used to address the serious matter that requires people to pay much attention. As a sign of a good teacher, one should avoid sighing repetitively while talking to his/her students. In this way, they will seriously take much of the information and enable them to follow his instruction carefully. The outcome will be a good performance that will be reflected in the students’ results when they do exams.
The teacher should be familiar with the different cultures of people to enable understand their students and colleagues as they interact in the school. They should also be aware of some basics in different languages so that they can interpret various accent. This will help the teacher to avoid punishing students under some issues that are not valid. The understanding of culture is essential as it helps the people who interact in the school to have a proper understanding which enhance effective communication (Eaves & Leathers, 2017). As a result, the learning of cultures is fundamental in maintaining a good moral in the school. Many students always have different accents depending on where they come from. As such, their language should be easily understandable by all the people they are interacting within the school setup.
Lastly, the school should incorporate a subject in their syllabus that allows for the teaching of different basics in foreign languages to enable students to communicate and understand each other adequately. In this way, the students will be able to understand their teachers and their fellow students in an easy way. A proper understanding of different language prevents misunderstanding that comes through the differences in the accent and the tones that differ among them. This is an easy way to avoid the issues of racism that is present among the students because of the way they talk and how their tones variate through their talk.
In conclusion, the nonverbal communication has various challenges that are associated with its use in the classroom. Most of these challenges come as a result of differences in the culture and languages making people react differently to the various situation in the school. Since the school is occupant by different people ranging from teachers, students to subordinated staff, they should consider the use of universal nonverbal cues that are acceptable and easily understandable by all people. Signals such as tones, facial expressions, gestures, and paralanguage should be used appropriately to convey the intended information. However, various techniques can be applied in the classroom and the school as a whole to deal with such challenges to ensure that everyone understands each other. Such methods require the students and teachers as well as the subordinate staff to use the various cues appropriately for proper communication. Understanding of signals helps to prevent multiple problems such as causing chaos among the students. Since the use of non-verbal cues cannot be avoided, they should be used cautiously for effective communication to be achieved.
Burgoon, J. K., Guerrero, L. K., & Floyd, K. (2016). Nonverbal communication. Routledge.
Eaves, M., & Leathers, D. G. (2017). Successful nonverbal communication: Principles and applications. Routledge.