Nonverbal Communication as Part of Language Instruction
Nonverbal communication makes up most of what we use to communicate in our face to face interactions. Research findings show that in our social and interpersonal communications up to 65% of what is transmitted is conveyed non-verbally. Nonverbal communication is also important in the process of language teaching, because teachers’ nonverbal communication can create a fluctuating range of students’ engagement or disengagement in the process of teaching. In addition, a variety of teaching techniques requires extensive use of nonverbal forms of communication in language classes. Psycholinguistic studies also suggest that students can recall vocabulary and language patterns for a longer period of time if the instruction is accompanied with nonverbal signs. In this article, an overview of different types of nonverbal communication and body language is presented. The paper then discusses the meaning of commonly used hand gestures and attempts to clarify how they are normally interpreted in the Western countries. It is hoped that Iranian language teachers find this discussion useful and they can incorporate it in their classroom instruction.
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