Communication is transferring information between one person and another.

Non-verbal cues (without a written or oral component) are a method of communication that is quite common.



Interpersonal communication is the process by which people exchange information, feelings, and meaning through  non-verbal messages.  The emphasis is not placed on what is being said but how it is being said.


It is important that teachers have an awareness and understanding of non-verbal cues. Teachers may encounter these cues in their classroom if they have students that do not feel totally comfortable engaging with them.


The following are a few examples of non-verbal cues that teachers should be aware of:

     Facial Expression- which can indicate happiness, sadness, anger or fear

     Volume, pitch, and tone of voice- adds emphasis or meaning to what people say

     Body Language- reinforce what a person is saying and provides information about emotion and attitude

     Posture- open posture communicates a willingness to listen while closed posture (such as crossing the arms) communicates a person's

     disinterest in the conversation

     Spatial Limitation- the distances between those involved in the conversation  (teachers should maintain a public distance)

     Eye Contact-  should be maintained because it communicates to the speaker that you have an interest in what they have to say

In the classroom, teachers can use non-verbal cues to help during instruction.

Teachers can:

     Hold up their hand to communicate "stop"                                                                                     

     Put a finger to their lips to make students quiet

     Nod or shake their head to communicate "yes" or "no                                                  

     Shrugg their shoulders to communicate confusion

     Point a finger to communicate direction

     Gently tap a student on the shoulder to redirect or get their attention

     Frown to communicate disapproval

Non-verbal communication strategies can be very useful and powerful tools in establishing classroom management

and creating a productive learning environment.

Student Engagement

When teachers use an approach that is student centered it will increase the opportunity for student engagement which helps the students' ability to achieve the objectives of the lesson that is being taught.  When teachers establish a positive relationship with their students it helps a student feel more comfortable and safe in their classroom and a certain level of trust is created.  One of the most important jobs we have as teachers is to give students a place that they see as a safe place to connect and learn.  If a student is struggling in school, having a good relationship with their teacher may increase their chance for success.  If a student feels valued and respected by their teacher the feelings will be reciprocated.