Learning to communicate with others in an effective way is an essential lesson that students will take with them after they leave the classroom. Nonverbal communication involves the way we speak to each other through body language. Nonverbal communication activities can help students realize what they say to others without even talking.
No Talk Teacher
When your students arrive for class, greet them with silence in this nonverbal communication activity. As students begin to seat themselves, tell them that they all must remain silent until you tell them otherwise. You stay silent throughout the activity as well. Use only nonverbal cues to get them to engage in the normal classroom routines. For example, once everyone has situated themselves, use gestures to get them to open their books. You can put your hands together to form a book-like shape or mimic the way people often read by pretending to scour a page. The students will eventually pick up on your gestures and cues to perform the tasks. They then respond to you in kind with their own gestures. Continue for as long as you like and then discuss with the students how sometimes nonverbal cues can be just as effective as verbal communication.
To help the students understand the importance of body language in their lives, try this activity. Pick five students and stand them at the front of the room. Tell them to pretend that they are all about to interview for a very prestigious job and are waiting in the lobby for the meeting. Once they change their postures in accordance with the scenario you presented, have the other students write down a sentence or two on what the students' postures convey to them. Change the scenarios for the students. Tell them they are just hanging out at home, about to go on a roller coaster or about to meet their girlfriend or boyfriend's parents. Once you have gone through about five different scenarios, have everyone share their opinions on how body language affects the way others see you.
No Sound Scene
See how well your class can determine what happens in a scene from a movie with this activity. On your television or computer monitor, start a scene from any movie you choose. You want to pick a scene where actors use plenty of gestures and verbal cues, such as a scene involving an argument. Turn the sound off during the scene so no one can hear what the actors say. Once you have finished the scene, ask everyone what they thought happened in the scene. After everyone has given their opinion, play the scene again with the sound on. See how well the students guessed concerning the details of the scene based on nonverbal cues alone.
Gerri Blanc began her professional writing career in 2007 and has collaborated in the research and writing of the book "The Fairy Shrimp Chronicles," published in 2009. Blanc holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature and culture from the University of California, Merced.