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Nonverbal behavior in the elementary classroom

1 December 1993


Research suggests that nonverbal communication may help teachers' effectiveness within the classroom. Literature reviewed suggests that nonverbal communication plays a major role in the communication process to the extent that it makes up 93%. of message sending. This paper examines three areas in which teacher nonverbal communication may have an effect in the classroom: classroom management, classroom instruction, and student-teacher interaction. It uses current literature and observations at a suburban elementary school as its basis for study. The observations and analysis in this paper summarize what was seen· in the classroom and draw connections to ways in which nonverbal. communication plays an important role in effective and beneficial communication between the students and the teacher. Findings suggest that teacher nonverbal communication, when managed properly, can become a key component to the overall communication process and atmosphere of a successful and "safe" classroom. This was observed through nonverbal routines and patterns, reinforcement with artifacts, and alignment of verbal and nonverbal messages.


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