talking to the chalkboard or visual aid panel or to any other training aid you may be using.
Maintaining effective eye contact enhances your credibility. Another important reason for
looking directly at your students is to observe their nonverbal reactions to your instruction.
Feedback provides you with the opportunity to judge your effectiveness and make necessary
adjustments as discussed later in this chapter.
Body movement is an important part of successful communication; it reinforces, emphasizes,
and clarifies verbally expressed ideas.
Because body movement is so easily adaptable for
communicating, skilled pantomimic actors can tell complicated stones involving many characters
through physical movement alone.
However, your actions while instructing must reinforce
rather than contradict your words. Make sure the image you present and your body movements
strengthen your communication.
Movement is the motion of the whole body as you travel about the classroom. Movement
attracts the attention of the listener because the eye instinctively follows moving objects and
focuses on them. Movement can help you convey thoughts to your audience.
The basic rule in movement is moderation. Do not remain glued to one spot, but do not keep
on the move all the time. As your skill and experience increase, your movement will become
less obvious and more meaningful. Learn to modify the degree of movement to make it natural
Plan your movement so that you are at the proper place at the proper time. For example,
when using an overhead projector with a transparency, plan movement so that you are at the
machine when it should be turned on; when you need to open the curtains, plan movement so
that you are at the curtain control point at the time the curtain should be opened.
A gesture is a natural movement of any part of the body that conveys a thought or emotion
or reinforces oral expression. Your arms, hands, and facial expressions are your principal tools
of gesture. Your gestures will depend to a large extent on whether your personality is vigorous
and dynamic or calm and easygoing. Regardless of your personality, gestures will add to the
effectiveness of your speech if you relax your shoulders, arms, and hands and concentrate on
communicating to the audience the meaning and importance of your ideas. When the gesture
is natural, it is effective. If the gesture is artificial, posed, or strained, it detracts rather than
reinforces. Practice gestures as a natural part of your speaking manner; they should arise
spontaneously from enthusiasm and conviction.
Descriptive gestures portray an object or illustrate an action. Describe the size, shape, or
movement of an object by imitation. Show a vigorous punch by striking with your fist; show
height by holding your hand at the desired level; show speed by a quick sweep of your arm.
Pantomime a complicated or humorous movement as you describe it. Use your hands to sign
a message, such as a V formed with two fingers as a symbol of victory.