The following post was written by Mona McDonald, Family Ministries Coordinator at First Southern Baptist Church Scottsdale, Arizona.
Non-verbal instruction is a very effective teaching method. Learning this great skill can rid your classroom of frustration and lost teaching time. Some children “want” your constant attention and look for ways to get it. Some children “need” your attention and don’t know how to get it. Try a few of these ideas during your next class and see what happens.
• Smile, raise your eyebrows and nod at someone who is following directions. This shows approval and encouragement
• Use eye contact with children who need to pay attention as you give instructions. Walk near them if necessary
• Touch your fingers to your mouth to silence; to your ear when asking to listen; to your head to encourage “thinking hard”
• Remind “rule-breakers” of a certain rule by pointing to the posted rule
• Being prepared is a great non-verbal way of instructing children that you are the teacher
• Some children need a little extra help so ask them to touch their knee or shoulder to refocus attention or touch the word they should be reading in the book to bring them back on task
• As you give instructions, make eye contact with the disruptive child and shake your head slowly to show disapproval of their actions
• Model your instructions
Disruptions are often a child’s desire to know that someone sees them and that they are an important member of the class. Children want to be successful and know they are important. Your non-verbal communication speaks louder than words.