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INTRODUCTION IN NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION

INTRODUCTION IN NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION

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INTRODUCTION IN NONVERBAL
COMMUNICATION

Communication in general is process of sending and receiving messages that
enables humans to share knowledge, attitudes, and skills. Although we usually identify
communication with speech, communication is composed of two dimensions - verbal and
nonverbal.

Nonverbal communication has been defined as communication without words. It includes apparent behaviors such as facial expressions, eyes, touching, and tone of voice, as well as less obvious messages such as dress, posture and spatial distance between two or more people.

Everything communicates, including material objects, physical space, and time systems.
Although verbal output can be turned off, nonverbal cannot. Even silence speaks.

No matter how one can try, one cannot not communicate. Activity or inactivity, words or silence all have message value: they influence others and these others, in turn, cannot not respond to these communications and are thus themselves communicating.

He who has eye to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore.

Commonly, nonverbal communication is learned shortly after birth and practiced and
refined throughout a person?s lifetime. Children first learn nonverbal expressions by
watching and imitating, much as they learn verbal skills.
Young children know far more than they can verbalize and are generally more adept at
reading nonverbal cues than adults are because of their limited verbal skills and their
recent reliance on the nonverbal to communicate. As children develop verbal skills,
nonverbal channels of communication do not cease to exist although become entwined in
the total communication process.
Humans use nonverbal communication because:

1. Words have limitations: There are numerous areas where nonverbal
communication is more effective than verbal (when explain the shape, directions,
personalities are expressed nonverbally)

2. Nonverbal signal are powerful: Nonverbal cues primary express inner feelings
(verbal messages deal basically with outside world).
3. Nonverbal message are likely to be more genuine: because nonverbal behaviors
cannot be controlled as easily as spoken words.
4. Nonverbal signals can express feelings inappropriate to state: Social etiquette
limits what can be said, but nonverbal cues can communicate thoughts.

5. A separate communication channel is necessary to help send complex messages: A speaker can add enormously to the complexity of the verbal message through simple nonverbal signals.

Researches in communication suggest that many
more feelings and intentions are sent and received
nonverbally than verbally. Mehrabian and
Wienerfollowing suggested that only 7% of message
is sent through words, with remaining 93% sent
nonverbal expressions (depending on author, verbal
part goes up to 35%).

Nonverbal communication in classroom

Nonverbal communication is also a critical aspect of interpersonal communication in the classroom. The most credible messages teachers generate, as communication sources are nonverbal.

Galloway views educators as ?multi-sensory organisms who only occasionally talk.?
Balzer? reported that approximately 75% of classroom management behavior was
nonverbal.
Smith noted that teachers? nonverbal behaviors are for students signs of the
psychological state of the teacher.
Rosenthal and Jacobson?s ?Teacher Expectations for the Disadvantaged? suggested that,
through nonverbal behavior, teachers? expectations for the progress of their students
become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Many of the cues students use to make judgments about teacher?s competence or
characters are obtained by observing the teacher?s nonverbal behavior.

From my own experience, as a student and as a teacher, I know that there is
variety of nonverbal signals emitted from teacher in classroom which to deepest levels
influence classroom atmosphere, students moods, perception, learning and eventually
attitudes towards knowledge and school generally.

On the other hand teacher has powerful tool to identify what is actually going on
with his class in general and each individual per se, without any word being said.
This is extremely important in lecture like classes when teacher is primarily

supposed to talk.
Verbal signals (in direct communication) are never so powerful.
Yet, nonverbal signals are much more difficult to capture, describe and rationally

explain because we necessarily have to use words to do that and words are not enough
fine and precise tool for this (similar as they are not for describing pictures).
So one who wants to learn how to control nonverbal signals and behavior in order
to teach more effectively finds many difficulties on this way.

Besides problem with describing those behaviors, there is cultural problem with interpreting them, can be amazingly quick and subtle, most often are unconscious, but most importantly - they are valid only if genuine.

Here we have blessing and curse of nonverbal signalization. We cannot pretend it but we can really change our attitudes and feelings in the way we would like them to be. This is real developing challenge.

But certainly there are things, which can be described and analyzed in this sense,
and which can greatly add to our understanding of NVS.

Nonverbal communication in the classroom occurs with distance, physical environment,
facial expression, vocal cues, body movements and gestures, touch, time, physical
attractiveness, and dress. Each will be separately discussed.

BODY MOVEMENTS, GESTURES AND POSTURES

Movements and gestures by the hands, arms, legs, and other parts of the body and face
are the most pervasive types of nonverbal messages and the most difficult to control. It is
estimated that there are over 200.000 physical signs capable of stimulating meaning in
another person (some social scientists state even 700.000). For example, there are 23
distinct eyebrow movements, each capable of stimulating a different meaning.

Humans express attitudes toward themselves and vividly through body motions and
posture. Bodies movements elucidate true messages about feeling that cannot be masked.
Because such avenues of communication are visual, they travel much farther than spoken
words and are unaffected by the presence of noise that interrupt, or cancels out speech.?

People communicate by the way they walk, stand, and sit. We tend to be more relaxed
with friends or when addressing those of lower status.
Body orientation also indicates status or liking of the other individual. More direct
orientation is related to a more positive attitude.

Body movements and postures alone have no exact meaning, but they can greatly support
or reject the spoken word. It these two means of communication are dichotomized and

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