Understanding Body Language

Being a coach in high school, body language is everything.  Players, coaches, teachers, and parents all read coaches like a book. Each and every movement is scrutinized to see if we like what a player is doing, or if we dislike the action to correct it.  Sometimes body language is a negative, whereas a team may look at a coach and think they object to a play by how they react, when in turn the coach actually thinks it is okay. 

Various research on body language tells us that fifty to seventy percent of communication comes through how we act/react to a situation.  The action is non verbal, and causes the learner to decide if the teacher wants more input, or less input, to achieve higher learning. 

Teachers are no less exempt when it comes to learning and understanding how body language affects a student when being taught.  Everyone remembers days in high school when the teacher would ask a question and when answering incorrectly, got the usual “glare” to understand that they not only missed the question, but in an unspoken sense, that they needed to study more.  Wow, all in just a look. 

People communicate through a lot of different ways.  Body language usually follows the following:  Eye contact, facial expressions, body attitude, gestures, and by the way you move.  Understanding what a teacher or coach really means takes some getting used to.  The person involved must look at the movement, and then decide what he or she needs to do next.  Maybe the teacher asks a question and the student gets it wrong.  The teacher may only shake his or head no to express incorrect answers.  The student must decide then if they are to give another answer, or simply watch the teacher for guidance for instructions on what to do next.  If the teacher puts their hands on their hips and body language is expressed in dejected style, the learner may shut down and never respond again when called upon.  It is so important to express negative non verbal communication while expressing to the learner to try a new response, and guiding them to the right answer.

Body language is so important when teaching.  Teachers need to understand how to maintain eye contact with the learner and know that they must convey the right movements to not disrupt the learner from giving a response, be it either right or wrong.  Sometimes a smile is the best way to respond when a learner is trying to respond, or when the answer is right.