In the following discussion the writer akannan  talks about , "Paying attention to non verbal cues," What does the writer acually mean by this??I think that much of this is going to depend on...

 In the following discussion the writer akannan  talks about , "Paying attention to non verbal cues," What does the writer acually mean by this??

I think that much of this is going to depend on the relationship between both and the style of the teacher.  There is no right answer.  The only pressing need is that the teacher approaches the student with a sense of respect.  Meeting with them privately, away from the prying eyes of others and ensuring that there is not a loss of social face is critical.  When this meeting takes place, it has to be productive and progressive.  It cannot be done to belittle any student.  There has to be a spirit of cooperation present that the student can accept or cannot deny.  Paying attention to non verbal cues, as well as making sure that there is a two to one ratio of compliments to areas of improvement is critical.  At the same time, being able to allow the student a chance to talk is also extremely important.  Without these elements, most conferences will be lacking.  I might also stress that the teacher has to make the conference about the behaviors and actions, and not about the student, personally.  The middle school child takes everything personally because they are emerging into a frame of reference where they can only see the world through themselves.  If they perceive that the teacher is driving a stake through their own sense of personal being, acrimony will ensue.  This goes away when the teacher makes everything in the conference about the behaviors and avoiding the personal targeting that might happen in conference style settings. 

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that I can expand on these thoughts here.  The idea of "non verbal cues" is something that I see as methods of communication that might not be able to openly articulated through spoken means.  The previous post was really strong in the idea of doodling, heavy sighs, or other means to communicate internal feelings.  When speaking with students in conferences, I have seen the most successful teachers note these non verbal cues and then stop their talking and ask why the child did what they did.  For example, I recently saw an amazing teacher launch into a critique of a child's attitude towards their work and when the child rolled her eyes and smirked, the teacher correctly stopped the train and asked why the child rolled her eyes and why she smirked.  It caught the child completely by surprise and a dialogue ensued.  It seemed to me that the teacher proved expertise at being able to understand the child's non verbal cues and seized upon that to open a constructive discussion about where the child is and where she needs to be.  It is the paying attention to non verbal cues where some of the greatest insight can be revealed.  It allows the teacher to understand at what point the child "is not buying" and also enables the professional to validate student voice in understanding this element.  Non- verbal cues help to transmit what exists unspoken, what might exist in the private, in the hopes of pulling it out into the open.  Ideally, all children, especially middle schoolers, would be able to articulate all of their emotions honestly, openly, and without any sort of reticence of hesitation.  This is not the reality faced in all domains, and with that, the idea of being able to use non- verbal communication as a way to prompt further understanding and articulation becomes essential.

booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Non-verbal cues are things that are not spoken.

For instance, non-verbal cues are often about body language.  If someone crosses his arms when speaking to you, it is often a defensive body posture.  Someone who does not face you head-on, but is turned to the side can be trying to remove himself from the conversation, or tell you he's not "buying."

The rolling of eyes or refusal to make eye contact are non-verbal cues. This can mean that someone is hiding something, or can simply mean, "I don't care about anything you have to say." Refusing to meet your eyes is this person's way to avoid acknowledging you or what you have to say.  In some ways, it may be passive-aggressive: it's not outright belligerence, but it is often used to retain control of a situation and provide a show of power over the present circumstances.

Other non-verbal cues include doodling when someone is speaking.  For some people, however, they can doodle and listen.  For others, they are sending a message.  Putting one's head down shuts out the world, while not speaking a word. Dirty looks, heavy sighs, turning one's back on another, hands on hips, slouching, etc., are all examples of non-verbal cues.

It is also possible that these behaviors are done unthinkingly.  If a student has not had enough sleep, a head down is simply from exhaustion.  Doodling may be an outlet for a student who has a very difficult time sitting still, such as a student with ADD.  Be careful when weighing the validity of non-verbal cues.  Sometimes asking a student after class may provide insight: someone may seem to be giving non-verbal cues and not be aware, or the cues may be directed at another student or some problem the student is puzzling over in his mind.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes - non-verbal cues normally refers to body language, silence, and the communication that we make without actually speaking. You can certainly tell just as much about someone if you examine what they do with their body and how it responds during a given time. You might find it useful to google body language and look up some of the most basic signs that we use. For example, crossing one's arms is traditionally viewed as creating a barrier between you and another person, whereas arching your hands in a conversation is considered to be a sign of superiority. Very interesting topic and one that is well worth looking into.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Non-verbal cues are basically body language and facial expressions.  You need to pay close attention to these, because they are just as important as words to communication.  You can look for signs of interest, boredom or confusion, for example.

epollock | Student

Non verbal are all of the clues that do not involve talking. These are primarily physical, whether they relate to body movements or gestures, or distance of the person in relation to the speaker. These are very important clues that someone can pick up on to understand further, the meaning of the message of the speaker.

hmccrory | Student

These answers are all correct.  To boil it down a bit, non-verbal cues include:

1) affect communication -- an emotional message sent through facial expression, body language (posture, position, movement), tone of voice, volume of voice and pace of speech


2) proximics -- how close or far away the sender of the message is from the reciever, and whether or not there is any physcial touch

If you want to get really good at reading all the things that people DON'T say, or manipulating your audiences, having a full understanding of the ranges of all of these is extremely powerful.  Check out that show "Lie to Me" for a relatively funny demonstration.

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