Author Affiliation, Ana.
Improving classroom management and discipline through the use of non-verbal language techniques
Ezenne, Augustine N
Leadership for School Improvement in the Caribbean
Place of Publication
Department of Educational Studies, University of the West Indies
Date of Publication
Series Editor Role
Series Volume Identification
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In Jamaica today, violence is increasing so rapidlly that the breakdown in discipline in our schools, as a result of the general social disintegration, is a serious cause for concern. This breakdown is of concern not only to individual families, but also teachers, administrators and indeed the society at large. The rapid growth in indiscipline in schools over recent times has meant that teachers have to be responsive to new and ever changing approaches to classroom management and ultimately student outcomes. Classroom management is among those key areas that are significant to fostering positive behaviour and is a priority if students are to participate effectively in society. Failure to develop an appreciation for a more disciplined and participatory lifestyle has the capacity to dis-empower a generation of children and the future of our society. This paper was designed to shed light both on ways in which nonverbal communication is used in the classroom generally and how teachers can use positive non-verbal techniques effectively to manage and maintain discipline. These techniques not only lead to better classroom outcomes but could better prepare students for the world of work, starting from job applications and interview practices. In fact, nonverbal communication plays an important part in the hiring interview from the perspectives of both applicant and interviewer (Posthuma, Morgensen & Campion, 2002). The writer begins by identifying the benefits of school for children and how these are particularly helpful for the child with problems. A classroom management technique is then explored. The reader is informed about significant socio-emotional as well as educational benefits to be derived from consciously incorporating nonverbal techniques in improving classroom management and especially its role in facilitating workable strategies for stemming the tide of degradation of discipline in our schools, especially secondary level Jamaican schools. Knowledge of effective strategies such as nonverbal techniques; which voluntary or even involuntary behaviours to be avoided; and the possible links between classroom discipline and nonverbal behaviours can all be used as the launching pad for a new and improved way of understanding and ultimately changing the negative approaches used by many educators. This paper found that many students displaying aggressive behaviours, especially those at the secondary level, argue that their hostility toward both classmates and teachers is the results of how they have been 'dissed' (disrespected). However, also recognised is the other angle that such 'disrespect' is often an assumption on the part of the aggressors. In fact, it is common knowledge that many acts of violence are the result of misinterpreted cues from 'bad vibes' (feelings). More importantly, however, is the fact that the negative interpretation of students is derived from nonverbal cues such as, 'cold-treatment, 'being looked down on', 'being ignored' or of teachers having a 'low expectation' of them. Implications for the development of attributional understandings of this under-researched topic and for practitioners interested in improving classroom management, which can lead to significant achievement outcomes, are reported.....