Value of using body posture in education
Nowadays, numerous and various communication methods used to facilitate people express themselves. However, it is also easier for people to disguise their own thoughts with the formulated phrases, modest tones and official responses. Because of this, it is harder for people to exchange and communicate from mind to mind. Using body language also becomes one way for people to protect their spiritual world. On the other hand, as one of the body language, body posture, which can show more extra emotions, expressed in a more sensitive and delicate way.
As body posture is people’s instinctive behavior that is the primitive way of communication, the unconscious actions can help people better express what they want and how they feel instead of what they actually said. More specifically, when babies were born, non-verbal communication becomes the only type of communication between children and their parents before they learn languages. For example, infants get their parents’ attentions by kicking or waving their arms.(1) In another words, body posture is the fundamental way to communicate.
During the physical growth of teenagers, teachers usually require them to have a correct posture when they are writing or standing. As keeping their back straight and raising their head when they are walking or sitting can not only for their vertebra development, but also teachers realize that good posture gives children confidence in their own thoughts. Thus this shows the importance of educating teenagers to have a good body posture.
Because of the importance of positive body posture in affecting teenagers’ thoughts, teacher can also use the body posture to add pressure on the behavior of their students. It is an effective and successful education method than just talking in class. So compare with spoken language, body posture is worth more applications and attentions in education.
Meaning of different Body postures
Body postures can represent people’s attitudes as it acts as a reflector of your subconscious thoughts and attitudes in the body. It not only affects the impression people made on others, but also influences how we identify ourselves (2). Body postures can simply divide into two forms: constricted and expansive postures. (See Figure 14)
Constricted postures means people sat on chair, which usually show that people is lack of confidence and sense of power. In another word, the constricted postures not only did make people look less vigor and vitality, but also made people to change their decisions and doubt easily. The reason is that they often generate negative thoughts, which undervalued their own worth. Conversely, the expansive posture means that people sit with their arm on the armrest and extend their legs in a comfortable way. The expansive posture can activate people’s confident-related behaviors. In addition to this, the rate of success for people who have upright postures is higher as they have positive self-assessment. (3) For example, teenagers wrote more positive thoughts and gives themselves higher self-evaluation when they are in upright postures, but when teenagers in slouched posture, they easily rated themselves negatively.(4)
Limitation of verbal communication
Some people argue that it is unnecessary for teacher to understand non-verbal communication with their students as they consider that spoken language is the efficient way to express their instructions. However, the research has found that the verbal language only takes up 7% to 35% in total communication of education system. (5) The majority of students’ thoughts and intentions are transmitted by their posture. Sometimes words cannot express students’ real meaning in proper way. However, the little details, which expressed by body languages, often truly reflect a student’s heart. Although it is easy for most teachers to miss those slight actions, it does not represent we can ignore the function of body posture used in education system that teachers can better understand students’ real feelings. For example, a good student is speaking fluently in front of audiences, it seems that he is confident enough to complete his speech. However, his legs are shaking behind lectern. People only see his confident appearance. Actually he is lack of confidence about his presentation just because he cannot show his nervous to others.
There are also many doubts to the reliability of messages sent by body language. Those opponents suggest that each student’s actions are subject to his habits and lifestyle. Thus same body posture towards different students may represent different meanings. They think that spoken language does not have ambiguous influence as it has a unified standard and meaning for an internationally recognized. However, Paul Ekman suggests that average person tells three lies per ten minutes’ conversation in his book. (6) The same situation happened in education system. Students tend to hide their own opinions in many situations for sorts of reasons. (7) For instance, when a student tells lie about skipping homework, their body will wobble from side to side as he is afraid and nervous if teacher exposes his lie.
Use of body posture in teenagers’ education
Opposition to body posture claimed that teenagers could realize their problems and correct them without delay if teachers clearly point out their weakness into words. It is undeniable that this education method can warn students effectively. However, the lip service to the quality of education is useless. Especially for teenagers, it is easy to misunderstand teachers’ well-intentional suggestions as personal attack. The results of parole education maybe the opposite, teenagers not only do not appreciate, but also have a reverse psychology. As a result, it is hard for teachers to control students and change their minds. For this reason, it is necessary for teachers to use body posture as a communication tool in education.
Teachers could not only do identify how students’ feeling from their body postures, but also body posture can become an education tool, which increase teaching discipline. It is reasonable that most teachers stand to teach students. It is not only because teacher need to make points on the blackboard, but also creating an aggressive classroom atmosphere. Standing in the class could send a basic dominance signal to students who are sitting behind the desks. (8) However, if teachers are sitting in the class, it tells students that you are hiding and un-confident which may unsettle their attention. In addition to this, if teachers stand in an open area and circulate the room, it shows to students that you are confident enough and happy to share everything with them. Comparing hiding behind platform, students will perceive teachers as being friendlier and more approachable.
T. Carlyle said that speech is sliver, but silence is gold. It means that compare to meaningless chat, body postures are powerful enough to state people’s mind. Also, the assertive body posture can increase the credibility and put others into submissive positions automatically, while Constricted posture decreases people’s confidence. Because of this, the function of body posture plays an important role in education system. Teachers required their students to have positive postures as positive posture generates confident thoughts. Furthermore, It represents teachers’ leading roles in classroom when they stand while teaching. Furthermore, more successful teachers may improve their body postures to prevent discipline problems. Also, It seems inevitable that more specific postures will be identified and body posture will use as cues in representing person’s psychological mood in more different areas.
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1 “Understanding Children’s Body Language,” last modified December 14th, 2010, http://babytipz.com/baby-development/understanding-children%E2%80%99s-body-language.
2 “Body Posture Improves Your Self Confidence,” last modified December 15, 2010, http://lawyerasad.blogspot.com/2010/12/body-posture-improves-your-self.html.
3 Vietta E. Wilson and Erik Peper, “The Effects of Upright and Slumped Postures on the Recall of Positive and Negative Thoughts,” (New York: Norton, 2004), 189-195.
4 “Body Posture Affects Confidence In Your Own Thoughts, Study Finds,” Science Daily，October 5,2009, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091005111627.htm.
5 “The Importance of Nenverbal Communication,” accessed March 17, 2012,” http://www.expats-moving-and-relocation-guide.com/nonverbal-communication.html.
6 Paul Ekman, Telling lies: clues to deceit in the marketplace, politics, and marriage (New York : Norton,1985), 34-36.
7 “We’re All Lying Liars: Why People Tell Lies, and Why White Lies Can Be OK,” last modified May 18, 2009, http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2009/05/18/were-all-lying-liars-why-people-tell-lies-and-why-white-lies-can-be-ok.
8 “Body Language Skills for Teachers,” last modified March 6, 2008, http://philtrate.qondio.com/body-language-skills-for-teachers.