Nonverbal communication is basically how we communicate without using words. Based on the feedback from my former students, I have taken facial expressions, gestures, paralinguistics, body language and posture, proxemics, eye gaze, haptics, appearance, and artefacts (Cherry, 2022) as the main components on how the 'me' ness will break down.
I have also considered the following aspects from Dunning's (1971) Theory Into Practice where he analysed nonverbal communication in the classroom.
NVC (Cherry, 2022)
Our faces can express emotion.
I use winks, eyebrow raising, side smiles, and squinting my eyes to show my emotions. I don't give away extreme emotions with my face except when I want to make a person feel seen (e.g I will grin to show that I'm joking or I will smile to acknowledge someone's words).
Deliberate moves and signals.
The most common gesture I use is tapping my nose to indicate that they just came across a question they need to answer themselves or an 'A ha!' moment.
This is tone of voice, loudness, inflection, and pitch.
I make sure I'm clear when I teach. That I don't mumble, I give breathing space, and change my voice accordingly to what I'm saying.
Body Language and Posture
This is simply how your body is when you interact.
I tend to walk across the class, sit on tables, stand on chairs, and show with my body that I'm open to approach.
This is super important to me as I like having some space from people physically. If someone is in my face, I tend to say 'I can hear you from a foot away too' and laugh. When I'm checking work, I tend to either go to a corner or talk softly. With sensitive topics, I feel it's better not to feel like I'm 'picking' on them.
How you look at someone.
I tend to look around the whole classroom, not hold eye contact too long to make it awkward, and make sure that the kids in the back get my attention too.
As a lecturer, I tend not to touch any student. However, I do tend to throw things at people when they're not paying attention. If the class gets too emotional, I tend to give a small pat on the head or shoulder.
How you look/ first impressions.
I look a certain way. I have pink/blonde hair, lip piercing, tattoos, and I wear black with my shoes, bag, and accessories being pink. This can go negatively where some will assume I'm younger than I am or I don't take things seriously. However, that changes when I teach (as shown in the feedback from students).
Objects and images that communicate.
I think what I use here are my pink bag, my pink water bottle, the games I make them play, and my use of relatable content.
In all these actions, again, the filter is kindness and chaos. I can silence a room with a glare (this has been a part of me since I was a child) and I can make statements that appear harsh but be kind with a corner smile.
Cherry, K. (2022) Types of nonverbal communication, Verywell Mind. Verywell Mind. Available at: https://www.verywellmind.com/types-of-nonverbal-communication-2795397 (Accessed: November 27, 2022).
Galloway, C. (1968). Nonverbal Communication. Theory Into Practice, 7(5), 172–175. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1475983
Dunning, G. B. (1971). Research in Nonverbal Communication. Theory Into Practice, 10(4), 250–258. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1475751