All teachers know that effective understanding of language and communication are vital for successful teaching and learning. The majority know that more than 90 per cent of communication is non-verbal (Mehrabian, 1972).
However, there is often a disconnect between this knowledge and classroom practice. This is often rooted in a lack of focus on communication as a two-way process: with both the teacher (and other adults) understanding the child and the child being able to understand the adults. Non-verbal communication is a key, yet frequently ignored, component of this process.
Behaviour as communication is understood at some level by most teachers, even those who profess a “zero-tolerance” approach (Lightfoot, 2020). But this is not always embedded in an understanding of non-verbal communication as a two-way process.
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