Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication
Communication is a very important component of human life. Human beings build relationships around communication. The quality of the relationships between two people is normally determined by how they communicate to each other. Communication is defined as the process of encoding and decoding messages, which enable human being to share knowledge, skills, ideas, and attitudes. Although communication has also been identified with speech, it is made up of two dimensions, which are the verbal and nonverbal dimensions. Verbal communication can be defined as the act of expressing messages, feelings and ideas by using words or the mouth. Nonverbal communication involves communication that does not involve words. It includes behavior such as touching, tone of voice, facial expressions, spatial distance, posture, and dress. Historically, these two forms of communication have been studied separately. However, contrary to common belief among some scholars that verbal and nonverbal communication are separate entities, these two dimensions of communication are interrelated and it is very hard for them to exist separately. This is because the nonverbal form of communication normally gives meaning and weigh to the verbal communication. For instance, the facial expression one presents while delivering a verbal message would determine the seriousness and gravity of the issue being communicated. The bodily expressions can also determine whether the speaker means what he/she says or not. For instance, if a person communicates some sad news while smiling, one can readily deduce that he/she is lying and the news is not true. On the contrary, if a person says that he/she is fine while wearing a sad expression, this will create an impression that he/she is hiding something and that not all is well. Like in any other situation, communication is also very important in a classroom situation. This is because effective communication is required for a teacher to successfully manage a classroom. Both verbal and nonverbal communication are crucial in the management of a classroom. For instance, verbal communication can be used by the teacher in a classroom to instill classroom rules and administer lessons. Generally, verbal communication is vital to the kind of education students receive. Possession of good verbal communication skills by the teacher ensures that students understand what is taught in class.
Lack of such skills y the teacher can hamper learning even if the teacher has good mastery of content. This is because the most important thing is how the teacher is able to effectively communicate verbally the content to the students. The way a teacher articulates the instructions and lessons in class determines a lot on how the students will understand. Although verbal communication is very crucial in communicating in class, nonverbal communication is equally important. In fact, the nonverbal communication forms the large part of the total communication in any situation. Experts argue that 70% of the daily communication involves the nonverbal dimension. Although it is possible to stop the verbal communication, it is impossible to avoid the nonverbal communication. This being possible because communication itself can be silent. If a person is silent, then it is likely that he/she is thinking or is stressed. This in itself is communication. Researchers in nonverbal communication argue that most of the feelings and emotions are communicated nonverbally rather than verbally. This makes the nonverbal form of communication very significant in any communication process. Human beings integrate nonverbal communication into the communication process by a number of reasons. One of them being that words have limitations. Although words are mostly used in communication, there are many areas that verbal communication is not applicable. This forces one to employ the use of nonverbal communication. The areas of communication that words cannot be used effectively include giving directions, describing shapes, and expressing personalities. These instances require the use of both words and nonverbal cues. Another reason human beings use nonverbal form of communication is that nonverbal signals are powerful. Nonverbal cues are able to express inner feelings of an individual. For example, one can easily interpret the inner feelings of an individual by observing his/her facial expression, taking note of the tone of his/her voice and observing the body movements. These are of the areas that are hard to express using the verbal messages because verbal messaging normally deals with the outside world. Nonverbal messages are typically genuine. A person’s true feelings can be deduced from this communication method. Nonverbal behaviors are hard to control, unlike the spoken words, which are easy to control. It is hard for one to control his/her true feelings about something, however, that person can easily lie about it. Nonverbal communication can also be used to express feelings that are inappropriate to state in words.
The social norms and etiquette limits human beings on what can be said. Although, one can easily use nonverbal cues to communicate such thoughts. In a classroom situation, nonverbal communication also forms a critical aspect of communication between teachers and students. Most of the messages generated by teachers are nonverbal. Most of the cues used by students to judge a teacher on his/her competence or character are normally obtained by observing the nonverbal behaviors of the teacher. Nonverbal communication or signals emitted by a teacher in a classroom have great levels of influence on the students’ perception, mood, learning, attitudes toward learning, and the general classroom atmosphere. On his/her part, a teacher is able to infer what is going on with each individual student and the class in general by using nonverbal cues. This enables the teacher to adopt the best approach to teach in any situation by assessing the mood of the students towards learning. If a teacher realizes that students are bored prior to his/her lesson, he/she might decide to start the lesson with something interesting like a story to recapture the attention of the students. In addition, the nonverbal cues can help a teacher to identify a troubled student and help him/her accordingly. There are various ways in which teachers and students can stand, sit, and walk in the classroom that can affect the interpersonal perception. For example, a teacher who twitches or fumbles while talking to students might be perceived as lacking confidence. A teacher who appears unmoved despite the prevailing circumstances may be perceived as withdrawn and cold. Body movements and postures are normally indicators of energy, self-confidence, status, or fatigue. In a classroom, keen students are normally able to perceive the emotional status of the teacher form his/her unconscious nonverbal behaviors. For instance, students can be able to perceive confidence or frustration in their teachers. An observant teacher would also be able to tell if his/her students are understanding the content being taught or are having problems getting the concept. However, a student stooping in his seat would give a different message from a student who is sitting upright or who is leaning forward. Various nonverbal cues can be used for communication in classroom.
They include gestures, facial expression, eyes, and touch. Gestures are generally used to clarify, replace, or contradict verbal messages. In a classroom situation, gestures can be used to regulate the flow of conversation. An example of this would be, if a student is giving an answer and a teacher nods, this is indication that the student is giving the right answer and should continue with his/her explanation. Gestures can be used to control a class. An example of this is when a teacher holds his/her finger on their lips, which indicates that the students should keep quiet. The facial expression is also another important nonverbal cue that is used for communication in class. Facial expressions can be used to reinforce, either negatively or positively, the spoken word. Facial expressions are normally used to convey cues about emotions and attitude. Both student and teachers can use facial expressions to convey certain messages. For instance, a hard cold stare from the teacher would tell a student that the teacher is not happy with his/her behavior and he/she should stop. The teacher can also use the facial expressions of the students to determine the level of understanding of the students about the subject matter. For example, a look of frustration or confusion on the part of the students would indicate that students have not understood what has been taught. Generally, verbal and nonverbal forms of communication are crucial in re-laying messages in any situation and they are usually employed together in any communication process.