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How to Understand a Student's Body Language

Being able to read a student's body language is vital when you are a teacher, giving a presentation, or just talking to a student. It shows their ...

How to Understand a Student's Body Language article provided by wikiHow. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Understand a Student's Body Language

Being able to read a student's body language is vital when you are a teacher, giving a presentation, or just talking to a student. It shows their interest level, and whether or not they are paying attention to you.

edit Steps

  1. 1
    Look at their eyes. Are they dull and unfocused? If so, you are most likely boring them to death. Are they trained across the room? Follow their gaze. They may be trying to catch the eye of a friend. If a student is paying attention to you, their eyes will be focused on you. Their gaze may flick around, this is natural.
  2. 2
    Evaluate their facial expression.
    This student is probably confused
    This student is probably confused
    You can garner a lot from simple observation.
  3. 3
    Evaluate their posture. Are they slouched over the desk? They may be trying not to fall asleep. A student paying attention will usually be sitting up, though almost no student sits poker straight.
  4. 4
    Look at his or her legs. If his or her foot is tapping against the floor, he or she may be impatient with the lecture, conversation, or presentation (Or they may just have ADHD or a Kinesthetic learning style). Leg position varies from student to student - some prefer to cross their legs, or to place them firmly on the floor.
  5. 5
    Take clues from the environment. Look at the whole body of students. Do they appear to be interested? Or, as a whole, do they appear to be bored?

edit Tips

  • One way to revive a bored class is to pick on the student whose body language is most bored - the student slouched at the back, with her eyes closed and her chin on the desk. Suddenly say something like, "Just like THIS PERSON HERE!" as you walk over to her desk and slouch down, mirroring and exaggerating her body language. Not only will she wake up and laugh, but the rest of the class will too.
  • Use what you already know about the student to help in your observations - for example, if he or she usually sits up straight but he or she is slouching, he or she may be sleepy or bored.
  • If you see students are bored, then switch things up every once in a while. You never know, they might show more interest if they see the fun side of class!
  • A good teacher must be an entertainer as well, especially if the subject matter being taught is fairly dry (high school maths, for instance). Never be afraid to make your students (whatever their age) laugh.
  • it is good to tell stories related to the course been taught, remember that there are dull and sharp students in the same class, in order to carry the dull ones along by being slow , the sharp ones might get bored so the best is to device a means of carrying both along.

edit Warnings

  • Every person is different, and there is no universal body language.
  • Do not embarrass the students by staring.

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