6.3.1 Using gestures
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Effectively teaching with gestures.
When using gestures I teach effectively.
These gestures are applicable in lessons of all subjects.
Communicating through gestures
Perspective ‘Establishing a friendly tone’
With inaudible body language, you create a positive learning environment.
Using body language
Perspective ‘Managing behaviour stragegies’ – module ‘Reinforcing positive behaviour: first steps
With an inaudible gesture, you ask a student to stop disrupting the lesson. This allows everyone to concentrate.
More gestures applicable in a musical setting can be found on this site: Conductorsband.com
1. Lighthouse gesture – asking the whole group for attention
When you want the attenion of all students you start With the Lighthouse gesture (or any other gesture with which you ask for silence) you ask the whole group for attention. Once you have the attention of all students, you begin your explanation. If a single student is not yet paying attention to the lesson, ask him or her to stop talking with serie 1: stop doing something or with serie 2: stop talking. If the student responds well, round it off with a compliment: Thumb up. If not you give the student a Tip.
While making this gesture, twist your upper body and look at everyone one at a time. Let your gaze glide along the group, just as the light from a lighthouse travels along the horizon. In doing so, avoid fixating on one student. Depending on the situation, take three to six seconds to do this: three seconds in a quiet group and six seconds in a busy group. Everyone will have seen that you made this gesture, and those who did not see it will hear that others are silent. When it is completely quiet after this gesture, you take the floor. If there is still one student not paying attention to the lesson, you make a series of three gestures as descirbed below. If this student responds well, you make the thumbs up gesture, If not respond with giving a tip, which you note in your Tip Book. Then you move the abacus one page further.
With this gesture called Lighthouse, you ask the whole class for attention. Notice that the person asking for attention in the video looks friendly. This has a positive impact on the mood of the rest of the class.
Alternative gestures to ask for attention:
- Hold your erect index finger by your lip. With your other arm, with your arm extended, make the select gesture from left to right until you have looked at everyone.
- Make the gesture an officer makes to get you to stop. Combine this with an upright index finger in front of your lips. Again, look from left to right until you have looked at everyone.
2. Start one person – start whole group
The meaning of the Start gesture depends on the context. The Start gesture can mean: You may answer, say it or start doing something.
You avoid unrest by communicating before you ask a question to the groupthat you don’t want to see fingers in the air. You decide who is going to give the answer with the start gesture. Now all students participate actively. Moreover, it gives you the opportunity to involve student who normaly do not put their finger in the air with the lesson.
Start one person
The “start” gesture is made by moving your open hand (palm up) forward, replacing the comment “go ahead”. With this gesture you can get someone to start doing something, you can use it, for example, when you give someone a turn, to invite someone to respond or ask someone to demonstrate something.
Start whole group
With this gesture, you invite all student to start a previously discussed activity.
3. Speak softer – less noise
With the gesture ‘Softer’ you ask students to speak more softly and make less noise. This gesture comes from the practice of orchestra conducting.
Speak softer – less noise
The whole group: Keep your palms down. Keep your hands at the level of your head and slowly move them downward.
Only one student? Make this move only with one hand.
4. Changing approach to teaching
When all students are working independently, there are discussions going on on all sides. If it is time to change to whole class teaching you use this gesture ‘Changing approach to teaching’. Because you also use your voice, everyone knows immediately knows what to do.
Changing approach to teaching
With this combination of using a gesture and using your voice, you get the attention of the whole group quickly.
The teacher says in Dutch: “Everybody clean up and sit in the circle”.
The thumbs up gesture is a very effective means of indicating that your students are doing a good job. Also, it is a reminder for yourself that you are applying Friendly and Fair Teaching!
Figure 55: The five perspectives of Friendly and Fair Teaching
6. Series 1 of three gestures – stop talking
This serie of three gesture you use when a student is talking, this student is not yet paying attention to the lesson. While making these three gestures, look friendly, your students will be more likely to do what you ask.
You use this gesture to select one student. You point to a student, keeping the index finger pointing up. Direct pointing can be threatening and some cultures disapprove of direct pointing. Selecting in this way is often enough to get the student to stop what is not intended.
2 Stop talking
With this gesture you ask one student to stop talking.
3 Thumbs Up
The ‘thumbs up’ gesture is used when a student responds well to your earlier gesture. With this third gesture you indicate three important things: you confirm that the student did what you asked, you show that you appreciate the student’s response, you compliment and you close the communication cycle.
Please stop talking
7. Series 2 – Stop disrupting
You use this series when a student is doing something that disrupts the lesson. This can be moving or making a noise, this student is not yet paying attention to the lesson. You also use it when a student uses rough language. While making these three gestures, look friendly, your students will be more likely to do what you ask.
With this gesture, you select one student. You point to a student, keeping the index finger pointed upward. Direct pointing can be threatening and some cultures disapprove of direct pointing. This gesture may be enough to make the student stop interrupting.
With this gesture you ask a student to stop something. The stop gesture comes from conductors who use it to get musicians to stop and is immediately understandable.
The “thumbs up” gesture is used to thank a student who responds well to the previous two gestures. With this one gesture, you give three important cues: you thank the student for doing what you asked, you show that you appreciate the student’s response and you close the communication cycle.
You ask a student to stop disturbing the lesson.
Variation on the gesture ‘stop disturbing’: Slowly move your index finger pointing upwards from left to right. With this, you ask a student to stop disturbing.