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This study was conducted to gain a better understanding of students in Second/Foreign language classrooms in Bangladesh and Panama, and their consciousness about Teacher-Student Interaction through Non-Verbal Communication in Bangladesh and Panama and focusing on the importance and the role in building student motivation in Second/Foreign language classrooms. Since English is a second language in Bangladesh and Panama, the result will suggest how important it is for teachers to be aware of their nonverbal communication in classrooms to interact with the students in triggering their motivation.
English is a global language and is recognized the key means of international communication. Crystal (1997) and Nunan (2003) suggest that as a general consensus, English has become an international language, one that is widely used in higher education, business, technology, science and the internet.
In Bangladesh and Panama, English is a second language for the majority of people, and therefore it is important to consider both the teaching and learning of English in both nations; hence the conduct of this study. In Panama, Spanish is the official language, spoken by over 90% of Panamanians, but English is recognized as the official second language. Bengali is spoken by majority of the people in Bangladesh and English is the official second language. Since I had access to both countries during the writing of this Thesis, it was possible to conduct a comparative study of the teaching and learning of English in both, despite the many cultural and linguistic differences, not to mention the vast geographic distance between the two. It is hoped that the findings of this study will contribute to illustrate the importance of nonverbal communication in the teaching of English as a second language despite the differences between the peoples of the two nations. Rather than the differences, it is in fact the similarities that we share as humans which enable more effective means of teaching and learning a foreign language.
In many countries around the world, the Communicative Language Teaching (CTL) method has taken prominence for the pedagogy of learners of English as a second language. In Bangladesh, CTL has been emphasized since 1998 (Billah 2012), and since then, the teaching of English has continued to follow this method to the extent possible. CTL emphasizes the importance of interaction as the means and the ultimate goal of teaching a foreign language; this is in stark contrast to the more "bookish" methods of the past where printed literature and non-interactive classroom instruction were exclusively utilized to teach English. With the emphasis now given to CTL as an efficient means of language teaching, a more interactive approach to the teaching of English as a second language has taken center stage globally.
In second language classrooms, the teacher plays an important role in the achievement of successful learning. One of the most important features of a language classroom is that the lesson is an arena of human interaction with different personalities, motives, and expectations at play. The learning atmosphere, emotional climate, group cohesion, and enjoyment of being in the group are fundamental issues for motivation. In order to achieve an interactive atmosphere, "we need an ambiance and relations among individuals that promotes a desire for interaction" (Rivers 1987). Further, Rivers (1987) notes that "[Interaction is] an affective, temperamental matter, not merely a question of someone saying something to someone," stressing the importance of converting the classroom into real-life contexts where the class experience mimics reality.
Communication can be defined as the sharing of one's thoughts and emotions with others, either verbally or nonverbally. Verbal communication includes spoken words and sounds, and the volume and tone used to express them. In contrast, nonverbal communication is unspoken, and includes facial expressions, body movements, gestures, observance of personal space, and eye contact (Wiki). "In an era of communicative language teaching, interaction is, in fact, at the heart of communication; it is what communication is all about" (Brown, H.D. 1994). The question is how should one interact in the classroom as a teacher? What forms or means of interaction should one use to keep students motivated to continue the learning process? Verbal communications are obviously utilized, with words carefully chosen by teachers so that students can better understand English. But non-verbal communication is equally important and in classrooms we tend to ignore this factor.
Non-verbal communications play an important role in interaction between a teacher and a student. In the classroom, a teacher and student, both consciously and subconsciously send and receive nonverbal cues several hundred times a day (Billah). Teachers should be aware of nonverbal communication in the classroom for two basic reasons: 1) to become better receivers of students' messages and, 2) to gain the ability to send positive signals that reinforce students' learning. In the process, teachers simultaneously become more skilled at avoiding negative signals that stifle a student's learning.
This study investigates and compares the consciousness of students of two countries, on two different continents, to a teacher's interaction through nonverbal communication during the learning of English as a second language. The goal is to highlight the importance of nonverbal communication and the critical role it plays to motivate students as they pursue the learning of a second language, in this case, English.
Research Questions and Methods
The main basis of this study started with class observation. After assessment of the observations made, an appropriate questionnaire was designed to verify my implication on the topic ending with teacher's view on my topic.
The aim of this study is to find out how conscious students are about teachers' interaction through nonverbal communication in second language classrooms at universities in Dhaka, Bangladesh versus Panama City, Panama, to identify the teachers' most frequently used nonverbal behaviors, and to find out its role in motivating students.
The paper will also investigate teachers' views on nonverbal communication in the classroom.
The main questions of focus were as follows:
Are teachers in Bangladesh and Panama aware of their nonverbal behavior through interaction in their classrooms?
Are students in Bangladesh and Panama aware of the types of nonverbal communication they receive from their teachers in classrooms?
If yes, what type of nonverbal behaviors they like to see in their teachers? What are the most used ones?
How significant is the role of teachers-student interaction through nonverbal communication? This will determine whether both teachers and students think that nonverbal communication affects interaction. If so, how does nonverbal communication affect student motivation? The opinion of students was assessed through Questionnaire.
Is nonverbal communication playing a significant role in our classrooms as it is claimed internationally? This will determine whether teachers from both countries, Bangladesh and Panama, can identify the importance of nonverbal communication as well as the types of nonverbal behaviors they present in classrooms. It will also verify how the students react to certain types of nonverbal communication.
How conscious should teachers be in their nonverbal behavior in Second/Foreign classroom? This will focus more on how teachers think of their personal performance in the classroom through nonverbal communication, how appropriate is the teacher in using body language, gesture, expressions etc., and how much students are affected by a teacher's performance in the classroom.
In what ways is Bangladesh and Panama similar and/or different in usage of nonverbal communication in classrooms?
How does nonverbal communication express cultural values?
What suggestions can be provided for Academia?
This chapter will deal with the definition and major components of nonverbal communication. It will also discuss the importance of teacher-student interaction through nonverbal communication which ultimately triggers the motivation to learn.
(2.1) Nonverbal Communication
Educators, psychologists, anthropologists and sociologists define body language or nonverbal communication as communication without words. It includes overt behaviors such as facial expressions, eye contact, touching and tone of voice. It can also be less obvious, however, as through dress, posture and spatial distance. The most effective communication occurs when verbal and nonverbal messages are in sync, creating communication synergy (Wiki). A teacher can bring in positive reinforcement through the usage of body language in second language classrooms. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Mae West both understand the importance of body language. "The tell tale body is all tongues," Emerson once said, while West famously quoted, "I speak two languages, body and English". It is just as important for teachers to be good nonverbal communication senders as it is for them to be good receivers (students). Teachers express enthusiasm, warmth, assertiveness, confidence and displeasure through facial expressions, vocal intonation, gestures and use of space etc. However, when teachers exhibit verbal messages that conflict with nonverbal messages, students become confused, which in turn can affect their interaction; hence, motivation.
How does a teacher keep students motivated to learn a second language? In an ideal classroom, students pay attention, ask questions and want to learn. They do their assignments without complaint and study without being forced to do so. However, oftentimes this is not the reality. A teacher constantly has to work to motivate or keep students triggered to do their work. One such factor is non-verbal communication, which plays a role in triggering motivation so that students are not forced but rather feel like they want to learn. For instance, Morgan (1997) achieved a high level of motivation in the teaching of intonation by bringing in the learners' social and cultural attitudes.
The main types of nonverbal communication used by a teacher to interact in classrooms in foreign language are the Kinesics (the study of body language), the Vocalics (the study of the use of tone, pitch and volume of the voice), the Chronemics (the study of the use of time), the Oculesics (the study of the use of eyes), the Proxemics (the study of the use of spatial distance), and the Haptics (the study of the use of touch). YOU NEED TO CITE THE LITERARTURE WHERE YOU GOT THIS INFORMATION---IT IS NOT YOUR ORIGINAL WORK The focus will be on the first five categories of nonverbal communication and lastly discussion on use of Haptics will be mentioned separately.
Emphasis on teacher's nonverbal responses needs to reinforce in classroom processes for three specific areas. First, nonverbal communication can be used to reinforce cognitive learning. Second, nonverbal communication reinforces emotional connections between the student and the teacher. Finally, nonverbal communication sets an organizational tone for the classroom-i.e. with respect to the management of the classroom. The use of non-verbal communication in the management of the classroom has implications for how conflict can be managed. The focus of this paper will be solely on the observation and surveys of students. It will focus on the types of nonverbal communication that can be used to motivate students in second/foreign language classrooms in Bangladesh and Panama.
My research will concentrate on the use of body language, gestures, use of tone and pitch, use of eye-contact, and use of spatial distance. These are the factors that I observed in both the countries and believe will support my hypothesis.
(2.2) Significance of Nonverbal Communication
The classroom is a setting where a great deal of nonverbal communication (ex: through behavior) takes place (Galloway, 1979; Smith, 1979; Thompson, 1973; Woolfolk & Brooks, 1985). Acceptance and understanding of ideas and feelings by teacher and student, encouraging and criticizing, silence and questioning are all manifested through communication of nonverbal behaviors. What does classroom teaching have to do with communication in general and nonverbal communication in particular? Most educators would probably have an immediate response to only the first part of the question. From his anthropological perspective, Montagu (1967) stated that the main purpose of education is to teach the art of communication since the child learns to become human through communication. Most of us would agree that the nonverbal is an essential part of their communicative act. Victoria (1970) commented further: "The process of education essentially is a communication process, not only in that sense of transmitting knowledge, but more particularly as it relates to interpersonal communication behaviors." Accordingly, the teaching process may be described as an interactive flow of information or communications which results consecutively in the processing of the information, decision-making, and learning which may be cognitive, affective, or psychomotor in nature. Because of the central role played by communication in educational practice, several writers have suggested that communication skills be taught to students or teachers and that nonverbal training be an essential part of this instruction (e.g., Gray, 1973; Hennings, 1975; Rezmierski, 1974). Similarly, Victoria (1971) proposed that teachers should study qualitative aspects of the affective domain so as to better understand students. The latter suggestion seems most appropriate in view of Davitz's (1964) pioneering work which demonstrated that emotional meanings could be communicated accurately in a variety of nonverbal media and that "nonverbal emotional communication is a stable, measurable phenomenon". AGAIN, I DON'T THIS SECTION IS YOUR ORIGINAL WORK â€¦ CITE YOUR SOURCES â€¦ THE FLOW OF THE WRITING DOES NOT SEEM IT IS YOUR OWN.
The need to make teachers explicitly aware of nonverbal facets of communication has been stressed by a number of researchers (e.g, Galloway, Koch, Montag; Ostler & Kranz). In part, these declarations seem to be reactions against the usual emphasis on verbal classroom processes and the almost total neglect of ever-present nonverbal behaviors. It has been reported often that "teachers talk too much" and that classroom teaching conforms to the "rule of two-thirds" (i.e., someone is talking for two-thirds of the total class time and two-thirds of that talking is done by the teacher). However, whether teachers are talking or not, they are always communicating. Their movements, gestures, tones of voice, dress and other artifacts, and even their ages and physiques are continuously communicating something to the students. In like manner, students are continuously communicating with their teachers, a point too often missed by teachers relying solely on the verbal message for informational purposes.
Hopkins (1974) found that teachers with a more positive view of humanity used nonverbal communicative acts which encouraged student involvement in classroom interaction, while teachers with a negative view of humanity tended to use nonverbal communicative acts which discouraged student involvement. In summary, the significant role played by nonverbal communication in classroom processes has been emphasized. The argument has been made that interaction (communication) underlies teaching, that the nonverbal domain is an essential part of communication, and that many teachers display too little awareness of nonverbal behavior in their teaching practice.
(2.3) Importance of Teacher-Student Interaction
In order to succeed, the teacher has to adopt a more interactive approach in the classroom. For instance, according to Prodromou (1991), a good teacher, among other qualities, is someone who is friendly, 'one' of the students, and genuine in dialogues. She/he tries to communicate, believes in students, makes students believe in themselves, asks for student opinions, does the lesson together, and talks about his/her life. One such factor is the level of course interaction. Laurillard, a theorist (1997) suggested that student-teacher interaction is a key component in academic learning.
The study of nonverbal communication indicates that the teacher brings more to the classroom than knowledge of subject matter and verbal fluency. Birdwhistell has tried to codify the "language of body expression." In his famous work on body language he stated, "There is a language of body expression and motion which is as ordered and structured as the language we speak. Like the language we speak it is made up in pieces of structure which can be assembled to form orderly sequences of message material which others trained in the same code can translate and respond to in kind." Like Birdwhistell, almost all eminent linguists believe that the success of both the student and the teacher depend upon the effective communication between them in the class. That is through interaction. Stevick (1982) points out that the body language of the teacher is the most important thing in the class. Addressing the teacher community he wrote, "it is the way you use your eyes, the distance you stand from your students, the way you touch or refrain from touching them-all of these unnoticeable things in the class carry important signals which create a profound effect on your students' feelings of welcome and comfort with you". Balzer, in his research on classroom communication, reported that approximately 75% of classroom management behavior was nonverbal. Similarly, Smith noted that teachers' nonverbal behaviors are for students the signs of the psychological state of the teacher and so should not be taken lightly. Galloway (1980) believed that the use of paralanguage in the classroom encourages the speakers and consequently the people in the classroom will show increased desire to transmit a message and will thereby hold the listeners' attention better.
(2.4) Teacher-Student Interaction through Nonverbal Communication to Trigger Motivation
The study of the nonverbal communication of the teacher is to be more important (in the classroom) due to three reasons according to Kristin Hammond. First, the teacher acts as an artist whose performance in the classroom is usually observed minutely by his/her audience (the students). If his/her body language is positive the students enjoy the lecture and consequently retain and remember most part of it. On the other hand, if the body language of the teacher is negative the students do not enjoy the classroom experience and feel discomfort & uneasiness and lose most of the lecture taught. Secondly, the function of nonverbal communication is to supplement the verbal messages (of the speaker) by repetition, substitution, complementation and regulation. If the nonverbal signals of the resource person (the Teacher) are appropriate the student gets maximum benefit from the lecture but if the nonverbal cues are contradictory the students usually get confused and in some situations are completely lost. Thirdly, a teacher is a role model (of the target language) for many students and they try to copy his/her body language, as there is no native speaker model available in many Bangladesh and Panama universities. It is motivation that produces effective second language communicators by planting in them the seeds of self-confidence. Therefore, the nonverbal communication of the teacher in these universities is more important for motivating the second language learners.
COUNTRY AND CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES
(3.1) Bangladesh Perspective
In Bangladesh, the importance of English language is growing day by day. Students who spend four years in university need to learn English to enhance their career for the future. With the growing population, English is becoming more demanding than ever. We can see, in businesses, hospitals, buying house, corporate world and in education, English is needed. We see many institutions where classes are provided for those who are working to enhance their English; coaching center to learn English is growing by the number and we see training seminars for teachers to become better in their teaching. The growing number of private universities is making it necessary to learn English.
But, the question remains, "How do we motivate students to learn English? What elements enhance students' performance? By keeping these questions in mind, teachers' nonverbal communication during interaction with students plays an important role in second/foreign language classrooms. The lack of nonverbal communication is making interaction between teacher and student difficult. Students tend to take the classes lightly and later in the long run have to take more classes for their careers to learn English properly; hence their communication lacks the necessary expression or voice in them.
(3.2) Panama Perspective
Panama is a country where 95% of the population speaks Spanish. Like Bangladesh, English is a second language here as well. The university has extended English classes for the students where most of the teachers are natives.
In Panama, teachers reflect on verbal communication more than nonverbal as well. But students are affected by the paralanguage in the classroom, hence resulting in lack of interest in the classes which affects them later on. As a teacher, the need of the understanding and usage of nonverbal is vital in keeping students motivated in the classroom because majority of the students in Panama come from a Spanish background. Their language has very few words which are interchanged with English words. In contrast, in Bangladesh, English words in Bangladesh, words like 'card', 'office', 'school', 'class', and many more are used by almost 98% of the population. So English words are perhaps "more foreign" to native Spanish speakers than they may be to native Bengali speakers. The need to understand student's perception of teacher's nonverbal communication in classroom in this instance is even more paramount.
DATA ANALYSIS AND FINDINGS
(4.1) Universities in Bangladesh
Class Observation: Two classes were observed before conveying the survey to the students. Based on my observations, I decided to concentrate on the nonverbal communication used by teachers. The major goal of this survey is to determine how conscious students are about the interaction between teacher and student through nonverbal communication in the classroom.
The Survey: The questionnaire composed of two parts where both parts involve about nonverbal
communication of the teachers but there were two main differences.
First, in the first option there were four choices; (a) Totally Agree, (b) True up to some extent, (c) Totally Disagree and (d) I don't know. The students have to select one of them and this way we will understand how conscious students are about their teacher's nonverbal interaction. Secondly, the first portion generally asked about the liking of the students which was directly linked to students' motivation and involvement in the class. In the second part of the questionnaire the queries were directly related to the retention of the lectures with the nonverbal communication of their teachers. The second survey provides only two options of "Yes" and "No" and in this way the assessment will be definite.
Later, both of them were combined to provide a coherent result of the findings. The results are as follows:
Bangladesh Participants: The questionnaires were distributed among American International University students and Stamford University students, 15 students from each university participated in filling out the questionnaires. The entire 30 participant's native language is Bengali and it consisted of 19 males and 11 females. The response of students to a teacher's use of body language and gestures is summarized in Table 1.
Table 1: Reaction of Students to Teacher's Body Language and Gestures
American International University of Bangladesh (AIUB)
True to Some Extent
I Don't Know
True to Some Extent
Nodding Head Encourages Students
Smiling Teachers Encourage Students to Learn
Raised Finger Embarrasses Students
Happy Mood Creates Motivation
The above data shows that students at universities in Bangladesh are aware of nonverbal communication in their classrooms. The assessment clearly shows that 18 out of 30 students at the two universities, which results in an average of 60% of the students, feel strongly motivated when teachers nod their head in class. The remaining 12 students, or 40%, responded that it was true to some extent that the teacher's head nodding results in motivation. This data is represented in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Student Motivation Due to Teacher's Head Nodding
21 out of 30 students agreed that teachers who smile at their students in the classroom encourage them to be confident in their class, averaging at 70%, while the remaining 9 student, or 30%, answered that this was true to a some extent. Figure 2 summarizes this finding.
Figure 2: Student Encouragement Due to Teacher Smiling
A teacher's happy mood creates a good atmosphere in second language classroom with a high percentage from both the universities, where 27 out of 30 students answered 'Totally Agree" in the survey, averaging at 90%, while the remaining 10% answered "true to some extent." This proves the point that amongst students at universities in Bangladesh, non-motivation results when a teacher does not enter the classroom with a good mood. See Figure 3 for a graphical representation of this data.
Figure 3: Creation of Good Atmosphere Due to Teacher Smiling
Finally, a teacher's raised finger embarrasses students in Bangladesh, where 23 out of 30 students, averaging at 78% conveyed that their level of confidence goes down when teachers raise their finger while asking them a question, Figure 4.
Figure 4: Negative Impact Caused by Teacher Raising Finger
The students' response to the use of various supra segmental features of language such as pitch, tone, rhythm and volume by the teacher is summarized in Table 2.
Table 2: Student Response to Supra Segmental Feature of Language of Teacher
American International University of Bangladesh (AIUB)
True to Some Extent
I Don't Know
True to Some Extent
Monotonous Tone Creates Boredom
Variation in Pitch, Tone, Volume, etc. are Liked
In both universities in Bangladesh, 27 out of 30 students with an average of 90% survey result shows that monotonous tone creates boredom in classroom and 3 students answered true to some extent with an average of 10%, Figure 5.
Figure 5: Teacher's Monotonous Tone Leading to Boredom
20 out of 30 students with an average of 66% totally agreed to the question that variation is tone, pitch and volume is liked, while 10 students, or 34%, answered "true to some extent," Figure 6. The students' response about the use of time by their teachers is shown in Figure 7.
Figure 6: Students' Preference for Teacher's Variation in Tone, Pitch and Volume
Figure 7: Student Perspectives on Effective Use of Time by Teachers in Bangladesh
The result of this question shows that, 23 out of 30 students averaging at 77% of the students in Bangladesh in University take teachers casually if they are not regular in their classroom. As teachers for second language learner, one must remember that English is a second language for the students and if the teachers are not motivated to be regular in their classes students will not be either. Second, 14 out of 30 students with an average of 47% answered that they look at their wrist watches if a teacher takes over-time in the classroom.
The students' response about the use of eye contact of their teachers is shown in Figure 8.
Figure 8: Student Perspectives on Teacher Eye Contact in Bangladesh
The above result shows that, 25 out of 30 students with an average of 83% of the students feel encouraged when teachers use eye-contact. Visual contact with the instructor appears related to student's comprehension. Furthermore, visual contact with the instructor increases attentiveness, which in turn triggers motivation. Second, 18 out of 30 students said that cold stares embarrass students with an average of 60%.
The students' response about the movement of their teachers in a classroom is shown in Figure 9.
Figure 9: Student Perspectives on Teacher Movement in Classroom in Bangladesh
The result shows that 23 students totally agreed upon with an average of 78% that the students in Bangladesh feel teacher's movement in the classroom keep them alert, which shows that students are affected by teacher's use of space. Whereas, around 21 out of 30 students agreed with an average of 70% that teacher standing still creates laziness in students.
Data Analysis: The above findings clearly state that our students in second language classrooms are conscious about teachers nonverbal communication used to interact, which triggers motivation. Smiling and nodding head in a classroom plays a vital role in universities in Bangladesh when interacting with students because the most dominant and reliable features of the face provide a constant channel of communication. They received high percentage of 60% and 90%. That is why when teachers interact there face provides shifty and evasive; convey hate, fear, and guilt; or express confidence, and support.
90% of the student agreed that by using a dull tone in the classrooms, students think that the teacher is tired or boring. But as teachers of second language, one must remember that we are providing a class time of 75 minutes and within that time frame a teacher must provide an interactive speech where students will be encouraged to convey their views and ideas about the topic.
Eye behavior seems to be particular importance which resulted in 83% and it is used to indicate whether one is open to communication. This can be observed when a teacher asks the class a question: students who think they know the answer will generally look at the teacher, while students who do not will usually try to avoid eye contact and in these cases cold stares must be avoided. Eye contact give provides a feeling of confidence and assurance from teacher. Therefore, plays an important role in second language classrooms.
In Bangladesh, sometimes classrooms are small. If the teacher wishes to dominate the interaction in the classroom, the traditional arrangement is probably the best because students are seated side by side and the primary focal point is the teacher; thus, most interaction will go from teacher to student and from student to teacher. But in some cases, it is important to move around in the classroom to keep the attention of the students when teacher convey a message. 78% of the students feel that when a teacher moves in the classroom they feel motivated to listen.
Lastly, a regular teacher is seen as a teacher who is passionate (about the course), prepared and is there for the students. 77% of the students agreed upon this factor. On the other hand, students start taking classes casually if the teacher is irregular and hence demotivation factor arises in second language classrooms.
Teachers view on Nonverbal Communication being used as a motivation in Bangladesh: Two teachers from American International University and Stamford University participated in the interview questions. When asked about the importance of the usage of interaction through nonverbal communication, one of the teachers said that "It is not a conscious communication used by a teacher, but I think it affects student's motivation in a classroom if teachers are not friendly or smiling". In one of her classes she said that once she stood beside her presentation given in PowerPoint and half of the students did not respond to her questions but later when she presented while moving around in the classroom she felt there was a difference. The difference was that students were alert and responded to her questions. She further said when she is smiling in the classroom, or make jokes the student perform better in those classes. On the other hand, another teacher emphasized on the following strict rules, "I don't think that it is important for a teacher to be too friendly with the students in the classroom because the respect will be gone", I asked further that in second language classroom, students are already vulnerable and if the teacher is interactive by smiling, or using eye-contact the interaction will be much appreciated. But he said that it does not really matter as long as the knowledge is been presented. After the conversation I concluded that some teachers do not like nor believe the fact that gestures in the classroom motivates students.
The teachers also pointed out that it is not a conscious behavior but believes that it is important factor in motivating students. After conducting the survey, my point is proven that the way a teacher interacts nonverbally is the motivating factor in second language classrooms. Students agreed that usage of gesture, time, and space matters when teacher-student interacts. One teacher also pointed out that in Bangladesh, some gestures like eye-contact are seen as disrespect towards teachers and small private university continues to believe this. But after conveying the survey it clearly shows that this generation students are becoming more aware of teacher behavior and the way they interact. The survey proves that students like teachers who walk in the class confidently and with a smile. Students like the fact that teachers value their opinion by nodding their head. Students feel motivated when teachers are always regular and on time in the class.
(4.2) Universities in Panama
Class Observation: Three classes were observed before conducting the survey in Panama universities. The observation clearly states that students are affected by teacher's nonverbal communication in the classrooms. The major goal of this survey is to determine again, just as Bangladesh as to how conscious students are about the interaction between teacher and student through nonverbal communication in the classroom.
Participants: The questionnaire was distributed among Universidad Interamericana and Bristol Academy. From each university, 15 students participated in the survey from a total of 30. Among them, 20 were males and 10 females. The native language of 29 students is Spanish and 1 Jamaican filled out the survey. The response of students to a teacher's use of body language and gestures is summarized in Table 3.
Table 3: Reaction of Students to Teacher's Body Language and Gestures
True to Some Extent
I Don't Know
True to Some Extent
Nodding Head Encourages Students
Smiling Teachers Encourage Students to Learn
Raised Finger Embarrasses Students
Happy Mood Creates Motivation
The above data shows that, universities in Panama City are also aware of nonverbal communication in their classrooms. The calculation clearly shows that, 17 out of 30 students which average into 57% of the students feel motivated when teachers nod their head and the rest 13 students answered true to some extent with an average of 43%, Figure 10. The results show great similarity and some differences in the result with the universities in Bangladesh.
Figure 10: Student Motivation Due to Teacher's Head Nodding
Second, 28 out of 30 students agreed that teachers who smiles at their students in the classroom encourages them to be confident in their class averaging at 94% with the rest 2 students answering true to some extent averaging at 6%, Figure 11.
Figure 11: Student Encouragement Due to Teacher Smiling
Third, happy mood of the teacher creates a good atmosphere in second language classroom with a high percentage from both the universities in Panama, where 29 out of 30 students answered 'Totally Agree" in the survey, averaging at a percentage of 96% of the students and the rest 1 student answered true to some extent with a percentage of around 4%, Figure 12.
Figure 12: Creation of Good Atmosphere Due to Teacher Smiling
On the other hand, raised finger embarrasses students where 25 out of 30 students with an average of 83% surveyed conveyed that they feel confidence level goes down when teachers raise their finger while asking them a question while the rest 5 students averaging at 17% answered true to some extent, Figure 13.
Figure 13: Negative Impact Caused by Teacher Raising Finger
The students' response to the use of various supra segmental features of language such as pitch, tone, rhythm and volume by the teacher is summarized in Table 4.
Table 4: Student Response to Supra Segmental Feature of Language of Teacher
True to Some Extent
I Don't Know
True to Some Extent
Monotonous Tone Creates Boredom
Variation in Pitch, Tone, Volume, etc. are Liked
Monotonous tone creates boredom by a high ratio of 93% in Panama universities. 28 out of 30 students answered totally agree and 2 students with a percentage of 7% answered true to some extent, Figure 14.
Figure 14: Teacher's Monotonous Tone Leading to Boredom
23 out of 30 students totally agreed on variation in tone, pitch rates been liked with a percentage of 76% and the rest 7 students answered true to some extent with a percentage of 24%, Figure 15.
Figure 15: Students' Preference for Teacher's Variation in Tone, Pitch and Volume
The students' response about the use of time by their teachers is shown in Figure 16.
Figure 16: Student Perspective on Effective Use of Time by Teachers in Panama
Around 20 out of 30 students with a percentage of 65% of the students agreed upon taking classes casually if the teacher is irregular. Second, 18 out of 30 students agreed that they look at their wrist watches if teachers take over-time averaging around 60%.
The students' response about the use of Eye Contact of their teachers is shown in Fig. 17
Figure 17: Student Perspective on Teacher Eye Contact in Panama
95% of the students said eye-contact encourages students whereas 60% agreed that cold stare given by the teacher embarrasses them during presentation, participation etc.
The students' response about the movement of their teachers in a classroom is shown
in Figure 18.
Figure 18: Student Perspectives on Teacher Movement in Classroom in Panama
The above graph supports this point that 86% of the students in the universities in Panama feel active when the teacher moves around in the classroom. On the other hand, 83% of the students feel lazy if the teacher is standing at one place during the duration of the classroom.
Data Analysis: The data above also states that the students in Panama City are aware of their teacher's interaction through nonverbal communication in the classrooms. According to the findings, nodding head is a common manner; therefore, the effect on students is not much and therefore received low percentage of 57%. But on the other hand, happy and smiling teacher received high percentages because 96% and 70%. According to the student as I have spoken to them, they feel when a teacher is happy the whole class itself than represents motivation.
Raised finger received high percentage of 83% than Bangladesh. In Panama City, it is perceived as rudeness if anyone points at anyone. In here, I believe cultural factor plays a role which I will be mentioning later on. Teacher's use of monotonous tone received 93% which shows that a teacher who uses variation is liked. Variation in tone received high percentage as well but I believe in Panama City people in general speak loudly. The rhythm in their language has many highs and lows. Therefore, students in Panama tend to like variation in speeches given by the teacher. Through class observation, I saw that most of the teachers like to speak in high volume, which is good for the second language classroom. This distinction in voice gives students an alertness that must be present to motivate students in second language.
I believe that to be a good interactive teacher in the classroom, the use of time by the teacher must be maintained. It shows that the teacher is prepared and has planned the lesson ahead of time. In the universities in Panama, students agreed with my view as well with a percentage of 65%. But certainly, there are circumstances were one cannot reach on time but those are occasional situation. As a teacher of second language, being on time, being regular in the classroom shows that the teacher is dedicated. This will show the students to be punctual and serious about not missing any classes.
The environment between the teacher-student is a friendly one. When I observed the classes I saw them giving each other hugs and kisses on the cheek but in Bangladesh these are not a common custom. Eye-contact is usually not made towards the teacher when the teacher enters the classroom. Therefore, the percentage is lower in the surveys I did in Bangladesh universities than in Panama As for Panama, eye-contact is very important because the survey resulted with a 95% of the students liked when teacher made eye-contact with them and cold stares received 60%.
In second/foreign language classroom, teacher who walk around and talk to students during group/pair tends to interact more with the each other because at that time a teacher can observe students who are weak in English and encourage them to express their opinion if the teacher feels like they do not participate in the class often. 86% of the students feel motivated when teacher move around the classroom. Therefore, once the student gets to know the teacher by interacting during group/pair work the student will be motivated to talk in front of the class during the course. That is how an assurance from teacher is given towards shy/introvert student that the students' opinion matters as well.
Teachers view on Nonverbal Communication being used as a motivation in Panama: From Bristol Academy said that classes where students are sitting in a circle where a teacher can interact face to face with the students and move around if necessary during class time results in an interactive class. Teachers in Panama University said that most of the students are native speakers that is why a teacher always need to focus in their training to enhance their skills in motivating students. One teacher said that, "Interaction is very important in second language classroom because at the end of the lesson it is not only the knowledge provided by the teacher but the also the way teacher presented the topic to them. The way a teacher expresses a topic shows confidence, the way he/she smiles, the way a teacher moves around the classrooms shows how passionate a teacher is about the course or topic. Hence, this builds motivation within students." Another example provided by the teacher was that once she entered the classroom and she didn't greet anyone since she was thinking about something. She just looked down and sat down. At the end of the lesson, students came up to her and asked whether she is upset or not. So the point she made is that the impression you give when you enter the classroom sets the motivation of a class.
But the teachers mentioned that it is not a conscious behavior that they do in the classrooms. They believe that in a country where English is a second language, training is not provided for nonverbal communications but they believe it is an important aspect in class.
(4.3) Relationship Between Both Countries on Nonverbal Communication
After the findings above, it is safe to say that due to English being a second language in both the countries, nonverbal communications is not a practiced behavior or conscious communication by the teacher but after conducting the survey it shows that nonverbal communication plays a vital role in triggering motivation in second/foreign language classroom. Students from Bangladesh and Panama City feel that a teacher who is in a good mood and is happy performs better in classroom. Their percentage measured above 90% which shows students are aware of teacher nonverbal communication. But they felt difficulty when teachers raised their fingers resulting above 80%. Nodding head received low percentage of 58% in both countries because it is a cultural communication. In Panama City, most of the students nod their head if they say something to their teacher or even in normal communication. For example, they say, "Si si" (nodding their head continuously). Even in Bangladesh students keep nodding their head if they have to agree upon something. In a way, it's a sign of respect. So, students did not feel that it motivated them enough in the classroom. One similar result showed that both countries do not like cold stares from their teacher because it is a demotivating factor resulting with a percentage of 60%.
Students are conscious of nonverbal communication within classroom and the role it plays in motivation. The survey combined questions on the retention of the lectures shows that students remember many aspects of nonverbal behavior by the teachers. The impact of teachers' nonverbal communication on majority of the students is very powerful. The teacher is like an artist who performs various colors in the classroom to attract the students. The most common result in this survey was that both cultures watch and learn from the teacher. The way a teacher, speaks, moves their hand while talking, walk in the classroom, smiles, jokes, presents their views are all assessed by the students of second language. The reason for this is that:
Students come to learn a new language, therefore are vulnerable and tends to learn from the behavior of the teacher
Students feel happy and relaxed when teachers are friendly
Students look at teacher as a role model in second language classrooms
Students feel motivated when teacher talk with them in a friendly tone
Students feel encouraged when the tone of the teachers voice is not dull
Students feel confident when the teacher makes eye-contact
Students remember those classes where teachers make an effort to come up with innovative idea to teach in classroom (movement of chair, table etc.)
Majority of the students in this study claim that they retain and remember the lectures of those teachers more whose nonverbal communication they like in the class. According to Krashen, he believed that language acquisition is blocked when the students are not at ease in the class due to negative nonverbal communication. Therefore, teachers in these two countries constantly need to remember that their nonverbal communication affects students. That is why, the factors mentioned above must be kept in mind when teaching a foreign language.
Based on the classroom observation, I have analyzed that teachers feel that their classrooms are a success when they interact with students casually.
An ex-teacher from North South University said that, "In second language classroom, materials are more accessible and learned if there is consciousness about student needs, which must come through nonverbally hence presenting enjoyment in learning. Further, in both the countries colonial pedagogy limits the center of attention for the students. For example, teacher thinks that they have inherited a powerful knowledge than students but that should not be the case since English is the second language for the students.
Therefore, consciousness needs to be present in teachers when they are interacting nonverbally because students are affected in one way on the other.
Nine Curt, a famous researcher, rightly said, "Paralanguage is not a frill but a must, which will greatly enrich our classrooms and increase our communicative competence. Teachers who are aware of paralanguage, of the multi-channeled nature of communication-kinesics, proxemics, and para-verbal features are better teachers. They will always try to increase their skills as directors of classroom behavior and will be better equipped to interpret student messages, which is especially significant when the students come from different cultural backgrounds; they will help their students become more culturally aware; and they will be able to facilitate the acquisition of L2 in their students and will enjoy more command" (Nine-Curt 1976).
So it can be safely said that the nonverbal communication in our classrooms is basically a language of motivation for students in Bangladesh and Panama City and its appropriate use not only motivates them to learn English language better but also makes it a friendly venture. On the other hand, the inappropriate use of nonverbal communication causes a threatening environment in the class and most of the students get depressed and fail in their examination. As a result many of them start despising English language and consequently never ever learn it properly. That is why the wrong use of nonverbal communication should be strictly prohibited in the class and our teachers should be properly trained in appropriate use of nonverbal communication.
(4.4) Culture plays an important role in nonverbal communication in classrooms
Galloway (1979) indicated he realized the full significance that nonverbal communication had for teachers and students. The forces of power, control, influence, motivation, self-esteem, and interpersonal understanding are connected to the interactions of nonverbal exchanges in the classroom. Nonverbal expressions provide a full measure of what we mean to communicate (p. 198). Sometimes culture plays a role in the way a teacher behaves through interaction in the classroom.
For example, in many Asian cultures, it's impolite to look someone in the eye for too long, especially a person you've just met or you consider to be in a superior position. However, in Western culture, not looking someone in the eye while addressing him/her can be considered rude or disrespectful.
When a student comes to class with very little English, nonverbal language is the primary tool for communication. "As we learn a language, we also learn the non-verbal conventions of that language-the meaning of a shrug, a pout, or a smile. Nonverbal language varies in meaning from culture to culture. This is important because "culture influences students' language skills and their learning of standard English, the language of education." (Cross-culturalâ€¦2001 pg.1)
In Panama City, hugging and giving a kiss on the cheek is normal to interact between a teacher and a student when greeting but in Bangladesh this is not a common behavior. This will be a sign of impoliteness. This is one difference in these two cultures. Because some nonverbal component of communication is culture-specific, effective communication in a second language requires knowledge of the body language typical of speakers of that language.
According to Dr. Pradeep Moonot, "Many times we tend to convey our feelings by smiling, patting, shouting, frowning or even by using different tones, gestures and facial expression to give a deeper meaning to our sentences. People communicate by the way they walk, stand and sit. Positive postures and movements are frequent indicators of self-confidence, energy, status, attitude, affective mood, approval and warmth". Accent, Intonation, Pitch, Speed of Delivery and Clarity are factors attributing to non-verbal communication (Galloway).
The saying, "A Picture is worth a thousand words", well describes the meaning of facial expressions which may be intentional or unintentional. However, the most dominant and reliable features of the face are the eyes and smile where the eyes provide a constant channel of communication. They can show confidence and attentiveness towards a student. Smiling is always taken positively in a classroom where the impression of friendliness, warmth and liking is shown.
Next, the importance of nonverbal communication is rightly explained by Nancy Austin, "When people don't know whether to believe what they are hearing or what they are seeing, they try to follow the nonverbal language which often tells the truth. You can play fast and get loose with words, but it's much more difficult to lose with gestures."
The variety of ways in which teachers walk, stand, or sit can all affect interpersonal perception. The teacher who slouches or twitches when talking to students is not likely to be perceived as a composed person. Conversely, the teacher who always appears unruffled regardless of the circumstances is likely to be perceived as cold and withdrawn. Body postures and movements are frequently indicators of self-confidence, energy, fatigue, or status. In the classroom, students keen to receive body message of enthusiasm or boredom about the subject matter being taught can sense confidence or frustration from the unconscious behaviors of teachers.
Therefore, factors like these needs to be monitored by the teacher in order to have a motivated interactive classroom. This study has also made this point clear that the nonverbal communication in the class acts as a language of relationship and this relationship motivates students. Teacher's attitudes can be inferred from the way a teacher looks at a student or ignores him/her, the way of his/her addressing, maintaining or avoiding eye contact, changes in pitch, tone and volume of his/her voice etc. Special positive cues may occur between a teacher and some of his/her students, implying favorable relationships, while the absence of such cues may be noted between the same teacher and all other students of the class. All such behaviors create great influence on the students because the desirable nonverbal cues express warmth, respect, concern, fairness, and a willingness to listen while the undesirable behavior of the teachers convey coolness, superiority, disinterest, and disrespect in the students which, of course, play great role in making the classroom atmosphere either a heaven or the opposite. A teacher who rolls her eyes at a student's question sends a louder message than her careful and expert verbal response. A disapproving stare can work wonders on a student who is off task. A bright smile for a student who is having a bad day means more than he will ever reveal. Gestures and animated facial expressions also give weight and enthusiasm to what a teacher has to say. Students who see a teacher actively engaged in what she/he is teaching will be much more engaged themselves.
Therefore, we can increase the study of nonverbal communication between teacher and student during interaction. Training should be provided in keeping in mind the importance of nonverbal communication for beginners in university.
At the end, the way a teacher communicates by interacting nonverbally motivates a learner and demotivates a learner. We, as Teacher of Speakers of Other Language and as a teacher must remember that we are like a reflection of a book for our students. In a book, every expression, tone, gesture, movement is transcribed into words and when a teacher speaks those words the same expression and emotion need to be present in order to convey the message. That is how second language teaching should be in Bangladesh and Panama City. Students have limited understanding of English and to bring motivation from within, a teacher must be like a guide who walks through the process of learning and teaching with positive nonverbal interaction.
Suggestions: "Teachers can be trained to be more immediate and, as a result, produce more positive student affect." (Galloway).
When a student presents in second language classroom, a teacher can do the following nonverbal behavior to interact that motivate students to do better:
Teacher's full attention is on the student
Teacher smiles when an idea appeals to him/her
Teacher encourage students by nodding their head
Teacher does not interrupt during the presentation
Teacher makes eye-contact for the duration of the presentation
When teachers want students to participate:
Teacher should initiate the topic and starts will simple vocabulary, so that students can participate in the conversation
Teacher raise their hand (not finger) to tell the student to participate
Teacher encourages by saying words like 'good point', or 'good observation but this analysis can be done forâ€¦.." even if a student makes mistake.
Among other implications, the study also stresses the need for training positive nonverbal use of communication in our teachers. And because some of the nonverbal behaviors can be learned, the teachers should be given:
Training to control and change their subtle nonverbal cues in the class whenever a need arises.
Teachers should also be trained to make conscious efforts to observe the nonverbal behaviors of their students and should check their own responses to such nonverbal cues.
Student's responses should be taken as an instrument of success and new techniques should be introduced to enhance teachers' nonverbal communication in the classroom.
Students become more active if the teacher keep movements in the classroom and make frequent eye contact with them.
Provided this is done satisfactorily, training in specific skills not only increases the use of the specific skills, but can also increase related specific or general skills. For example, training in the specific skills of voice delivery, eye contact and gestures leads to a general increase in warmth, interest, activity and assurance.
Teachers increase in skill could lead to measurable improvements in students' performance, such as an increase in correct answers or other measures of achievement.
Lastly, an Effective Teacher in Second/Foreign Language using Nonverbal communication according to Theorists of Second Language:
Any teacher can become an effective teacher if second language if individual possesses certain characteristics, qualities and skills, or is willing to acquire them. Based on the research, I believe the following elements can make a teacher a motivating factor:
Be committed to the teaching profession
Successful planning, communication and performing represents achievement in students
Possess high efficacy in quality of voice
Listen to the students
Exhibit control and calmness
Using voice inflection for emphasis and reassurance
Establishing good eye contact when communicating
Invading their personal space when appropriate
Gesturing to students through smile or nodding head
As Miller said, "teachers need to be aware of non-verbal behaviors in the classroom:
to become more proficient at receiving students' messages and
to acquire the ability to send accurate messages
Richmond and McCroskey (1995) believe that, "The primary function of teachers' nonverbal behaviors through interaction in the classroom is:
To improve affect or liking for the subject matter
Teacher and class desires to learn more about the subject matter.
Teacher improves affect through effective non-verbal behavior
Students are likely to listen more, learn more, and have a positive attitude towards second language.