At present, almost everyone knows that language learning, especially English learning, becomes more and more important to the students. Students often learn English through the classroom teaching, namely teachers’ education. Due to the disadvantages of traditional English teaching, teachers need to reform the teaching methods to arouse the students’ interest in English and help them to learn better. There are many useful and proper methods to get the goal and one of them is using body language.
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What is body language? Body language or nonverbal communication is a communication without words. It refers to patterns of facial expressions gestures that people use to express their feeling in communication. In school education, body language plays a positive role in cultivating the students’ characters for teachers are usually imitated by the students. In a word teachers’ graceful and lively body language helps to improve students’ artistic appreciation and moral character and it is necessary and important for the teachers to use the proper, vivid, dramatic and even exaggerated movements to teach the abstract knowledge. Thus the students will improve a lot from teaching. As a result, the students’ interest and the effect of teaching are greatly improved. So it is necessary to use body language in teaching.
English teaching is a key part of the school education. Generally, traditional English teaching considers teachers as a center, book learning as a standard and examination handling as the only goal. Thus the study interest and desire of the students are greatly depressed. Therefore, we must make and carry out reforms in education. We need reforms. With the English teaching methods reform, more and more teachers pay much attention to the importance of using body language in school teaching. And according to the students’ present level and practical situation, body language is also required. The use of body language is a useful method in English teaching. In the classes, if teachers use it properly the students’ attention can be attracted and the teaching quality can be improved. The use of gestures and facial expressions of teachers in the teaching process is important they will help teachers express their own ideas and thoughts accurately and lively. According to the students, the use of body language will help them keep firmly in mind the knowledge obtained in class. Body language contains facial expressions, eyesight, movements, and so on and even cloth.
Facial expressions-in the teaching process, teachers provide the students with messages through their own facial expressions. In the process of class exchange, teachers express their affection; optimism and deep confidence to the students. The students will feel warm and become active. The facial expressions of teachers in English teaching should change along with the changing of class contents and teaching circumstances. Also teachers’ delight, anger, sorrow and joy should appear in at the right moment, infect the students to make them have the feeling of delight and sorrow at the same time. They can’t take their own passive morals into the classrooms.
Eyesight- eyes are the windows of heart. Through the window, teachers transmit information which can’t be expressed by verbal language to the students. An excellent teacher should have a pair of eyes which can speak. S/he should be good at using eyes to transmit messages, exchange feelings, express attitudes and carry on teaching. If a teacher stared angrily at the students who didn’t concentrate his attention nor did some petty actions in classes, the students would restrain himself consciously. When a student didn’t answer a question for a long time because of his shame of making mistakes, an encouraging eyesight from his teacher would make him become more confident than before.
Movements– the main movement is gestures. Gestures are the most important part of body language. The English teaching in classes focuses on communication activities. Dull and dry communication will make students produce detestable feeling but lively, vivid, even exaggerated actions and gestures can enliven the teaching circumstances, making the activities go off without a hitch. If the teacher gives a ball’s shape through his hands, then performs the action of shooting a basket when teaching the word ‘basketball’, all of the students can guess the meaning of it. When the teacher teaches the verb, it will be more accurate to do a simple gesture o the students than teachers’ repeated explanation. And the students can remember it with a deep impression. Patting up one’s thumb expresses “Ok” and “Great”. And nodding shows “Yes” and shaking one’s hand shows “No”. These are all in common use.
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According to school students, distinctive figures will greatly influence their thoughts. Therefore, the use of body language in schools teaching is helpful in students’ understanding and memory. Then with the limitation of the use of mother language, the students will be studying in a good environment. The use of lively and vivid body language in English teaching can fully arouse the students’ study interest and joining enthusiasm. More importantly, the whole teaching process will become the communication activities of language in the scenes with the true teaching contents. At the same time, when the students suffer setbacks and become disappointed, when the students make mistakes because they are self-willed and troublesome, when the students lack confidence in themselves because of their sense of inferiority and timid, and when they make progress through their hardworking, if teachers can use different body language properly or use their eyesight to give some hints to them, or use movements to assist and establish a special emotion and atmosphere to go on an exchange from heart to heart, then the students will appreciate it. At that time, they will achieve the best teaching effect in classes.
From all the above, we find that body language plays a positive role in the English teaching. Body language has strong characteristics in images and informative functions. It can make the abstract things become specific. In brief, English subjects are not like other subjects. English subjects have not an atmosphere, so teachers’ teachers should do their best to reduce their use of Chinese (local/mother tongue) in classes. Then body language will become the main medium through which teachers and students communication with each other. The influences of teachers’ body language on the students are reflected not only by establishing a good example, but also by shortening the teacher-student estrangement by which a more harmonious studying atmosphere is created. In the English teaching, body language needs to be used frequently so as to improve the teaching effect and the students’ ability.
In conclusion, practice makes perfect. Learning English needs practice. The 45 minutes in class is very precious and should be cherished during which the students should practice as much as possible. To make the full use of the limited time, teachers are required to adopt some effective methods. At the same time, the recent educational reforms, the students’ present level and the practical situation like their limitation of vocabulary requires teachers to simplify their teaching language with the help of facial expressions, eyesight, body movements, namely body language. The use of body language can not only attract the students’ attention, but also deepen their impression and imagination. The use of body language is completely up to the standard of audio-visual teaching principle, so teachers should try to teach in English from the beginning to the end, together with the corresponding body language. Therefore, we should realize the necessity and importance of using proper and vivid body language in teaching English. So teachers should use body language in school English teaching and try their best to use it in classes. In the end, the students’ ability of English will be certainly and greatly improved.
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