Teacher Tip – How Non-Verbal Communication Can Streamline Your Class
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Non-verbal communication

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to teach your class and getting constant interruptions. It’s important to encourage your students to ask questions but too many interruptions can disrupt the flow of the class and hinder the learning of others.

Often when a student raises their hand it is to ask something irrelevant to the subject such as, ‘Can I please use the bathroom?’. Too frequently a student will ask to go to the bathroom and six more children will ask also.  I have a strict policy that only one student may leave the room at a time, but this leads to six additional interruptions.

To avoid these constant disruptions, we came up with a non-verbal way for the students to communicate their needs. Dependent on how many fingers they are holding up, I know what it is that they need. In the image across you can see what each number means in our classroom.

By holding up a certain number of fingers, younger students are also encouraged to practice counting. However, a range of hand gestures can be used for different requests.

Using hand gestures allows me to assess the students’ needs and respond to them quickly and with minimal disruption to other children. Try it with your students and let us know if it’s effective!

You can download this image graphic for use in your own classroom on our TpT Store here.

Rebecca is the founder and chief executive officer of Silly Fish Learning Ltd. She is a children's playwright with a vast and varied career in education, primarily teaching drama and English.

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