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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Non-Verbal Communication - the experts

A positive note that has occurred to me whilst writing this blog, as a parent if we learn to use more visual language and understand non-verbal communication, it will open up a whole new level of communication for you with everyone not just your child. After all it has often been quoted that communication is mainly non-verbal and children with language problems are often expert in that!

Some ideas for non-verbal communication :

Visuals - children with language disorders are often more visually literate, so pictures, drawings and visual stimulus are a great start.

An exercise to try : Info gap....
In ESOL classes we often use this as an exercise to encourage communication. Have a picture that one person can't see - you describe it and the other person draws it. Have to use 'left/right' 'above/below' and colours, as well as describing the picture itself. This can be lots of fun but keep the picture simple!

Splingo! app builds key words memory and following instructions by building a rocket with objects after completing key word instructions. Splingo description/ Apps are a great way to let a child follow their own path when learning.

Gestures - drama is a great way to try out non-verbal communication. Drama teachers often use 'tableau' or 'freeze frames' to tell a story or make a group picture. This can be used alongside 'musical statues' or simple 'charades' to include children with language difficulties in groups.

An example game from 'In the manner of the word' - everyone in the group trying out an action, the group leader or a child within the group shouts a present continuous verb e.g. 'swimming' and everyone acts out that word - can reinforce some words that get mixed up.

I'm currently looking at other ways of learning language, as an ESOL (English as a Second Language) teacher I often used drama techniques in teaching adults as many of my students had very low levels of literacy. This is a great way of attracting children as it's fun and inclusive. I'm going to look at learning through stories in my storytelling work and post some more on what drama and story exercises might be useful.

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