Body language: Simple teaching hack that will keep students engaged

Cultures and the attitudes of students differ depending on whether you’re teaching in the UK or you’re teaching abroad, but one thing a teacher will always have to be is engaging. When it comes to keeping your students engaged, there are a wealth of tips out there from keeping time focused to utilising technology such as tablets and smartphones, but you could be overlooking a relatively simple one: body language.

You may be surprised at how little tweaks to the way you hold yourself while talking can have a positive impact on increasing engagement. When it comes to body language, it’s important to make the most of your palms, which can be especially useful if you direct them at the people you are addressing. Keeping your hands open with your palms faced down will help you get across to your students that you are confident, and confidence can go a long way when it comes to ensuring you are engaging. Here are some more quick palm tips that you may want to employ in your next lesson…

Hands open with palms held at an angle of 45 degrees

This is said to communicate to your class that you are being both honest and open, you could try using this if you want to encourage a discussion among your students about a particular topic.

Palms facing each other with your fingers together

This is said to indicate that you know what you are talking about, in other words, people sometimes use it to show that they have special expertise on a topic. So if you want your students to pay extra attention to a certain aspect of the lesson, it may be worth seeing if you benefit from placing your palms a few inches apart facing each other with your fingers together.

Large hand gestures

These gestures, which are usually bigger than the outline of your body are generally used to communicate a concept. They can be particularly good if you’re telling the story of an inventor or scientist who came up with a revolutionary product or theory. While it’s a good idea to use larger hand gestures from time to time, body language experts state that if you use them too often, it can make you seem as if you are out of control, and that’s something you definitely don’t want to communicate to your students.

Grasped hands

This is one you may want to avoid, by grasping your hands in front of you, it is supposed to communicate to your students that you are nervous or unsure. Although the occasional lesson can be nerve wracking, if you can avoid grasped hands, touching your face along with your hair, neck and hiding your hands altogether, your students may not pick up on your nerves at all.

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