Use of body language includes observing pupils' posture, gestures, mannerisms, facial expressions, speech and tone, in order to establish their emotional state and help build trust and rapport.
Teachers are aware of this important fact that students can read us. We need to listen to our students body language as well.
Use of body language in classroom management:
Use more eye contact, smile more often, stand up straight, allow your students their personal space, and use the persuasive power of touch.
Eye Contact – Eye contact is perhaps the most powerful way we communicate. A single fleeting look from across the classroom can speak volumes. Longer eye contact is associated with trust, good feelings, and rapport—all of which are important leveraging qualities. Be aware, however, that too much eye contact can be intimidating, especially for shy students. So although we want to utilize the power of eye contact and should use it often, we shouldn’t over do it.
Facial Expressions – Smile. A smile makes communication easier, less awkward, and more persuasive. It’s also a mood-changer and will evoke warm and happy feelings in both the giver and the recipient. So let your guard down and smile away.
Posture – A sagging posture displays a lack of confidence and is associated with weak leadership. To students, it says that you’re unsure of yourself. They won’t listen to or trust someone who appears wishy-washy. Walking tall, with your body erect and shoulders straight, engenders confidence in you as a leader. You then become more believable, and students are more apt to accept what you say. The difference between telling a student to go to time-out with a tall comportment versus saying it with a sagging, defeated posture is night and day.
Proximity – Some classroom management “experts” recommend standing close to difficult students during lessons. But moving into someone’s personal space without permission is a show of dominance. It’s aggressive and antagonistic and is universally perceived as a threat. And although it may dissuade unwanted behavior during the brief moment you’re standing there, doing so will give you less leverage and influence in the long run, resulting in more disruptive behavior. Allow students their personal space. They’ll appreciate and respect you for it.
Touch – A brief tap on the shoulder or arm of a student you’re speaking with can elicit a subconscious response that makes you more persuasive. I know it sounds manipulative, but in reality, all it does is help build rapport. It’s a natural thing to do when speaking to someone in a friendly manner. It says: “Hey, I like you, and I want what’s best for you.”
More links and studies:
* 'Teaching non verbal communication
* Teachers get lessons in body language