Classroom Activity Ideas

IDevice Icon An Activity for the Classroom

While NVC is clearly important for teachers, understanding it is also important for students as a key part of their social-emotional intelligence development. If you are interested in exploring the topic of Nonverbal Communication with your class, the following exercise on body language awareness would be a good start:

Communication Skills
Nonverbal Communication


The student will:

• Observe body language and
how important it is to sending
and receiving messages

• Practice matching body language
with the intended communication.

Copyright the Ohio Department of Education
and the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution
and Conflict Management ©2002. All rights


10 index cards labeled with the words
pictured to your right>>



1. Introduce the concept of body language through a demonstration that sends the class a "mixed message." For example, storm into the room, slam a book down on your desk, stand with your arms crossed, frown, stamp your foot and say, "Today will be a great day; we will do some really interesting and fun things today."

Then ask the class how they felt about the words you were saying. Did they believe them? Were they comfortable with them? Why not? How else were you Communicating? Which was more believable?

2. Discuss the concept of body language with the class. (We all communicate on two levels: in verbal and non-verbal ways. Feelings are often communicated through body language).

3. Ask for volunteers to demonstrate, through body language, the words (feelings) written on index cards; have the class identify the feelings being demonstrated.



Words for the cards are listed below:

• Scared • Hurt • Worried • Snobby • Excited • Guilty
• Bored • Sad • Irritated • Angry

Reprinted with permission from Resolving Conflict Through Mediation. Aetna Life Insurance Company
*Source: Adapted from Project Response and Conflict Management training Guide
©2002 ODE/OCDRCM Nonverbal Communication H-34

IDevice Icon More Nonverbal Communication Activities!

Back in 1995 the 4-H and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign collaborated to produce a nice collection of activities to help explore the various dimensions of Nonverbal Communication with young people. A scanned version is available at no cost from ERIC. While the quality of the scanned copy leaves a bit to be desired, the included activities are great. The document is entitled Dimensions of Nonverbal Communication. Here's the description:

After a brief description of the dimensions of nonverbal communication, this booklet presents 21 activities that deal with nonverbal communication. Activities in the booklet involve body movements (kinesics), facial expressions, eye movements, perception and use of space (proxemics), haptics (touch), paralinguistics (vocal elements that accompany speech), clothing, and self-image.

Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License

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