tradecraft…non-verbals (part I)

when you have a connection to a group of kids and have solid relationships with them…sometimes all it takes is “a look” to convey what you want to communicate…

you know what i’m talking about, when you were a kid there were times (if you think back) when your mom, dad, teacher, or coach…gave you the look…

the look could convey a couple of serious messages such as…

don’t do what you’re about to do, son…

don’t do what you just did (again), son…

don’t even think about it!

implied in the look, was the “or else” response…that was coming…the consequence, the punishment of “failing to comply with message sent in the look“–it was “understood” because there was history there (most likely)…where you disobeyed an adult who gave you the look before…and, you remember when they dropped the hammer on you…

nowadays, i use the look in my classroom for the same reasons…to send a message…without words…because sometimes the look is more powerful than words…sometimes a look says it all…

i also educate the kids in my classes about a particular non-verbal that they might see from me…by telling them…

you should be concerned when i’m not smilingconcerned about what you’ve done, or about what you might do…and, about what might happen because of it…me, not smiling, is a warning sign to you…

this works for me because i’m typically a jovial guy, smiling and laughing…it’s hardwired into my nature…for good or for ill…so, when i’m not smiling, when that’s not happening…something’s up

awareness and proper use of non-verbals can be a really important skill to have in your tool box and a really effective means to communicate with young people–to remind them of expectations and boundaries…whether a parent, teacher, coach, youth worker, juvenile justice worker, etc…non-verbals can have a great impact on how situations and events play out…other important non-verbals besides the look are…posture, proximity (person-to-person), arm/hand/finger positioning, active listening, etc…

so, how do you…shout it out loud and speak volumes, without uttering a word?

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