Nonverbal communication in tutoring


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Nonverbal communication in tutoring

  1. 1. Nonverbal Communication in Tutoring Communication Skills Center Quinsigamond Community College Tutor Training 2013 Copyright © 2013
  2. 2. Using Nonverbal Communication in a Tutoring Session • In tutoring it is important to engage the student not only with verbal communication but nonverbal as well. • As a tutor, your body language, posture, and eye contact can convey just as much as your words to the student. • Giving positive nonverbal cues sends a message to the student that you are engaged in the session, and they should be as well.
  3. 3. Using Nonverbal Communication: The Positive and the Negative CSC Productions, Inc. Proudly Presents:
  4. 4. Starring Maggie Nicholson as The Ambivalent Tutor
  5. 5. and Jenna Parker as The Apprehensive Student
  6. 6. In the college writing center, tutoring sessions are made up of two distinct individuals: the students who come in for assistance, and the tutors who assist them. Tutoring sessions that involve negative nonverbal communication are considered especially heinous. This is one such story. What you are about to see depicts both the right and the wrong forms of nonverbal communication between a tutor and a student. Parental discretion is advised.
  7. 7. The following scenario took place on a Friday between 1pm and 2pm. The exact date and times have been removed to protect the rights of all individuals involved. The incident took place between a Communication Skills Center tutor and a Quinsigamond Community College student. It has been documented for your viewing.
  8. 8. Jenna is hovering in the doorway to the center, clearly unsure of where to go or what to do. Maggie is not acknowledging her at all, disinterested and more engaged in her phone than in helping Jenna.
  9. 9. Jenna is visibly engaged and comfortable after being welcomed by Maggie. Here, Maggie is friendly and welcoming, engaging Jenna with a smile.
  10. 10. Even when Jenna approaches this side of the desk with a quick question, she expects to be welcomed by Maggie. Maggie, however, is more interested in her book than Jenna. Her foot is up on the cabinet, and her back is turned, displaying negative nonverbal communication.
  11. 11. Now that Maggie demonstrates that she’s interested in Jenna’s question, Jenna becomes engaged in Maggie’s answer, leaning forward just as Maggie does.Maggie can welcome Jenna and show interest by leaning forward and focusing on the material or question that Jenna has.
  12. 12. Maggie’s gesture here instructing what Jenna needs to do next after signing in isn’t helpful at all to Jenna. Jenna is unsure if she’s getting the right form, and is clearly confused by Maggie’s vague pointing.
  13. 13. Here, Maggie instead goes through each part of the form with Jenna, holding the form directly in front of both of them and gesturing to it to ensure that Jenna understands what to fill out. Jenna is more engaged here by Maggie’s friendly explanation.
  14. 14. Once Jenna has her form filled out and goes to the tutoring desk, she expects to be greeted by welcoming tutors. Instead, these tutors are more engaged in their own work than in Jenna, avoiding eye contact with her.
  15. 15. When the tutors are smiling and looking directly at Jenna, she is clearly more comfortable explaining what she needs help with.
  16. 16. As Jenna is filling out the tutoring form, Maggie demonstrates that she’s disengaged from the session from the start, distancing her chair from Jenna’s, avoiding eye contact, and looking down at her phone. Maggie’s initial nonverbal communication makes Jenna feel apprehensive about beginning their tutoring session.
  17. 17. As Jenna is filling the form out, Maggie should be directly engaged, as she is here. She is looking directly at the paper, making eye contact with Jenna at times, and making sure Jenna feels comfortable from the start. Jenna responds to Maggie’s nonverbal cues by seeming much more comfortable and willing to discuss her questions.
  18. 18. As Jenna explains her assignment and begins to read her paper, Maggie is listening, but her nonverbal cues may show Jenna that she is disinterested. She leans back away from the table, placing an invisible barrier between her and Jenna. Seeing this, Jenna becomes more concerned with Maggie’s lack of interest, and leans forward closer to her paper, placing her arm on the paper and shielding it from Maggie’s view.
  19. 19. Instead, as Jenna begins to explain her assignment and read her paper aloud, Maggie should be sitting straight as she is here, visibly focused on the paper and actively listening to what Jenna is saying. Jenna now feels more comfortable to begin to discuss her paper with Maggie. She shows this by placing the paper so it is visible to both of them and making direct eye contact with Maggie.
  20. 20. As Jenna continues to read her paper aloud, she comes to a sentence she would like to discuss further with Maggie. Leaning back and crossing her arms, Maggie mistakenly places all authority on Jenna to initiate the conversation. Jenna simply wants to engage Maggie in the paper as she is reading, and she expects Maggie to demonstrate patience with her and to respond to her when she is finished reading.
  21. 21. Instead, when Jenna believes her part in the session is finished when she is done reading her paper, Maggie here leans forward and gestures warmly to show that she was actively listening and is ready to start their conversation. Jenna’s initial apprehension is visible by her posture: she is leaned back away from both Maggie and her paper, and her arms are crossed.
  22. 22. Here, neither one of them wants to initiate the conversation. Maggie is leaned far away from the paper. Jenna is leaned away from the paper as well; she is waiting for Maggie to speak first.
  23. 23. Maggie displays positive nonverbal communication here by initiating the discussion through positive gestures and facial expressions. Taking note of Maggie’s nonverbal cues, Jenna is actively listening as they begin their conversation.
  24. 24. As the session continues, Maggie demonstrates her disinterest by resting her head on her arm. Jenna sees that as a clear sign that Maggie is bored. Maggie also has her pencil in her hand, telling Jenna that she is correcting her mistakes rather than guiding her. Jenna leans back when she sees Maggie do this, signaling that she is becoming less interested in the paper and the session.
  25. 25. To remain engaged in the session, Maggie should be watching as Jenna makes her own corrections. She should have nothing in her hands, and should shift her eye contact between both Jenna and the paper. Jenna is more engaged here as Maggie shift authority to her; she feels comfortable to make changes on her own paper with Maggie’s guidance.
  26. 26. As the tutoring session ends, Maggie ends their conversation abruptly by getting up and beginning to walk away. Jenna clearly has more questions for Maggie, but it is difficult to approach her when she has her back turned.
  27. 27. Instead of ending the session abruptly, here Maggie allows the session to come to a close naturally. She responds to Jenna’s cues and begins to end the session by leaning back slightly and gesturing as they are speaking. Jenna signals that her questions have been answered and she is satisfied with what she and Maggie have discussed by beginning to get up from her chair.
  28. 28. As Maggie and Jenna say goodbye, Maggie here remains more interested in the form than in speaking with Jenna to make sure she is comfortable with how the session went. Maggie’s nonverbal cues leave Jenna without any closure to the session, and she is still visibly confused as she leaves.
  29. 29. Using positive nonverbal communication, Maggie ends the session by standing with Jenna before Jenna leaves, speaking with her and smiling to ensure that Jenna feels comfortable with leaving. She might also encourage Jenna to return with another draft or her next paper. Jenna is clearly satisfied with her session, as she mirrors Maggie’s facial expression. Her posture and her reaction to Maggie signal that she is happy with what they’ve discussed, and will most likely be back to see Maggie again for future assignments.
  30. 30. From the start of your tutoring session to the end, tutors and students convey nonverbal communication towards one another. As tutors, our role is not only to be aware of what our body language, posture, and eye contact are conveying to the student, but also to be aware of what the student’s nonverbal communication is conveying to us. Nonverbal Cues: Conveying the Positive
  31. 31. Cast and Crew Cast The Ambivalent Tutor Maggie Nicholson The Apprehensive Student Jenna Parker Crew Screenplay Maggie Nicholson Jenna Parker Nicole Dellasanta