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Foreign students and class behaviour
Thread poster: Yolanda Morato
Yolanda Morato  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:06
English
+ ...
Jul 27, 2006

Hello all,

How many times have we judged our foreign students' behaviour without knowing the meaning of those gestures in their cultures?

Yawning in public is terribly regarded in Spain, the same goes for stretching, but other cultures see it as a natural thing to do.

I am compiling a list of non-verbal acts that have different meanings according to cultures and countries. Can you help me?
I appreciate any comments, stories and anecdotes you can contribute. All countries welcome.

Thank you very much!

Yolanda


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 03:06
German to English
Body language Jul 27, 2006

Yolanda Morato wrote:

How many times have we judged our foreign students' behaviour without knowing the meaning of those gestures in their cultures?

Yawning in public is terribly regarded in Spain, the same goes for stretching, but other cultures see it as a natural thing to do.

I am compiling a list of non-verbal acts that have different meanings according to cultures and countries. Can you help me?

Yolanda


Hi Yolanda - fascinating topic! I used to teach a course in cross-cultural communication. Body language and gestures were an important part of the course. Here's something to get things started.

http://www.csupomona.edu/~tassi/gestures.htm



[Edited at 2006-07-27 16:18]


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Yolanda Morato  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:06
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Your link is great! Jul 27, 2006

Thank you very much! Some of them are well known by many of us, but this page contains a whole body of information and they are a nice ensemble indeed!

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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 04:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
Manwatching ... Jul 27, 2006

This book, by well-known UK zoologist and broadcaster Desmond Morris, is an excellent primer on body language and related topics:

Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior
ISBN: 0810921847

[Edited at 2006-07-27 17:06]


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PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 10:06
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
I don't know if this counts Jul 28, 2006

In Denmark, most people learn to raise their hand in class if they want to answer the teacher's question, or if they want to ask a question themselves.

Therefore, I - and many of most of my class mates - was terribly offended when it turned out that one person in the class did not do this ... simply as a general rule.
I think this person was from Finland, but I have no idea if Fins do things this way, or if this person was simply a "special case".

In this case I guess you could say that the lack of a non-verbal gesture made a big fuzz.

Very fascinating studying behaviour.


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Daniela Zambrini  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:06
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Body Language in Japanese EFL classroom Jul 30, 2006

This article on Japanese body language sounds interesting, especially as it is related to teaching.

http://lov-e.com/RLSArticlesfolder/JBL1.html

JAPANESE BODY LANGUAGE;
Non-Verbal Communication in the Classroom
by Robert L. Seltman

Originally submitted to the School for International Training, Brattleboro, Vermont. Nov.1991


ABSTRACT


This paper is a guide to the use of body language in the Japanese EFL classroom. It includes a brief introduction to the use of the hands, the face and the body for non-verbal Japanese communication, and suggests interpretations for many of the more common gestures and signs. Included are various uses of silence by the Japanese student, to assist the non-Japanese teacher in understanding the cultural subtleties behind student behavior.

TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER 1 - THE USE OF THE HANDS
Hand Signs
CHAPTER 2 - THE USE OF THE FACE
Facial Expressions
CHAPTER 3 - THE USE OF BODY POSTURE AND GESTURE
Body Gestures
CHAPTER 4 - THE USE OF SILENCE
Surprised Silence
Silence as an Expression of Agreement or Disagreement
Silence as an Expression of Femininity
Silence as an Expression of Defiance
Silence in Mixed Classes
Silence as Passive Resistance
CHAPTER 6- CONCLUSION
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ciao, DZ


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Ben Gaia MA
New Zealand
Local time: 20:06
French to English
Polynesians and direct gaze Aug 11, 2006

This is a very useful topic and I look forward to more on it.

Just a comment on teachers in NZ responding to the lack of eye contact from Maori and Polynesian students. Teachers are now carefully trained in cross cultural communication here. Many Maori people, also Polynesians and others, see a direct stare as confrontational and rude, and they will answer a question without looking the teacher in the eye. This was considered rude by European teachers but in fact the students were trying not to be rude. Of course the same applies in reverse, a direct stare can be too challenging for a Maori student to feel comfortable with it.


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