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The curious case of bodies in the classroom

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Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University

Room 12/05/08, Charles Street Building

Charles Street

Sheffield, S1 2NH

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Have you ever wondered about bodies in communication? About why people gesture? Or how you can communicate so much in just a glance? Or how a touch can seem reassuring in one situation and threatening in another? This lecture explores bodies in classrooms. It considers the ways in which learners use posture, gesture, touch, facial expression, gaze and spoken language in classroom interaction. Frequently these ways of communication are side-lined as 'non-verbal' or 'body language'. Instead we focus on the body as the most important resource for learners. We share examples of children and young people using gesture, posture and gaze from our studies of early years' learners, mainstream primary and secondary settings, and learners with autism. We will show examples of the ways in which children learn together, and their expression of emotions and identity through their bodies. In an age where learners are measured through assessments and targets, we argue for appreciating these uncountable yet very important aspects to classroom learning. We show how understanding how we communicate not just through words but also through our whole bodies is vital to recognising children's sense of worth and engagement in their learning.

The session is aimed at parents and carers, and educators.

Presenters are Karen Daniels, Lauren Doak and Dr Roberta Taylor.

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Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University

Room 12/05/08, Charles Street Building

Charles Street

Sheffield, S1 2NH

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