IMPORTANCE AND IMPLICATIONS OF NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION IN GENERAL ENGLISH FOUR-SKILLS COURSES
Universidad Veracruzana (MEXICO)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:General English Four-skills courses are usually intended to help learners achieve a satisfactory level of language proficiency by focusing on speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. However, the extent to which students who attend this kind of courses are being well prepared to communicate satisfactorily in real contexts seems not to be effective enough. It appears little if no attention is usually paid to aspects of non-verbal communication in English as a complement of spoken language and as a must to avoid future cross-cultural misunderstandings. In contrast to non-verbal communication, verbal communication commonly takes priority in general English four-skills courses. This paper is aimed at discussing the importance and implications of incorporating the teaching of non-verbal communication in these kinds of courses for Mexican Spanish speakers so as to raise learners’ awareness of non-verbal communication issues and prepare them for more natural and effective communication. In order to carry out a well informed discussion on this issue, the nature and main characteristics of non-verbal communication as well as its significance and current role in EFL (English Foreign Language) learning will be first established. Secondly, a specific comparison of common patterns of non-verbal behavior of Mexican Spanish speakers, American and British English speakers will take place so as to decide on the non-verbal contents a general English four-skills course may comprise. Thirdly, a suggested teaching approach, methodology, activities, materials and the teacher’s role in teaching non-verbal cues will be stated. Finally, the implications of teaching non-verbal communication issues in general English four-skills courses for Mexican Spanish speakers and the general conclusions on this discussion will be annotated.
Keywords: Non-verbal communication, verbal communication, suggested teaching approach.