Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Thinking About Body Language and Instructional Coaching

On Tuesdays, the writing community at Two Writing Teachers hosts the Slice of Life. Everyone is welcome to join in by writing, commenting, or just reading slices from around the world! 

Throughout the fall, I attended a series of three workshops on instructional coaching. Today was our final session, and one of the topics we studied today had to do with body language. Our presenter is a fabulous facilitator, and she began the discussion with a Tedtalk by Amy Cuddy about how your body language shapes who you are. If you haven't seen this one, I highly recommend it. While power poses may not be the ones we want to reach for during coaching conversations, it was interesting to think about how we use (or don't use) body language.

We went on to watch videos of ourselves having conversations with teachers, but watching the videos with no sound, just watching with the lens of the body language. It was really interesting to think about how we use body language as a tool. I watched myself lean forward, cross my legs, tap my fingers, use my hands for expression? What does it all mean? Maybe not too much, but maybe more than we realize. I don't know that I can change all that I do with my body language, but it does help to think of this as another tool that we have as coaches and facilitators of learning regardless of who we are learning with.

Jessica Kazigian, our facilitator, also shared an on-line article about 10 key concepts about body language. It's an easy read, and I recommend keeping it in your coaching toolkit. :)

Happy Slicing!


  1. Thanks for sharing the TEDtalk and the article links. Just today the counselor at school did a fun lesson with my students on using their body language to solve conflicts. The could use body moments and tone of voice. But the only words they could say were "Blah, blah, blah..." I wish I would have filmed it. It was so facinating to watch them have heated discourse and then suddenly shake hands. And it wasn't the words...it was their body language!!! So good to be aware!!

  2. Thanks for the TED talk - this is new to me, and it just makes so much sense! Years ago, when I was starting out in teaching, I used to record myself teaching - I learned that we teach as much with the way we move and use our voice and body language as we do with content and curriculum.

  3. When I was doing my videos for National Boards, I found that I am very much a hand talker. Body language is important to think about. It sets the tone for our teaching. I'll come back to the Ted talk. Thanks for posting it.

  4. By far, one of the most interesting classes I took (as a communication major) in college was on nonverbal behavior. If I remember correctly, 90% of our message is communicated nonverbally. It's very hard to hide how we really feel if people pay attention to our nonverbal communication!

    I will watch the TED talk another time. I'm interested, but it's time for bed.