Multicultural Messages: Nonverbal Communication in the Classroom.Report as inadecuate

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In the drive to facilitate inclusion in the classroom, one often overlooked factor that affects the environment of all classrooms is nonverbal interaction. This study was conducted to identify some specific nonverbal messages that are often culturally bound; to help educators and others involved in education understand nonverbal signals and avoid inadvertently sending negative messages; and to validate the voice of diverse populations in the classroom. Individuals (N=22) from several cultures (European American, African American, Native American, Asian American, and Hispanic American), who reside in an urban area in Minnesota, were either interviewed or asked to respond to a questionnaire. Results are presented as a synthesis of culturally specific nonverbal behaviors gathered from respondents with respect to: eye contact, personal space, touch, voice, use of gestures, facial expressions, engaging behaviors, symbols, time, directness, educational attitudes, economics, and the function of language. Based on this information, it was concluded that successful integration of knowledge about nonverbal messages is a key component in the initial stages of multicultural education. (Contains 15 references.) (LL)

Descriptors: American Indians, Asian Americans, Attitudes, Behavior, Blacks, Body Language, Classroom Communication, Cross Cultural Training, Cultural Awareness, Cultural Differences, Diversity (Student), Elementary Secondary Education, Ethnic Origins, Eye Contact, Facial Expressions, Higher Education, Hispanic Americans, Intercultural Communication, Multicultural Education, Nonverbal Communication, Personal Space, Preservice Teacher Education

Author: Pitton, Debra; And Others


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