Teachers’ Verbal and Nonverbal Communication Strategies in High School Mathematics

Keywords : Verbal communication strategies, nonverbal communication strategies, cognitive strategies, metacognitive strategies, students’ achievement.


The study was conducted to determine teachers' verbal and nonverbal communication strategies in teaching Mathematics. It investigated the cognitive and metacognitive strategies used by mathematics teachers, most likely in the initiation, developmental, evaluation, and closure phases. The levels of teachers' nonverbal communication strategies were also examined using a questionnaire adapted from Barrido (1992). Lastly, the concern was on determining the relationship between the teachers' nonverbal communication strategies and the student's achievement in terms of the grade achieved for the grading period.
The study was descriptive research making use of the classroom discourse analysis. Purposive sampling was utilized to select the mathematics teachers with 50 students. The study data were obtained using a video camera, tape recorder, observation notebook, and series of audio-visual recordings and observation of classroom interaction between teachers and students. Every classroom setting was labeled with date, time and year level. Every teacher-participants was assigned a code name. Experts validated the teacher participants' ability to use nonverbal language. The analysis of data involved using statistical tools such as frequency count, mean, standard deviation, Pearson product moment correlation and multiple regression. The system and categorization of analysis was based on Sinclair and Coulthard 1975.
The study revealed that teachers' verbal cognitive-communication strategies utilized were informing, eliciting, marking, and concluding, and the verbal strategies executed were proximity, oculesics, and facial expressions. On the other hand, metacognitive strategies utilized by the teachers included directing, checking, marking, accepting, nominating, evaluating, and bidding goodbye. The nonverbal cues were making the sign of the cross, arms crossing, fixing the things on the table, bowing of the head, standing, moving the eyes from left to right, head nodding, eye contact, eyebrow-raising, smiling, head-tilt-side, lip compressing, eyebrow lowering, hands at the back, pitch high, gaze avoidance and keeping of things.
The different phases of the lesson required various verbal and nonverbal communication strategies. In the initiation phase, the verbal and nonverbal strategies commonly employed were directing, checking, and marking. The nonverbal cues were: raising the brow, smiling, standing, head bowing, gazing down, making the sign of the cross, hands down power grip, widening of the pupils of the eyes, moving the eyes from left to right, one-foot support, holding a pen and gazing at the students. The developmental phase was usually characterized as informing, eliciting, accepting, concluding, and checking. For the nonverbal, they comprised writing on the board, illustrating how to solve, and placing the visual aids on the board. The closure phase use directing, silence and checking. The nonverbal cues shown were roaming around to check students' work and tapping the wrist to check the time. The verbal communication demonstrated the closure phase observed that included silent stress, marking, directing, and bidding goodbye. It used the writing on the board for the assignment, tapping the wrist to check the time, and gathering the books to prepare for the next class.
Moreover, teachers' level of nonverbal communication strategies and the students’ grades for the grading period yielded "fair" in the analysis, with an overall weighted mean of 3.48. There was a significant relationship between the nonverbal communication strategies and the students’ achievement. Both verbal and nonverbal communication strategies are important in the classroom. It is further suggested that the teachers must develop effective behavior in the classroom because it can improve the students' participation and the liking of the subject. The teachers should show friendliness in the class and effectively utilize verbal and nonverbal cues.


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