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Understanding Your Students' Nonverbal Communication: A Primer for the New Engineering Educator

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Tricks of the Trade in Teaching I

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

22.1576.1 - 22.1576.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/18906

Download Count

67

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Paper Authors

biography

Brock E. Barry U.S. Military Academy

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Dr. Barry is an assistant professor and course director in the Department of Civil & Mechanical Engineering at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He predominately teaches in the area of engineering mechanics. His current areas of research include professional ethics, economic factors influencing engineering education, identity development, and non-verbal communication. Dr. Barry is a licensed professional engineer with multiple years of consulting experience.

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biography

Maj Jonathan Bodenhamer U.S. Military Academy, Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering

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Maj Bodenhamer is an instructor and course director in the Department of Civil & Mechanical Engineering at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He predominately teaches in the area of automotive engineering. His current areas of research include student non-verbal communication, dilute combustion, and hybrid vehicle power systems.

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James J O'Brien Jr. American Society of Civil Engineers

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Abstract

Understanding Your Students’ Nonverbal Communication: A Primer for the New Engineering EducatorAs educators we often look for confirmation that our students are grasping the concepts underdiscussion. This is often referred to metaphorically as a light bulb in or over a student’s head.Yet, by nature, not all individuals are animated in a way that allows educators to identify theirnonverbal communication.Many of us have received formal or informal training in the nonverbal communication that we,as instructors, intentionally or unintentionally exhibit in the classroom. However, rarely doesthat training include discussion of how to interpret the nonverbal communication of our students.In an environment where educators are consistently attempting to better understand and bettercommunicate with our students, it would be critical that we develop the skills necessary toidentify and interpret student nonverbal communication.This document reviews and summarizes the literature specific to interpretation of the nonverbalcues that students exhibit in the classroom. The authors were motivated to execute this study asa means of improving their own nonverbal sensitivity and nonverbal interpretation acumen. Theresearch question around which this study was developed was: “What is the content of theavailable literature specific to identifying and interpreting student nonverbal communication in aclassroom setting?” Building from the research question, the method of investigation utilized inthis study included a fairly comprehensive investigation of the published literature (includingtexts, journals, and magazines) through the application of various databases and discussions withacademicians associated with the field of communication. Literature was reviewed in the generalrealm of communication, specific nonverbal communication publications, classroom instruction,body language, and where possible, the intersection of these individual topics.This document includes a general overview of nonverbal communication, presentation of anassociated taxonomy, and discussion of cultural and gender-based influences. A detaileddiscussion of common classroom nonverbal dynamics and challenges common to theidentification and interpretation of those conditions are also identified.While the information contained with this document will be particularly useful to individualsnew to teaching, all engineering educators are likely to find this information beneficial to theirclassroom interactions.

Barry, B. E., & Bodenhamer, M. J., & O'Brien, J. J. (2011, June), Understanding Your Students' Nonverbal Communication: A Primer for the New Engineering Educator Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18906

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