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论英语教学中眼神交流的使用On the Application of Eye Contact in English Teaching

减小字体 增大字体 作者:591代写毕业论文网  来源:http://www.591lw.com  发布时间:2012-10-23 23:57:00

On the Application of Eye Contact in English Teaching

 

Abstract

 

In English courses, most English teachers lay emphasis on verbal teaching, paying little attention to eye contact. Eye contact, as a kind of important body language, is rich in expression and plays a vital role in class. Using eye contact is a dynamic teaching art which can influence students, help them to build up learning interest and shorten the psychological distance with teachers. Since there are so many advantages of using eye contact in the teaching process, such as stimulating students’ interest and arouse their attention, the newly developed teaching method should be widely applied for teachers to enhance the effectiveness of teaching.

This paper reviews some scholar's view-points about eye contact, shows the importance of eye contact by introducing the function of it in class, and then illustrates three main functions of eye contact in class to reiterate the significance of eye contact in class. After that the paper discusses four kinds of common expressions in teachers’ eyes, develops some advanced skills of using eye contact more efficiently. In the end, this paper reaches the conclusion that timely and proper eye contact helps to keep good communication between teachers and students as well as shorten the psychological distance between them.

 

 Key words: eye sight; communication; class; application

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the Application of Eye Contact in English Teaching

 

Outline

 

Thesis Statement: Eye contact, which is of great importance in enhancing the effectiveness of class teaching, is an efficient and intangible instrument of a proficient teacher.

 

I.         Introduction

A.    The Significance of the Paper

B.     The Organization of the Paper

II.      The Significance of Eye Contact

A.    Promoting the Exchange of Emotion between Teachers and Students

B.     Stimulating Students’ Interest and Attracting Students’ Attention

C.     Shortening the Psychological Distance between Teachers and Students

III.   Common Expressions in Teachers' Eyes

A.    The Approving Eye Sight

B.     The Affectionate Eye Sight

C.     The Guiding Eye Sight

D.    The Strict Eye Sight

IV.   Advanced Skills of Using Eye Sights More Efficiently

  1. Understanding the Potential Implications of Students’ Eye Sights Precisely
  2. Changing Eye Sight Timely according to the Realistic Situation

1. Guiding instead of Lecturing

2. Knowing Students’ Psychological Condition Well

3. Changing Eye Sight according to Classroom Atmosphere

V.      Conclusion


 

On the Application of Eye Contact in English Teaching

 

I. Introduction

 

A. The Significance of the Paper

 

The informationization of the social life, combined with the globalization of economic activities, make foreign language, especially English, an important instrument in international communication. However, English, as a second language in China, is complicated to learners who are likely to lose interest in it. Therefore, it is necessary for teachers to adopt some vivid and attractive teaching methods to arouse students’ interest. Eye contact, as a kind of body language, is playing an increasingly important role in teaching method. According to a series of experiments, Ermei La Aipa, an American psychologist, gives such a formula in 1968, “7% words, 30% tone and 55% expressions make up communication.” 1

Zhao Yanping, a Chinese scholar, points out that “teachers can convey information with special sight, expression, gesture, body action and some complicated combination in the course of teaching.”2 As it is mentioned, there are many kinds of body language to connect teachers and students. The study on body language will definitely give great contribution to language learning.. However, there is rarely scholar researching eye contact separately. So this paper aims at developing some practical instruments of eye contact in English teaching process.

 

B. The Organization of the Paper

 

In my dissertation there are five parts. The first part is introduction, which mainly introduces some background information to illustrate the writing purpose. The second part highlights the significance of eye contact in improving the teaching effects. The third part discusses four common expressions in teachers' eyes. They are approving, affectionate, guiding and serious eye sight respectively. The fourth part is about some advanced skills of using eye sights more efficiently, one is to understand the potential implications of students’ eye sights, and another is to change eye sight timely according to the realistic situation. The fifth part is ending and conclusion, which tells us that eye contact should be adopted widely in class, for it is actually an efficient and intangible instrument of a proficient teacher.

 


II. The Significance of Eye Contact

 

A. Promoting the Exchange of Emotion Between Teachers and Students

 

In classroom, the mutual emotional interaction between teachers and students plays an important part in the teaching process. As a teacher, it is very important to get to know the students’ psychology, and to guide them to the expectable direction. For that teacher’s thoughts and facial expressions could be noticed by students directly. Only if the teacher and students have emotional interactions can the class be full of learning atmosphere. But how to narrow down the psychological distance between teachers and students as well as improve the emotional interactions? The best answer for teachers is to use eye contact.

Most Chinese students lack the proficient English language environment, so inevitably they have the fear of learning English. But if teachers use proper body language in English teaching, such as when a student makes some mistakes, the teacher uses encouraging eye contact and ask him to try again instead of saying “No, you are wrong”, the student will probably have the courage to think the question and answer it once again rather than feel frustrated and do not want to answer question any more. Therefore, teachers’ proper using of eye sight can not only get rid of students’ learning psychological barriers and make students feel that learning English is no longer harsh, but also shorten the distance between teachers and students.

 

B. Stimulating Students’ Interest and Attracting Students’ Attention

 

Lew Nikolaevich Tolstoy, one of the greatest Russian writers and thinkers, held a bold view: “successful education was not to compel student to learn, but to simulate their study interest.”3 However, the students’ learning interest is not inborn, which leads to some teaching problems for teachers, such as how to stimulate the interest of students in English learning as well as reduce the negative emotions in learning process. It is said that students’ study-desire for seeking knowledge is gradually formed in the learning process by experiencing the joy of study and obtaining the satisfaction of study. Thus, the teacher should be the guide of students in the learning process. His/Her speaking tone, facial expression, behavior and attitude can draw students’ deliberate attention and shape a good and positive learning condition.

Therefore, in order to stimulate students’ interest in English study well, the teacher can use body language, especially eye contact in some created situation according to the students learning content and let the students get in touch with it directly. There is a simple example, when teaching two words: “big” and “small”, the teacher can open his/her two hands and draw a picture of great circle to express “big” and make a smaller circle with two fingers to express “small”, and then the teacher ask students to imitate the same actions while reading these words as well as give them an encouraging eye sight to tell the students what they do is right. In this way, students can soon understand the meaning of the words and remember them quickly. In contrast, if the teacher only reads in boring voice without any facial expression, students will soon become bored and absent-minded. Therefore, when feel encouraged by the teacher’s eye sight, students can learn these words and phrases quickly and easily, and even use their imagination to understand the content. This not only makes English teaching more active and interesting, but also enhances students’ understanding of the courses.

 

C. Shortening the Psychological Distance Between Teachers and Students

    

Being a teacher is not only just selling knowledge. What’s more, he/she should discover and inspire students' potential. If a teacher keeps himself/herself aloof from students, it is impossible for him/her to understand and appreciate their merits; in contrast, if he/she befriends the students and enters their world, he/she will find out the moment he/she most needed. For another, once accepted by his/her students, a teacher can be greatly inspired when staying with younger friends. Actually, in class, the most efficient way to make friends with students is to use eye contact. When teachers' lively facial expressions and warm eye sight reach deeply in the minds of students, the classroom is no longer a place of getting knowledge, but a heartily talking process, which will enable students to open their hearts to teachers when receiving knowledge.

     Some people hold that, teaching not only contains the talking to students' ears, but also to students' sincerely eyes and their hearts. Some people even say that, to organize the classroom teaching, the best teachers use eyes, the weaker teachers use language, the worst teachers use punishment.4Their words best illustrate our point of view. Those irresponsible teachers always regard teaching as a task rather than something he/she should face heartily. They stayed far away from students after class, some even in the class. They just facing the students without any facial expression and lecturing in unchangeable voice. In the students’ eyes, such kinds of teachers just like machines without any emotional exchange with them. Therefore, students may feel far away from the teachers and behave same as teacher in class. Consequently, the whole classroom lacks vigor and communication. That is to say, lively eye contact is essential for the establishing of better emotional interactions between teachers and students.

In a word, vivid eye-contact-teaching can shorten the psychological distance between teachers and students as well as make the teaching atmosphere lively. Thus, the teaching goal can be achieved successfully, which would benefit both students and teachers.

 


III. Common Expressions in Teachers' Eyes

 

     Different eye sights express different meanings. That is to say, to use them properly is not only a kind of art but also science. Here are the most commonly used and most important eye sights , namely approving eye sight, affectionate eye sight, guiding eye sight, and strict eye sight.

 

A. The Approving Eye Sight

     

On many occasions students need the encouragement from teachers. For instance, some language points are unfamiliar and difficult to students. When asked some related questions, students may totally give no answer at all. When facing such embarrassing situations, some teachers may probably leave it there and move on to next question to get rid of losing face. Consequently, what have been missed is the most important and difficult part. In the eyes of students, whatever been omitted by teacher in class is not important, or at least not the core part. Thus, students may pay little attention to it and forget it quickly. Actually, teachers should do more to help students to think about the obscure grammars, for that independent thinking ability is essential to students nowadays. So, when the embarrassing situations come about, teachers can give an eye sight which is full of expectations to students who always think actively and are likely to answer the difficult questions. That is because this kind of students has independent thinking ability and is used to devote to dealing with problems. When they feel the teacher’s expectation through the encouraging eye sight, they probably will think more actively and try their best to help teachers to break the "cold situation". They’d like to try even if they though their answers might be wrong. Then teachers could catch this good opportunity to lead students to think step by step, following the example of active students. By such kind of mutual cooperation, even very difficult text can be possessed by students well.

Every student has the desire to express himself/herself. However, some students still suspect their answers even after careful thinking repeatedly, and their hesitation will be expressed in their eyes unconsciously. At this time, teachers should pay attention to capture this signal and try to look at them in expectable and encouraging sight with smile, like saying that "do not worry, trust yourself, just express what you want to say", which will enhance students' confidence greatly and provide them with precious chances to show their ideas.

It is not easy for those introverted students to put up their hands to answer questions in class. Proficient teachers could create some chances for them to express their opinions. Once capture the teacher’s encouraging eye sight, the student will feel greatly encouraged to give his/her answer. What deserves to be mentioned here is that, whether right or wrong the answer is, teacher should praise the student for conquering his/her timidity to establish positive learning environment to the whole class.

     Some students may fail to give correct answer even after trying their best. Their weakness is the relatively poor learning foundation rather than not being diligent. Then, teacher’s encouraging eye sight plays a vital role in response to their enthusiasm in studying, which encourages this kind of students to try again next time. On the other hand, the student also can say to teachers "I will do better next time" by eyes. In this way, positive learning atmosphere is established for the rest students to think actively as well as wipe out the fear of being humiliated once their answers are wrong. Surely, if their answers are right, the teachers should give them praise both in words and in eyes. In this way, students can enjoy the success, and their interests in learning the language can be aroused successfully. What’s more, positive eye sight has very important impact on the development in their confidence of facing difficulties.

     Another particular situation for teachers to pay attention to is handing out test papers in class. Nowadays, most students are the only child of their families. They grow up under the heartily protection of parents just like flowers in greenhouse, being extremely sensitive to any failures and frustrations. If some negative psychology such as nervousness, disappointment shaped at school cannot be adjusted and adapted in time, students of younger age are easy to generate frustration. Thus, extra attention should be paid to those who do relatively weak in the exam. Teachers are bound to give encouraging eye sights in order to tell them that "Failure is the mother of success" to let them regain self-confidence and convert failure to power. Of course, teacher can convey his/her pleasant of student’s progress to them by giving an approving glance and smile, which will encourage the students to study harder efficiently.

 

B. The Affectionate Eye Sight

 

Apart from the teaching of knowledge in class, it is also of great importance for teachers to show their love to students. Any psychological problem or negative thought of a student could be illustrated on his/her face. Teachers may invariably find that some students' facial expressions are abnormal, for example, depressed or confusing. Most of these problems are caused by emotional difficulties, such as problems about families, or troubles in studying or life. In these cases, face-to-face talking is actually not the best solution. It is because that most students feel ashamed when speaking out their weakness directly to teachers. Thus, teachers can express carefulness to them with caring eyes instead of digging out the painful fact in words and force the student to face it. Sometimes indirect method works more effectively. Warmth in teacher’s eyes can make the student get in touch with the love around, as well as remind him/her that he/she is supported. In this way, the student can face difficulties with confidence and bravery. What’s more, students will gradually form good habits of opening their heart to teachers to ask for guidance. Day by day, they will overcome their shyness, becoming outgoing and independent.

     Getting the teacher's concern and love is the dream of every student, especially to younger students, who always want to attract others' attention. Excellent teachers always treat students with all his/her heart and soul, pretending that they are his/her own child. However, with only 45 minutes in one class, teachers hardly have enough time to look after every student well. It is of great importance that teachers should spread his/her tender eye sight to students fairly for that even a subtle glance may arouse the student’s interest and confidence in learning English.

 

C. The Guiding Eye Sight

 

     Some students are not very sensitive to others while concerning the teacher's attitude toward them. So, teachers' eye sight has critical influence in students’ forming positive characters such as being active and responsible. Even in classes, eye sights will contribute to teaching activities greatly. Sometimes, the key points of a lesson will have to be emphasized by eye sight because mere oral presentations cannot arouse enough attention of students. It is critical for teachers to look at students seriously and raise their tone. Through the exchange of eye sights, students will be aware of the important contents. This is like when greeting each other, we usually nodding heads with gentle eye sights instead of talking, and each of us instantly understands the meaning. Not all the students are motivated to succeed in English learning. Most of them are used waiting for teacher to guide and help them. As the guide of the learners in English, teachers should keep skimming the class frequently in order to notice and respond to potential problems. Such as, if a teacher looks at students with big opening eyes, he must be sending a message that the content is important and makes a connection with the students to keep their attention.

     In English teaching, verbal messages can be explained by non-verbal materials such as eye sight. For example, if the students could not come up with the question which has just been told by the teacher, the teacher could turn his/her eyes to the blackboard and gives the prompts that he/she has displayed on the blackboard before.5 In this way, these gestures just repeat the verbal message and avoid impatient reiteration of teacher.

It is essential for a teacher to guide students by eye sight to express his/her thoughts and emotions. In the teaching process, the teacher even can change eye sight as much as possible accompanied by corresponding changes in the contents to inspire students to understand his words, grasp his thoughts, attitudes and feelings. As long as teachers can master the right way to change their own eye sights, they can interact very well with the students in the teaching process.

 

D. The Strict Eye Sight

 

     In many conditions, teacher can use eyes instead of words to criticize students. For example, younger students are lively and active, they are lack of self-control, after the school bell rang, they always being immersed in the play and be noisy, at this time, there is no need for teacher to shout aloud, or begin teaching at once, he/she can stand at the door, keep silent first, and look around the whole class for several seconds with majestic eye sight.6 Once some students notice that the teacher has come and get back to their seats silently, the others would receive this signal and will be quiet like the first student soon.

As the students lack concentration, there are distracted phenomena in the class, such as playing, doing tricks, reading books unrelated to the class and so on. When confronted with these discipline problems, many teachers often criticize the student immediately to control the distraction. However, the result of this method does more harm than good. It is because that while getting back individual student’s attention, the teacher’s words let more students shift their attention to whom been criticized. Consequently, it affects others and diverts the attention of more students. Further more, If the student is been criticized in the class, he/she may be dissatisfied, worse still, have reverse psychology to the teacher because of the feeling of losing face in front of classmates, which easily led the deliberately oppose to the teacher. That would affect the mood of the teacher and the whole atmosphere of class in return. Over the time, once the habit is formed, he/she will become a “too old a hand” and do not care the teacher’s words any more, at that time, it will be very hard to repair any mistake. A great educator , Dr. Tao Xing Zhi cautions teachers: “Watts may exist under your whip, Newton may exist in your cold-shouldered, Edison may exist in your ridiculed, children's self-esteem is very fragile, so we treat children as careful as to treat the dew-dropping on a rose. As long as self-esteem does not obliterate, it is hopeful to instruct him for he has self-motivated.”7 Therefore, criticizing students in front of the class not only influences the progress of teaching, but also hurts the student's self-esteem, which is absolutely undesirable.

     When faced with such kind of discipline problems, it is necessary to timely re-focus the attention of these students, and the best way is to use silent eye sight. When the distraction of individual students occurs, teachers can temporarily suspend lectures, keep a short silence, and imply him with eye sight. According to the law of attention, it is easy to arouse people's attention if the role of stimulus suddenly stops. So, even though students who do not concentrate, pays little attention to what the teacher says, he can notice voices of the teacher in lectures.8 When the continual voice suddenly disappear, he will probably raise his head to find what has happened involuntarily, after he finds the teacher is looking at him in the eye, he will understand tacitly and turn his mind back to the learning content. It is a communication without any word but we can see that silence is better than sound in this condition. To give students criticism and education after class works more effective than in the classroom. Further more, teachers can look around the class in teaching process. Some students who are absent-minded will be ashamed when they notice the teachers' eye sight sweeping on them.

There may always be some sudden occurrence in teaching process, for instance, some student’s sudden strange pronunciation of words, or student's pencil box fall on the floor. Under these kinds of situations, if teachers concern these matters too much, the students’ attention will also be diverted. And that would waste more time to gather the attention of students. Only if proper eye contact is used to keep the balance between regulating one student and keeping other students’ attention to the lesson, can the class be well-behaved and full of substance.

 


IV. Advanced Skills of Using Eye Sights More Efficiently

 

     In teaching process, eye contact plays a potential role. Teachers should try to understand students' emotion through eyes and master how to use eye contact to ensure good effect according to the changing situation.

 

A. Understanding the Potential Implications of Students’ Eye Sights Precisely

 

     One’s eyes are the windows of his/her heart. His/Her mood can be reflected in the eyes directly. Obviously, being a teacher, it is important to guess what students are thinking about from their eyes correctly. For example, when a student is listening to teacher, his/her eyes must glow with excitement. So, just paying some attention to that point, teachers can gain their own teaching effectiveness and analysis of the students’ minds from their expression changes. If students staring at the ceiling or windows without destination once in a while, or shifting the eyes to other things time and time again to reinforce impatience, it indicates that their minds are not on their work. However, not all distracted eyes mean the absence of mind. Students who are thinking back carefully to some words or phrases may also act like this. Teachers should distinguish the two different situations to avoid criticizing students by mistake. If students glitter eyes to show their highlight affection and excitement, they must be thinking about the question in that brief moment, and if they look at each other with a continuous low, murmuring sound, maybe, they have found something the teacher said was wrong. In a word, there are a lot potential implications behind students' eye sights, and teachers should try to master the ability to search the truth to enhance the effect of the class.

 

B. Changing Eye Sight Timely according to the Realistic Situation

 

Timely and proper eye contact helps to keep good communication between

teachers and students. However, kind eye sight should not been used every time. Teachers should learn to adjust eye sights to fit the realistic situation. That is to say, friendly eye sight doesn’t works well everywhere. To those naughty students, sometimes we should use majestic or serious eye sight instead.

 

1. Guiding instead of Lecturing

 

     First, being a teacher should always be kind and tender to young friends. A teacher is not a role of lecturing but guiding. Severe criticism with red eyes may control them in short time, but it will hurt them in the long run. So please let students feel your care as more as possible by using tender eye sights. Do not judge them with your own standard because they are younger than you both in physic and psychology.

 

2. Knowing Students’ Psychological Condition Well

 

What’s more, the use of eye sight to individual student should be connected with his/her psychological condition. Some students are sensitive to the surrounding situation while some are indifferent. To those sensitive ones, teacher’s serious eyes may hurt them deeply. In contrast, those indifferent ones never care what the teacher say or do to them. So, before using eye sight to control the classroom atmosphere, make sure you know the students’ psychological condition well. Or your severe eyes may hurt a young heart.

 

3. Changing Eye Sight according to Classroom Atmosphere

 

Last but not the least, do not use a single kind of eye sight too frequently, for that will reduce its effect to students. The more familiar it is to students, the less efficiently it works. It is known to us all that people would not feel strange in familiar situations, so as the students. So it is essential for teachers to change his/her eye sights according to the atmosphere to keep the attention of students.
                            V. Conclusion

 

The expression, "Never trust a person who can't look at you in the eye" states the relationship between mistrust and lack of eye contact. However, the significance of eye contact is ignored by many teachers. From the above discussion, we can find the eye contact is so useful in teaching process. In class, 45 minutes is very valuable, and teachers should cherish the valuable time to make sure that every student would get sufficient knowledge. In order to make full use of the limited time, teachers should adopt some vivid and interesting teaching methods to attract and keep students’ attention. Using eye contact in teaching can not only help to build up students’ interest in learning English, but also keep their attention to the content of class. Advanced skills of using eye sight can enhance the effectiveness of teaching, for appropriate eye contact can promote the exchange of emotion between teachers and students and narrow down their psychological distance, as well as stimulate students’ interest well. Therefore, eye contact, as a kind of body language, should be combined with verbal-language teaching to promote the development of English teaching. This paper reveals a lot of effects of the use of eye contact. And we can realize that eye contact is, fundamentally, an efficient and intangible instrument of a proficient teacher.


 

Notes

 

1 Donald P. Ladew, How to supervise people (Xi'an: Xi'an University Press, 2002), 39.

2 赵艳萍,《文化与交际》,北京:中国人民大学出版社,1999年,第26页。

3王蔷,《小学英语教学法教程》,北京:高等教育出版社,2003年,第17页。

4 李耀新,《课堂教学的组织与管理》,广州:暨南大学出版社,2006年,第104页。

5 Minxian Shen, The Use of the Body Language in Elementary School (Shanghai: Shanghai Education, 1999), 12.

6 唐江波,《小学生常见心理问题及疏导》,广州:暨南大学出版社,2005年,第32页。

7 李耀新,《课堂教学的组织与管理》,广州:暨南大学出版社,2006年,第126页。

8 Betty W. Robinett, Teaching English to speakers of other Language: Substance and Technique (New York: McGraw-hill, 1978), 84-86.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Darn-EyeContact.html

 

Ladew, Donald P.. How to supervise people. Xi'an: Xi'an University Press, 2002.

 

Robinett, Betty W.. Teaching English to speakers of other Language: Substance and Technique. New York: McGraw-hill, 1978.

 

Stern, Heinrich H.. Fundamental Concepts of Language Teaching. London: Oxford university press, 1983.

 

杜保良《西方形体语言速察》,北京:北京理工大学出版社,2001。

 

李明新《构建主题性课堂教学》,北京:社会科学文献出版社,2002。

 

李耀新《课堂教学的组织与管理》,广州:暨南大学出版社,2006。

 

唐江波《小学生常见心理问题及疏导》,广州:暨南大学出版社,2005。

 

王蔷《小学英语教学法教程》,北京:高等教育出版社,2003。

 

赵艳萍《文化与交际》,北京:中国人民大学出版社,1999。

 

 

 

 

 
 

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