In the classroom, I use a lot of non-verbal communication. Part of this comes from being an educator of young children, who, no matter how interesting I am, just don't hear every word I say. Another important element, I find, is that there are times that I need to communicate with children when I'm not sitting right next to them, and a visual cue is very helpful.
This is a much longer point that I really need to come back to in another post, because I think it is incredibly interesting in the fabric of the classroom.
The reason I mention it, though, is that all of this non-verbal communication becomes a habit. I've had families tell me that at home their child will make the "me, too" sign when they have a connection, or accompany something with a sign from the classroom that they are used to.
They're not the only ones.
It spills over completely into my own life. My husband always learns and knows a lot of the nonverbal signals because I use them in my non-school life, when we're talking or hanging out with other people. I think after so many years of being with me, he doesn't notice it as much anymore. Nonverbal communication just becomes the 'norm' in many areas of my life that I don't think about it.
Of course, when I use it with someone that doesn't know me that well yet, I forget that it's not necessarily what they're used to seeing.
Over the summer, I was taking a Boot Camp class with some other teachers from my school. One Wednesday afternoon, we were about 35 minutes into it and had just done something exhausting. I collapsed to the mat after finishing and looked at our trainer, "Water?" I asked, not realizing that I'd also done the water sign in sign language (make a W with three fingers and tap your forefinger against your chin).
He said, "Okay, guys, get some water, then jog a slow lap."
Then he turned to me and said with an amused smile at me, "Did you just sign at me?"
I said, "I have no idea -- what did I do?"
He showed me an attempt at the sign and I smiled, too. "Yeah, I must have. That's the sign for water. We use it in the classroom all the time."
He said, "I don't think I've ever had anyone sign at me in all my years doing this."
"Well, you're in a school now; you're bound to learn something."
I think it was about then that he threw one of the exercise balls at me and told me to go get water...
But it did really make me think of some of the sign language or hand signals that I use and how unconscious they have really become.
What sorts of unconscious things do you all find blend their way into your lives?