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A Nonverbal Communication Lesson
Steve Darn
- 2

Lesson Plan

Teacher: Dilek Eryılmaz
Duration: 60 minutes
Level: Intermediate
No. of students: 12

Main aims:
- to raise awareness of the importance of nonverbal communication.
- to present/teach a variety of nonverbal cues.
- to enable learners to practise and produce aspects of nonverbal communication.

Subsidiary aims:
To develop and integrate the skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Target language:
Aspects of facial expression, gesture and posture.

Text for running dictation
Pictures of facial expressions and gestures (original and from Nolasco andArthur –Conversation) (on OHT)
Dialogue for practice (from a presentation by Paul Seligson)
Video clip (Mr. Bean)
Extract from a play (Oscar Wilde – A Woman of no Importance), picture to set the scene.

Stage Procedure

To introduce the topic and briefly practise all four skills.

(7 minutes)

Running dictation (pairs). Text gives a brief definition of nonverbal communication.

Teacher gives instructions without speaking through gesture and mime.


Nonverbal communication is the unspoken communication that goes on in every face-to-face encounter with another human being. It tells you their true feelings towards you and how well your words are being received. 90% of our message is communicated nonverbally, and only 10% is actual words.


To elicit/teach key terms and raise awareness of body language.

(5 minutes)

Elicit ‘nonverbal communication’ from the preceding text. Students brainstorm terms onto whiteboard, teacher adds missing key items. Brief discussion of importance of nonverbal communication.


To intoduce a number of facial expressions and gestures and their meanings.

(10 minutes)

Show OHT of expressions/gestures. Ask students their meanings in their own culture, and what they might mean in English speaking cultures. Demonstrate variety of meanings and show how intercultural misunderstandings might occur.


gesture 1

Turkey: Homosexual

Commonly: Perfect

Japan: Money

Turkey: obscene gesture

No such gesture in English

Brazil: Good luck!

gesture 2

Turkey: You get nothing from me

Commonly: Stop, enough

W.Africa: You have 5 fathers!

Turkey: Right wing political party

Commonly: OK

Japan: Five

gesture 4

Ask students if they know any others.


To practise expressions, gestures and posture.

(13 minutes)

Students work in pairs on a scripted dialogue.

First, student B replies silently to half of the dialogue read by student B, then A replies to the other half of the dialogue. Both students become familiar with the dialogue then act out the whole dialogue using expressions, gestures and posture. Give plenty of time for thought and rehearsal, remind students to stand up to practise posture and whole body language.


A Excuse me. Can you take a picture of me ?

B Yeah, sure.

A Just press that button.

B Er, which one ?

A The one on the top.

B OK, right. Er.... can you move back a bit.

A Is this OK?

B Fine, now smile. Thay’s it. Very nice.

A Thanks.

B Not at all. You’ve got a lovely smile. Er... fancy a drink ?

A OK, but I’ve got no money on me.

B That’s OK. I’ll pay.

Practice and developing listening/viewing skills and dialogue building.

(15 minutes)

Students watch a one minute (maximum) clip from an episode of Mr. Bean, showing Mr. Bean being chased and interviewed by police at an airport.

Half the class write the dialogue for Mr Bean, half write the dialogue for one of the police officers.

Students combine in pairs to put the dialogue together, rehearse and perform for the class if they wish.


To give students the opportunity to use verbal and nonverbal communication in the context of a play.

(10 minutes)

Teacher shows OHT picture of an English country house sitting room and sets the scene:

Sitting room at Mrs. Arbuthnot’s. Large open French window at back, looking onto garden. Gerald Arbuthnot is writing at the table. Lady Hunstanton and Mrs. Allonby enter the room. Threy are worried about Mrs. Arbuthnot.

Students work in groups of three and are given a short extract from a play, complete with stage directions including nonverbal cues. Students work on the three-part dialogue and act it out using body language to add dramatic effect.


LADY HUNSTANTON (Smiling). Good morning, Gerald.

GERALD (Rising).   Good morning, Lady Hunstanton. Good morning,
Mrs. Allonby.

LADY HUNSTANTON (Sitting down) (Politely). We came to inquire for your dear mother, Gerald. I hope she is better?

GERALD (Apologetically). My mother has not come down yet, Lady Hunstanton.

LADY  HUNSTANTON. Ah, I am afraid the heat was too much for her last night. I think there must have been thunder in the air. Or perhaps it was the music. Music makes one feel so romantic - at least it always gets on one's nerves.

MRS. ALLONBY (Sarcastically). It's the same thing, nowadays.

LADY HUNSTANTON. I am so glad I don't know what you mean, dear. I am afraid you mean something wrong. Ah, I see you're examining
Mrs. Arbuthnot's pretty room. Isn't it nice and old-fashioned?

MRS. ALLONBY (Looking through her glasses).  It looks quite the happy English home.

LADY HUNSTANTON. That's just the word, dear; that just describes it. (Turning to Gerald). One feels your mother's good influence in everything she has about her, Gerald

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