One of the easiest available and cheapest learning centers, would be a drawing-room of any comfortable home. It is often undervalued and its potential not effectively imagined. This is especially the case when it comes to children. Cozy drawing rooms of homes may be small but is one of the most interactive spaces for children to forget their inhibitions and contribute.
Therefore it was in such a scenario that a workshop on body language awareness and confidence building was conducted at Wadi Kabir, Muscat. There were two sessions held on 31 March 2018, one in the morning and one post noon, with a halfway temporary dispersal for lunch after which it resumed. Breaks were taken for refreshments in both sessions. The workshop began at 10:30 am and ended at 5:30 pm.
The workshop was conducted for children over 12 years old. It was conducted by Ms Lakshmi Priya, along with me in the role of both presenter and facilitator.
The objective for such a workshop were as follows:
- To establish that body language was more important than words.
- To encourage children to move out of their comfort zone.
- To introduce the children to the secrets of body language.
- To teach tricks that would give the children an edge in the real world.
- To teach new methods of learning and use those to boost their confidence.
- To explain the difference between misinformed confidence and correctly placed positive attitude using the framework of ‘confidence based knowledge’, a process that would predict performance better.
The needs of aspirational children were therefore expected to be fulfilled. Having gained a new perspective to ‘seeing’ those around them and being aware of how they want to be ‘seen’ , children would eventually learn to express their thoughts and strengths effectively.
Eighteen children participated in the workshop in all, of which 8 children participated in both sessions. The rest of the kids were divided between morning and afternoon.
In the morning session, instead of simply giving the info straight to them, the children were made to discover the importance of body language on their own through couple of activities.
In the first activity, the children had to find partners by matching the chits they had picked. They were given time to learn about each other before coming up and introducing their partners before their audience. Ms Lakshmi Priya then explained how anxiety can be visible through the way the body emotes.
In the next activity, the children were split into two teams. Both teams chose a team leader after which the leader nominated a team member to be kept isolated for a while. During this period both teams were given a graphic to study. When the isolated team member returned the rest of the team members had to instruct him/her to draw the graphic without using their bodies to gesture. All the children agreed that gesturing would have made their work much easier. Thus the importance of body language was established.
Ms Lakshmi Priya then proceeded towards explaining the different dos and don’ts of body language, how to shake hands with a firm grip, how eye contact can be maintained with a group following a CVD pattern etc. She also told the children of the 55:38:7 % ratio where only 7% constituted the spoken word. The rest of the 93% was non verbal communication. The children were excited to know this piece of information.
Finally in the morning session the children were made to come individually to speak putting into practice what they had learnt, on a topic of their choice. The kids themselves decided that they would speak for a minute each. The children could then see where they faltered and how they seemed to be giving a lot of importance to the content rather than body language.
The afternoon session again began with an activity where a team of two were asked to pick chits with two roles to enact respectively. The act had to be conversational. The kids understood that in the roles they had no first hand knowledge, the act was mundane. However the children who played mother, father and girl turned out to be best of the lot as they did full justice to the role using the tone of their voice.
It was then explained that along with your posture, level of eye contact and gesturing, the tone and rhythm of voice was also important.
The dos and don’ts of body language was further dwelled into in a one to one context and that of a small and large group. The difference between the natural comfortable stance of an individual and how he/she would be perceived as comfortable was explained. An exercise was taught to make them aware of the best stance as perceived by an audience. The ideal position to be taken on a stage was explained. This was followed by an audio-visual where three great orators, Narendra Modi, Sashi Tharoor and Barack Obama, were chosen as examples to learn about common effective ways to impress an audience.
Children who were left out in the morning continued with the one minute speech delivery making use of the body language tricks for effective communication. Master Aaditya Bhaskar did a perfect mimicry of the politicians they had just studied.
This was followed by a discussion on ‘confidence based knowledge/learning. The famous CBL quadrants grid was shown to them. The importance of confidence in learning was discussed. The right placing of confidence during an activity that involved learning was further dwelt with.
It was noticed that most of the children remained unaware of what they might have been already confident in, as they gave higher level of importance to content. A follow-up workshop essentially on tricks to confidence building has been planned for May 12th 2018.
Names of Participants