Is a nod really as good as a wink?
I don’t think so.
When I ask teachers and LSAs how they communicate a behaviour instruction to their students from across the other side of the room, many tell me that they give them their best “withering look” or point a finger.
How do these students know what this non-verbal message means? How can you be sure that the student understands which part of their behaviour you’ve noticed and that you don’t like? This is where miscommunication can occur and become a cause of argument.
To be fair, we can be sure that some students are patently aware of their behaviour, but unless we send our message clearly, we must not presume that the message has been received clearly.
Student: “Oh, it’s not my fault, I didn’t realise you meant that……”
Try having a set of different gestures to instruct or inform students about their behaviour (ie hats off, phone away, chair legs on the floor, get on with your work ….etc). Explain what the gestures mean, repeat them often. It works.