A Focus Report: Kinesics in the Foreign-Language Classroom


  • Jerald R. Green

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      JERALD R. GREEN (Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia Univ.) is Associate Professor of Romance Languages at Queens Coll., Flushing, N.Y. He has studied abroad at Laval University and the Universities of Mexico, Madrid, and Lisbon. From 1962 to 1968 he was Associate in Foreign Languages Education, Bureau of Foreign Languages Education, in the New York State Education Department. He is the author of A Gesture Inventory for the Teaching of Spanish, Spanish Phonology for Teachers, and French Phonology for Teachers (with Norman Poulin) (Philadelphia: Center for Curriculum Development, 1968, 1970, and 1971).


ABSTRACT  The classroom presentation of authentic nonverbal behavior is gaining in acceptance as a legitimate and useful activity in the teaching of the foreign culture. Foreign-language educators who argue for the contemporary view of the foreign culture acknowledge the dearth of useful data of this type and call for the production of cross-cultural gesture inventories for each of the commonly taught languages in our schools and colleges. The colloquial dialogues found in many school and college language texts are ideally suited as carriers of nonlinguistic cultural patterns. The language teacher who is sensitive to the communicative value of nonverbal behavior and who has internalized some of the high-frequency gestures can easily gloss the dialogue with authentic foreign-culture gestures and execute them as appropriate during the presentation of the dialogue. Pupils can thus acquire important features of the foreign culture and can relate them to the social context in which they occur in the foreign environment.