Four Effective Nonverbal Behavioral Management Strategies In The Classroom

Today we’re going to talk about four effective nonverbal behavioral management strategies in the classroom.

It doesn’t matter what grade you teach, we’ve all had children who either loose focus or do something to disrupt the class. They aren’t always intentional, therefore, in order to re-direct a child ad keep them focused on learning, I find it to be most effective to use non-verbal classroom management techniques and methods.

These methods are unobtrusive, so children don’t feel ashamed.

When we don’t focus heavily on unexpected behavior, a child is more likely to shift their focus back to learning.

Four Effective Nonverbal Behavioral Management Strategies In The Classroom

The following four strategies are my favorite as they are incredibly effective.

Actionable Steps:

#1. Let’s Be Close

When I need to re-direct a child or if I feel that they might require additional support, I walk by a few students and pause by them for a bit and then I go to the targeted student and do the same. I do this so that the child doesn’t stand out and it looks like I’m randomly checking on different students. I find that by being in close proximity to the child, they automatically change their behavior to a more desirable one.

If that doesn’t occur, I move on to the following strategy.

#2. Firm But Gentle

If a child is doing something that they shouldn’t, I walk by, gently put my hand on the child’s shoulder and give it a quick light squeeze if needed. I then stand for a quick moment so that they know it was me and I noticed what they were doing. Once they bring their focus back to the task that we’re working on, I move on.

This is helpful when you’re in the middle of teaching of a lesson and everyone’s focused on the assignment so that the child who needs to be redirected can make a quick change without being noticed by other students.

#3. Twitch The Eye

I don’t want you to go twitchy eyes on me and run to the optometrist because you messed up your eyes, so listen up.

If a child is off-task or chatting instead of working, I walk close enough to the student so that I’m making eye contact with the child. I then raise my eyebrows and look at what they should be doing instead. I follow it up by making eye contact again. This way the student knows that I know that they’re off-task but that I’m not upset; I’m just waiting for them to get back to work.

More often than not, after they start their work, they look in my direction again, so I wait from a distance for that and then smile at the child to approve their new behavior.

#4. Notes Of Love

Whether a child is on task or off task, I love this strategy. I write a quick personal note for the child and put it on their desk. I don’t use different colors to differentiate between the two because I don’t want the child to stand out. I want them to make a quick change or to be happily surprised.

If the child is off-task and makes a change, I give them a new note praising them for it. I sometimes draw a small smiley face just to make sure that the child knows that their positive behavior is getting rewarded and not the unexpected one.


Let’s recap really quickly. Today, we looked at the following:

  1. The importance of using nonverbal ways of communicating with or redirecting students.
  2. We looked at four effective nonverbal behavioral management strategies to use in the classroom: Let’s Be Close, Firm But Gentle, Twitch The Eye, Notes Of Love

Additional Thoughts:

If in the mean time, if you’re feeling stressed out, overwhelmed and burnout, then I encourage you to check out the following:

Systematic Plan to Super Passionate

Next Steps:

If you’d like additional resources for your classroom here are the three ways you can access them: 1) Free Resource Library; 2) At my store; 3) The Colourful Teaching Club.

If you found this video beneficial, would you do me a favor? Share this with your family, your friends, your loved ones, your co-workers or someone who you think could benefit from this. Thank you!

I’ll see you next Friday at 5:30pm PST.

Until I see you next time, remember to create, experience & teach from the heart.

Take care,


Four Effective Nonverbal Behavioral Management Strategies In The Classroom
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