Communicating Silently

VERBAL messages are only one means of communicating.

MOVEMENT is another. For example, choose one place in your classroom where you will stand when you plan to admonish the class. (The same procedure works in the home, too.)

Before saying anything, wait until you move to that one specific location. Young people are very perceptive. When you start walking to that pre-selected location, the class will immediately settle down. Reason: They antipcate what’s coming.

GESTURES are another means of communication. An example was posted at

I introduce the Hierarchy of Social Development using charts I made downloaded from the web:
Primary Poster
and posters.

I demonstrate the “picking up trash” example from the book. My students seem to get the idea right away. I mention that levels ABOVE the line are “THUMBS UP” BEHAVIORS, and levels BELOW the line are “THUMBS DOWN” BEHAVIORS.

I don’t go into detail about the levels after that. When a student is behaving inappropriately, I point to the chart and quietly whisper, “Is that on a thumbs up or thumbs down level?” When they answer, I say, “How can you get it to be thumbs up?”

Now all I have to do is point to the chart and say nothing. The inappropriate behavior is usually immediately abandoned.

More information on this topic is available at