ECT 300 EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY: What is the relationship between verbal and non-verbal communication?


Communication process and learning

2 a ii). Explain the relationship that exists between verbal and non-verbal

2.4 Relationship between verbal and nonverbal communication

The relationship between verbal and nonverbal communication revolves around four dimensions namely:

  • Substitution relationship. This is the case where a response/reaction which could have been communicated verbally in done nonverbally. Example is nodding the head to mean “Yes” or shaking the head to mean “No”
  • Complementary relationship. This is the situation where a verbal response/reaction is reinforced nonverbally. For instance shaking her head and saying No at the same time. You can also explain a process and at the same time demonstrate what you are saying e.g. kneeling down, washing etc.
  • Conflicting relationship. Sometimes the verbal communication seems to conflict with the non-verbal communication. For instance, at the end of a lesson, one pupil may approach the teacher and express a desire to speak to the teacher. The teacher may say “yes” but at the same time be busy rubbing the chalkboard, packing books and checking the watch. This may leave the pupil confused as to whether to go on and ask the question or leave the teacher alone. Whenever there is a conflict we tend to rely more on the nonverbal messages because the eyes (a direct extension of the brain) have the capability to perceive more quickly than the cars. In other words, what we see is processed faster than what we hear.
  • Accenting relationship. Non-verbal activities can stress parts of a verbal message just as underlined words emphasize written ideas. For instance holding a pupil by the ear and saying “when I speak t o you, look at the chalkboard”

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