The Classroom X-Factor: The Power of Body Language and Non-verbal Communication in Teaching  book cover
1st Edition

The Classroom X-Factor: The Power of Body Language and Non-verbal Communication in Teaching

ISBN 9780415593151
Published September 20, 2011 by Routledge
208 Pages 148 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Why is it that some teachers have a kind of magical charisma and charm which sets them apart from their peers? This book gives us a fresh and exciting answer – They have the classroom X-Factor! White and Gardner’s gripping text, The Classroom X Factor, examines the notion of having what the public has come to call the ‘X-Factor’ from the perspective of the teacher, offering fascinating insights into the use of non verbal communication in the classroom.

Using classroom and curricular examples, this book sets out to show how both trainee and practising teachers can identify their own ‘X-Factor’ in order to help transform their perspectives and perceptions of themselves during the ‘live act’ of teaching. The book demonstrates how teachers can transform the way in which they connect with their students, whilst also creating meaningful and potent learning experiences for them. White and Gardner show that by following simple methods borrowed from psychology and cognitive science teachers can develop their own ‘X-Factor’ and in so doing increase their enjoyment and efficacy as professionals. The techniques described include some of the following:

  • Facial and vocal expression
  • Gesture and body language
  • Eye contact and smiling
  • Teacher attire, colour and the use of space
  • Nonverbal communication and pedagogical approaches

In addition, the book provides a section containing fictional stories that aim to contextualise the findings detailed throughout the text. The inclusion of chapter summaries, questions aimed at identifying the readers’ own ‘X-Factor’, lesson exemplars and a user-friendly self-evaluation framework all work together to make the book a stimulating and easy read where reflective learning and the practical application of classroom techniques are the order of the day.

This comprehensive guide to developing the classroom X-Factor within you will be of value to teaching and learning and is of immense use to both practising and student teachers and to schools seeking to develop models of reflective practice. It will also be of interest to curriculum and assessment agencies, policy makers, academics and others whose roles involve the design, provision, support and evaluation of teachers’ efficacy in the classroom.

Table of Contents

Section 1 The X-Factor and You the Teacher

Chapter 1 General Introduction

Chapter 2 Your X-Factor and Classroom Communication

Chapter 3 The X-Factor within You.

Chapter 4 The X-Factor on the Education Stage of Today’s World.

Chapter 5 How good are pupils at reading your X-Factor? 

Chapter 6 The X-Factor and Pupil Achievement 

Chapter 7 The X-Factor and Special Education. 

Section Conclusion

Section 2 The X-Factor Orchestra – Getting to know the Various Instruments

Chapter 8 Smiling 

Chapter 9 Body Language

Chapter 10 Gestures

Chapter 11 Vocal Expression 

Chapter 12 The X-Factor and ‘Classroom Eyes’

Chapter 13 Our Use of Space 

Chapter 14 Facial Expressions

Chapter 15 Attractiveness: Dressing for the Classroom –Does My school bag look big in this!

Chapter 16 Colour and the Classroom X-Factor 

Section 3 The X-Factor Instruments in a Classroom Symphony

Story 1 Your X-Factor and Differentiated Learning - The Yellow Teddy Lunchbox

Story 2 Spartacus The X-Factor and Expressing your Emotions

Story 3 The Great Horse of Troy. Your X-Factor, Motivation, Nonverbal Drama and Immediacy

Story 4 The Butterfly – Motivation

Story 5 Bushfires - Experience and Reflection

Section 4 Concluding Remarks

Section 5 Appendix 1 – Self-Evaluation Framework


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John White (Ed. D) is a primary school inspector for the Department of Education and Skills in Ireland. Prior to this, he worked as a primary teacher, head teacher and lecturer. He has also been involved in research on school leadership, classroom nonverbal communication and teaching skills.

John Gardner is a Professor of Education in the School of Education at Queen’s University, Belfast. He is President of the British Educational Research Association, and was a founding member of the Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers – Northern Ireland (UCET-NI).


'...there's plenty of valuable material here, entertainingly and thoughtfully presented, with bags of enthusiasm...'

Teach Secondary,  March 2012