Listening to lectures:   What the instructor does….

Words are not the only way to communicate!  We also use:

  • pausing and silence
  • voice volume and intonation
  • grunts and utterances (like “huh?” or “hmmm”)
  • body language – including gestures, eye contact, posture, and movement
  • other signs and symbols

These can be culturally specific.

How can this help you understand lecture material?

When something changes, like voice volume or body posture, it means the lecturer is trying to capture your attention. Pausing, or silence, accomplishes the same thing. This often indicates that the next idea coming is important.

There is no dictionary for body language. Every individual is different. Listen with your eyes, and learn to spot your instructors’ special way of indicating when something is important. Put an asterisk (star) next to any notes that your instructor gave special emphasis to. They will be important to understand and learn.

If you find your instructor’s body language confusing, write down what you observe and ask us for help.