Nonverbal Cues in Education

Desk in HallwayDid you have a teacher who was a strict disciplinarian?

What did he or she do to let you know you were skating close to the bad boys and girls line?

In my fourth grade class we had a young man, Chris, who was not so well behaved. I don’t remember him doing anything too outrageous – more talking out of turn and general obnoxiousness. Today he would probably be labeled ADHD, but we didn’t have much of that when I went through so we made due with old-fashioned punishment.

For punishment, his desk was moved to the hallway.

He could still hear the lesson, but he was physically removed from the class. This improved the in-class environment and made a very clear distinction of who is a member and who is being ostracized. This was clear not only to the class members, but also to anyone walking down the hallway.

The desk in the hallway was the nonverbal cue that he had misbehaved. Everyone understood the signal.

Chris is now happily married with children yet I remember him as the misbehaving 4th grader because of the desk in the hallway.

The signal to those of us in the class was – misbehave and your desk goes to the hallway. Behave and you get to stay here and avoid the ridicule and humiliation. That was enough for me.

What did you teachers do to demonstrate discipline?

Image courtesy of Christopher Sessums

12 thoughts on “Nonverbal Cues in Education”

  1. I remember my teacher’s seeing kids put in the hallway as well. A more embarassing punishment I’ve also seen is pulling the kid’s desk to the front (facing away from the class so the class clown antics don’t continue) so that all the kids can see him being ostricized for misbehaving. Generally, he sits there until the end of class with everyone staring at the back of his head. Eek..quite embarassing when you’re young.


  2. My teachers, from 3rd grade through 8th grade, would spank us if we misbehaved too badly. They had wooden paddles, and they spanked HARD! It was a fairly effective deterrent.

  3. My teacher used to throw chalk!

    One day he through a piece of chalk at someone who was talking in class and not paying attention. It flew straight into his mouth, and in surprise he swallowed it! We all laughed our heads off – including the talker (once he’d got over the shock). Nowadays the teacher would probably be sued. Ahh for the good old days….!

  4. When I was in Catholic school the teacher’s would spank, which was very effective. Let me tell you, I never missed my homework. I don;t remember much else but then again I was a good boy.

    Steve Chambers, B2B Sale Trainer

  5. My sixth grad math teacher, Mr. Lorfing, us to throw chalk erasers if you were talking during class. He was very accurate. Nothing like getting hit in the head with an eraser, and seeing the chalk dust fly all over.

    Robert Martin

  6. Interesting point. Boys are often kino learners who need to run around a lot first and THEN can sit still.

    then again working on a factory floor or cubical is the only jobs for which sitting quietly and not being involved physically in the enthusiasm for what we are doing is what schools are for.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell

    Single Baby Boomer Dating Success Expert

  7. I really can’t remember there being discipline problems. I’m sure there were but I don’t remember them.

    What this story about Chris reminds me of, however, is the thought I sometimes have that I hope people don’t in their minds lock me into who I was 30, 20 or even 10 years ago.

  8. She walked down the isle with a ruler or pencil and who ever was out of line was humilated. Ruler upside the head or pencil on the knuckles. If you were really bad you had to kneel in the corner. One kid got sent there and the teacher left school for the day and forgot she put him there and the kid got locked in. You wouldn’t get away with that today. Back then the teacher was always right no matter what the situation was and their punishment was never question.

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