Understanding Nonverbal Communication in Bilingual Situations

I feel very fortunate to have the amazing opportunity to conduct my research project with Professor Soonhyang Kim of Pace University’s School of Education. Though it has only been a short while, I have already learned a lot about the process of preparing a paper for publication, as well as practical research tips. These skills are not only useful in the present, but I foresee myself utilizing them in many of my future endeavors.

Professor Kim and I are working together to conduct non-verbal communication research titled “Use of Space and Avoiding Cultural Misunderstanding in the Diverse Classroom”, originally initiated by Professor Kim and some of her graduate students in a teacher education class in Spring 2012 as part of a collaborative research project. We are not only editing, but are also adding information and expanding the scope of the article to make it more comprehensive.

The purpose of this project is to look at the use of non-verbal communications (e.g. space, silence, touch, etc.) in intercultural communication and avoiding misinterpretation in the classroom. In an effort to create a learning environment which is cohesive to comprehension for everyone, such research works to bridge the gaps between students and their peers, as well as students and their instructors. This article could act as a basic guideline for teachers not familiar with teaching multicultural or multilingual students.

This paper investigates a previously unexplored component of teaching individuals of non-English or non-American backgrounds by looking at nonverbal influences; the intention of which is to promote the education of teachers on the needs of bilingual students. The information will be useful to instructors of these classes, and act as a reference for techniques proven to be beneficial.

As a Communication Sciences and Disorders major on a Teaching and Bilingual track, I have very high hopes for this research project. It not only directly applies to my career goals of working with children, but my Bilingual extension as well. Because of the increasing diversity of the United States, many children are entering school with English as their second language, or knowing a second language. I would like to help these children improve their production and comprehension of English, and would be better prepared and more specialized in doing so with bilingualism-related research experience in the field.

Understanding clients is pivotal in providing excellent care. It is necessary for me, as a student and eventual Speech Language Pathologist, to be able to cater instruction to each client. I look forward to the opportunity to be a better resource and asset in my career path. The more information acquired through research, the better prepared clinicians, teachers, and instructors are to render services.

Currently, I am using databases to collect information to include in our research paper. Other evidence incorporated in the paper thus far was conducted through interviews and surveys by Professor Kim and her graduate students. I hope to eventually be able to assemble my own data through observations and surveys or interviews.

I cannot wait to see where my research takes me, and I look forward to an educationally fruitful summer with my wonderful counterpart and advisor, Professor Kim. I cannot express enough my gratification to Dr. Carol Alpern, who connected me with Professor Kim and always provides encouragement, and Pace University for this wonderful opportunity.

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