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close this bookCreative Training - A User's Guide (IIRR, 1998, 226 pages)
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Body language

· Two facilitators
· Up to 30 participants
· May last up to three hours

Body language is using the body as a means of expression. It is an important part of communication particularly for sign language users. It helps convey emotions and everyday needs without using the voice.



· To provide an awareness of how to use body language.
· To help participants perform in drama productions or mimes.


deaf - audiological condition of not hearing, i.e., non-cultural aspects of hearing loss, medical/pathological perspectives

Deaf - cultural aspects of deaf people, deaf people as a cultural-linguistic minority

Source: Padden, C. 1989. The Deaf Community and the Culture of Deaf People. American Deaf Culture.


· flash cards with words of different emotions and/or with numbers to show intensity of emotions from 1 -5
· whiteboard, pens, eraser, paper
· blind fold
· personal things that participants wear e.g., watch, glasses, jewelry, etc.
· pictures of people smiling, standing on the street and looking at other people, etc.
· pictures of facial expressions

Suggested approach

The facilitator should follow the procedures below for the following different body language activities.


· Facilitators should demonstrate slowly. They should not use their voices when conducting the activities.
· Facilitators should be aware that in some of these activities, there is a need for people to touch each other.

A. Facial expression

Practice on facial expression

1. Demonstrate a facial expression.
2. Ask the participants to guess the emotion that your facial expression represents.

Making facial expression for names

1. Show how to make your own name using facial expression. For example, if a person is shy, the sign name may be a shy-look of the face.

2. Ask the participants to make their names using facial expressions.


Mirror activity

1. Choose one participant.

2. Show your facial expression.

3. Ask her/him to copy your facial expression.

4. Then ask all participants to group into two and then ask each pair to take turns to copy each other's facial expression.


Intensity of facial expression

1. Explain the intensity of a facial expression, e.g., I -5; 5-1.

2. Demonstrate one example of a facial expression showing the different intensity.

3. Show a flashcard with a number, e.g. 3, and ask the participants to demonstrate the appropriate corresponding facial expression.


4. Show more flashcards with different numbers within the range of 1-5 to test if participants understand the different intensity of facial expression.


Picture of facial expression

1. Choose one participant and show her/him a picture of a person's facial expression.
2. Ask the participant to mimic the facial expression as shown in the picture.
3. Show more pictures with different facial expressions to the rest of the participants.
4. Ask them to mimic the facial expression of each picture shown.


B. Body movement

This includes the use of head, hands and whole body to convey a message.

Mirror activity

1. Ask one participant to mimic your facial expression, head movement and hand movement, as in a mirror.
2. Ask participants to get into pairs and do the mirror activity.


Copy body movement

1. Invite participants to form a circle.

2. Ask any of the participants in the circle to make a gesture with her/his body, e.g., stand with hands on the hip. The person to the right replicates the same gesture. Like dominoes falling, everyone follows the same gesture.

3. Ask a volunteer to make another; gesture and then follow the same principle used above.


Guess the leader


1. Ask the participants to form a circle.

2. Ask a volunteer participant to leave the room.

3. Instruct one participant in the circle to lead a movement, e.g., waving of hands. Everyone then follows this movement. S/he may change the movement anytime but everyone must follow.

4. The volunteer outside re-enters the room and tries to guess the participant who initiated the changing movement of the participants in the circle.

5. The changing movement of the participants of the circle continues until the volunteer locates the person who initiated the change of every action done by the group.

Spot the changes

1. Choose one participant from the group.

2. Ask her/him to observe and remember what you are wearing.

3. Ask the participant to turn around or look away.

4. Rearrange the location of at least five things that you are wearing, e.g., transfer your watch from your left arm to your right arm, etc.

5. Ask the participant to face you again and ask him/her to identify what has changed and put them into the right places.

6. Ask all participants to form pairs and play the same guessing game.


Copy my stance

1. Choose one participant from the group.

2. Blindfold the participant. Assume a pose (e.g., saluting, shooting a basketball, squatting, etc.) and keep still.

3. Ask the same participant to trace the outline of your body position.

4. Ask him/her to copy your pose.

5. Ask participants to form pairs and play the same posing game.


Acting out

1. Write the names of famous places (e.g., Empire State Building) or famous people (e.g., Michael Jackson) on small pieces of paper. Be sure to write only one person or place on a single paper.

2. Ask one participant to pick one paper.

3. Instruct the participant to act out the place or person indicated in the paper, e.g., if Michael Jackson was picked, then the participant acts out singing and dancing.



By the end of the session, the participants should be able to use

· basic sign language for signing their names;
· facial expressions to communicate; and
· body movement to communicate.


· Aids acquisition of communication skills through body language and eye contact.

· Adds fun to the introduction of learning sign language.

· Fosters deeper understanding of Deaf people and why they use facial expressions and body movement for communication.


This was successfully tried in 1991 among 26 participants at the College of Saint Benilde, Manila, Philippines, with Deaf facilitators. It is still being used effectively as part of a Deaf Awareness information campaign to promote understanding of Deaf Culture.