Body Language For Teachers: What Are The 4 Cs For Classroom Participation? – Michael Grinder & Associates

Body Language for Teachers: What are the 4 Cs for Classroom Participation?

In a previous post, I shared how a teacher’s body language, such as raising their hand, can increase classroom participation by clarifying expectations.

However, sometimes teachers need just a little more help in the classroom — and that’s where the Four Cs come in!

Michael Grinder, the pioneer of nonverbal communication, shares these gems from his bestselling book, ENVoY — your personal guide to classroom management.

Marcel found Miss Savant after class to continue their conversation.

“Okay, Miss Savant,” said Marcel. “Let’s say I hold up my own hand. I wait with an encouraging look on my face. But then what if no hands go up, or only two or three of the usual kids? What do I do next?”

Miss Savant replied, “That’s when you try the Four Cs — usually at least one of them will get more kids to participate. I learned about them from a teacher in Texas, named Adrian Walker.”

“So what are they?” Asked Marcel.

The first C is ‘count.’

Let’s say you asked a question with your hand raised, but only a few kids raised their hands.” Miss Savant explained. “You would then say, ‘Only three hands up, now four,’ pause, let your face light up a bit as more hands go up, and move on to the next C, ‘coax.'”

The second C is ‘coax’

“Try to encourage more participation by saying, ‘We need many more.’ If you still don’t have many hands up, you can give them a ‘clue,’ the third C. I let them pair share, or I remind them of when they learned it, or I give them some other tips that help them remember.”

The third C is ‘clue’

Marcel reflected and asked, “Yeah, but even then it doesn’t always work, does it?”

“You’re right. If you still have fewer than say, 80% of the kids engaged, well, you may need to reteach your content, and then ask the question again.” Said Miss Savant.

“Hmm, okay.” Marcel wondered. “You said four Cs, right?”

The fourth C is ‘confirm’

“Yep. The last one is your backup plan, ‘confirm.'” Miss Savant continued. “Let’s say you call on someone and they give an answer. If you’re like me, you may be tempted to say, ‘Right,’ or, ‘Not quite,’ or something like that. But Adrian says if you hold off and instead go to C number four, you can usually get the whole class involved.”

“Really? I wanna hear this one.” Marcel said with interest.

Miss Savant replied, “What you do is, with one of your hands up, you ask, ‘Who agrees?’ Then you switch to your other arm. You put your other hand up and ask, ‘Who thinks there is a different answer?’ Then you wait. You nod. You smile as more hands go up.”

“Got it!” Marcel exclaimed.

In review, the four Cs are:

  • Count — I see three hands, four hands…
  • Coax — We need more.
  • Clue — Hints and reminders.
  • Confirm — Who agrees? Who has another idea?

Want to learn more about body language for teachers? Check out part one of this post and learn how raising your hand helps students.

For a deep-dive into nonverbal classroom management, check out Michael Grinder’s book ENVoY.

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