Reflections on the Use of Nonverbal communication in teaching Spanish to sino-speakers

Renia López-Ozieblo
2013 Revista de Lenguas para Fines Específicos  
The increased interest in Spanish as a Foreign Language (FL) has meant that in China alone there are 25,000 university students taking Spanish courses (Instituto Cervantes, 2013). The demand for Spanish language and culture courses has yet to be met by adequate numbers of teachers with a good understanding of Chinese culture, especially if we question the uniformity of that culture over all regions of Sino-speakers (in particular China, Hong Kong and Taiwan). Traditionally Chinese values have
more » ... en linked to the works of Confucius and are often reflected in nonverbal communication (NVC). In FL teaching the implications of nonverbal communication are often not properly understood, despite their importance to thinking (McNeill and Duncan, 2000), to creating immediacy with students (Mehrabian, 1972), and in ensuring that students of the FL are accepted by native speakers of the language (Neu, 1990). We argue that FL teachers should understand the importance of NVC in the classroom, although it is not usually included in textbooks, and be aware of cultural differences among Sino-speakers, and of how these affect NVC and so communication.
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