The post closure classroom is a strange place for teachers, who rely heavily on nuanced facial expression to communicate. Having that hidden behind a face-mask is a difficult adjustment.
With that in mind, Director of Creativity and Head of Human Technologies Phil Morgan has concocted a ‘Smile Cube’, to help convey simple smiles and scowls.
He is using it to let students know, that despite appearances, we’re positive and supportive underneath.
Phil explained: “Its purpose is really to acknowledge with students that our communication is compromised in a masked classroom. If it breaks the ice a bit, that can only be a good thing. It has really hit home how much of our communication is non-verbal.
I use it as a bit of a ‘joke’ item, when someone has contributed very well (huge smile). It also helps student to build an awareness of their own communicative limitations.
The cube shape means that it can be adjusted quickly, from a grin to a broad smile. In a Human Technologies light, we’re talking about the role of facial expressions and body language as a social and somatic technologies.”
Other teachers have been inspired by Phil and are now planning on making their own Smile Cubes.