monique polak

Monique Polak's Books

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Watch the Body Language!

So, we made it through the first week of school! As usual, I've been discussing body language with my students, telling them how important it is to look alert and alive (and happy helps, too) in the classroom. I've also told students in both my Journalism and Writing for Children classes to pay attention to other people's body language since these details can really help bring a story(and your characters) to life. It just so happens that yesterday there was a great quote in The Globe & Mail newspaper about body language. It comes from Lord Chesterfield (I believe chesterfields -- a fancy word for couches -- are named for him). Here's the quote: "Mind not only what people say, but how they say it; and if you have any sagacity, you may discover more truth by your eyes than by your ears. People can say what they will, but they cannot look just as they will; and their looks frequently [reveal] what their words are calculated to conceal." Right on, Lord Sofa, I mean, Lord Chesterfield!!

Monday morning early, I'm taking a plane to Wemindji, a Cree community on James Bay. I'm going with my photographer friend Monique Dykstra -- and with another photographer/filmmaker/writer Louise Abbott, who will be filming us. We're going to spend a couple of days working with students in Wemindji. I get to tell them about my books -- and help them with their own writing. Not sure whether I'll be able to write my blog from there -- but if I can, I will. Either way, I should have plenty to report on by the end of next week. People are complaining about the cold here in Montreal... but something tells me Wemindji is going to be way colder. Time to figure out where I stashed the long underwear! Have a great weekend. Keep your eyes peeled for interesting body language. And if you see some, WRITE IT DOWN!!

Catching the Plane to Wemindji
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Comments

Guest - Kim on Friday, 25 January 2008 18:34

I think looking at body language eventually becomes a habit if you "force" yourself to pay attention for some time... I remember being skeptical during the first English class last August (which now seems so far away!) but now I tend to notice small things which normally would have escaped me. The most striking I've noticed up to now is how one of my teachers almost hides his hands in his long sleeves... and there's also something about the way he plays with his hands while he explains which just gives me the impression he's slightly nervous. I also *try* to get the "pen poised" thing right, in class. It does help to act interested... except that convincing yourself to try it takes time! And I'm starting to think nodding also works well -- teachers seems to like it!
I like that quote from Lord Chesterfield -- not only because of what it says, but also because of the rhymes and the musicality (especially in the last part).
Well, have fun up North, good luck with the cold, and please don't forget to tell us about it when you get back to the (relative) warmth of Montreal!

I think looking at body language eventually becomes a habit if you "force" yourself to pay attention for some time... I remember being skeptical during the first English class last August (which now seems so far away!) but now I tend to notice small things which normally would have escaped me. The most striking I've noticed up to now is how one of my teachers almost hides his hands in his long sleeves... and there's also something about the way he plays with his hands while he explains which just gives me the impression he's slightly nervous. I also *try* to get the "pen poised" thing right, in class. It does help to act interested... except that convincing yourself to try it takes time! And I'm starting to think nodding also works well -- teachers seems to like it! :D I like that quote from Lord Chesterfield -- not only because of what it says, but also because of the rhymes and the musicality (especially in the last part). Well, have fun up North, good luck with the cold, and please don't forget to tell us about it when you get back to the (relative) warmth of Montreal!
Guest - tamar on Friday, 25 January 2008 22:09

sitting in a couple of my classes, i caught myself giving off poor body language and then i remembered the Polak motto... I try hard but sometimes it is really hard to stay focused in class... I do agree with Kim though, the nodding trick works... Have fun on your trip... I went to high school with a girl who was on cree decent (i think...)

sitting in a couple of my classes, i caught myself giving off poor body language and then i remembered the Polak motto... I try hard but sometimes it is really hard to stay focused in class... I do agree with Kim though, the nodding trick works... :) Have fun on your trip... I went to high school with a girl who was on cree decent (i think...) :)
Guest - Kim on Friday, 25 January 2008 23:53

oops... I meant "teachers seem to like it", not seems. Sorry about that!! :'( I'll proof-read properly, next time!

oops... I meant "teachers [i]seem[/i] to like it", not seems. Sorry about that!! :'( I'll proof-read properly, next time! :)
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