Decoding Faces

The Science and Significance of Reading Facial Expressions

Situation Focus:

This week we had a guest speaker – our very own Coach Craig, who specializes in communication. In this session, Craig led us on an exploration into the realm of nonverbal communication. Our focus was understanding the science and significance behind reading facial expressions. The session provided students with an opportunity to delve into this under-appreciated aspect of communication, leading to insightful discussions and revelations.

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Key Insights:

1. The Universality and Power of Facial Expressions:
Students realized the universal nature of facial expressions. They found that our faces often say more than words ever could, underlining the importance of this nonverbal communication form. This insight led to discussions about the ways in which we all subconsciously scan and interpret facial cues from others and how this affects our interactions.

2. The Seven Universal Micro Expressions:
In a highly interactive segment, students learned about the seven universal microexpressions: happiness, sadness, anger, contempt, surprise, fear, and disgust. Students practiced identifying these expressions and gained a greater understanding of how these fleeting, involuntary facial responses can reveal genuine emotions, even when someone tries to hide them.

3. The Art of Responding:
An essential insight from the session was the importance of our responses to others’ emotions. Students shared experiences and perspectives on how to respond empathetically and positively when they identify certain facial expressions. This discussion helped students understand that acknowledging emotions can lead to more meaningful and effective communication.

4. Cultural Differences and Their Impact:
Our exploration of facial expressions would not have been complete without considering the role of cultural differences. Students engaged in lively discussions about how interpretations of facial expressions can vary across cultures. They realized the importance of being aware of these differences to avoid misunderstandings and improve cross-cultural communication.


The session on understanding facial expressions in communication provided students with critical insights into the nuances of nonverbal communication. They grasped the universality of facial expressions, the seven key micro-expressions, the significance of responding effectively, and the impact of cultural differences. This newfound understanding is set to enhance their interpersonal skills, helping them navigate personal and professional relationships with greater empathy and effectiveness. As a next step, students were encouraged to actively practice these skills in their daily interactions, continuing their learning journey beyond the confines of the session.


Join the discussion about this and other high school education topics in our Facebook Group "Alternatives to High School". The goal of the group is to give parents a place to discuss options to public/private school and standardized curriculum as well as share resources for educating teens.


Encouraging Entrepreneurial Thinking in Teens

Part 1: Encouraging Entrepreneurial Thinking in Teens
Part 2: Encouraging Creativity with Entrepreneurial Thinking
Part 3: Building Resilience in Teens
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Part 5: Tips to Get Your Teen Thinking Like an Entrepreneur
Part 6: The Power in Failure
Part 7: Risk-Taking in Your Teen

Part 8: The Power of Networking for Teen Entrepreneurs


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