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A Meta-Analytical Review of the Relationship between Teacher Immediacy and Student Learning
Unformatted Document Text:  Immediacy and Learning Meta-Analysis 21 but lower-order cognitive learning as defined by Bloom (1956) may be more accurately assessed through performance measures such as tests of recall, recognition, and retention of specific course content. Although course grades and exam grades are not flawless measures of cognitive gain, most scholars consider them to be more consistent with Bloom’s cognitive taxonomy than measures of students’ opinions about their own learning. The meta-analyses involving affective learning offered little that was surprising, and the outcomes were similar to those found for perceived learning. Studies reporting nonverbal immediacy of teachers (average r = .490, k = 55, N = 17,328) revealed 24% shared variance with positive affect, almost identical with those reporting verbal immediacy (average r = .491, k = 26, N = 7,139). The comparable association with affect for both verbal and nonverbal immediacy of teachers is not surprising. The vast majority of studies involved survey-questionnaire research where both the nonverbal and verbal assessments were juxtaposed sequentially in the questionnaires. The operational independence of these two assessments in these cases is questionable, given global response tendencies in evaluating a single object of judgment (the teacher) and the nature of the questionnaire. When the verbal and nonverbal measurement was combined into a single assessment report (average r = .550, k = 11, N = 2,935), the association of verbal/nonverbal immediacy to affective learning appeared to go even higher – 30% shared variance. Even with these potential difficulties, the results of the meta-analysis confirm the relationship such that, as verbal and nonverbal immediacy increase, affective learning meaningfully increases. Moreover, if one assumes consistency between verbal and nonverbal immediacy behaviors of teachers across levels of immediacy, then the methods used to produce the results are not problematic.

Authors: Witt, Paul., Wheeless, Lawrence. and Allen, Mike.
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Immediacy and Learning Meta-Analysis 21
but lower-order cognitive learning as defined by Bloom (1956) may be more accurately assessed
through performance measures such as tests of recall, recognition, and retention of specific
course content. Although course grades and exam grades are not flawless measures of cognitive
gain, most scholars consider them to be more consistent with Bloom’s cognitive taxonomy than
measures of students’ opinions about their own learning.
The meta-analyses involving affective learning offered little that was surprising, and the
outcomes were similar to those found for perceived learning. Studies reporting nonverbal
immediacy of teachers (average r = .490, k = 55, N = 17,328) revealed 24% shared variance with
positive affect, almost identical with those reporting verbal immediacy (average r = .491, k =
26, N = 7,139). The comparable association with affect for both verbal and nonverbal immediacy
of teachers is not surprising. The vast majority of studies involved survey-questionnaire research
where both the nonverbal and verbal assessments were juxtaposed sequentially in the
questionnaires. The operational independence of these two assessments in these cases is
questionable, given global response tendencies in evaluating a single object of judgment (the
teacher) and the nature of the questionnaire. When the verbal and nonverbal measurement was
combined into a single assessment report (average r = .550, k = 11, N = 2,935), the association of
verbal/nonverbal immediacy to affective learning appeared to go even higher – 30% shared
variance. Even with these potential difficulties, the results of the meta-analysis confirm the
relationship such that, as verbal and nonverbal immediacy increase, affective learning
meaningfully increases. Moreover, if one assumes consistency between verbal and nonverbal
immediacy behaviors of teachers across levels of immediacy, then the methods used to produce
the results are not problematic.


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