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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 3 Review of Existing Research Nonverbal Immediacy and Student Learning Drawing from a body of nonverbal literature by Mehrabian and others, Andersen (1978) created a teacher immediacy construct in order to examine such teacher behaviors as eye gaze, smiles, nods, relaxed body posture, forward leans, movement, gestures, and vocal variety, in relation to student learning. Results revealed a significant relationship between these teacher nonverbal immediacy behaviors and students’ affective learning, but no measurable relationship with cognitive learning as measured by test grades (Andersen 1978, 1979; Andersen, Norton, & Nussbaum, 1981). A few early studies did link nonverbal immediacy to cognitive learning performance (Jordan, 1989; Kelley & Gorham, 1988; McDowell, McDowell, & Hyerdahl, 1980), but the first decade of immediacy research produced more consistent findings related to nonverbal immediacy and affective learning, including both student attitudes and behavioral predispositions (Andersen & Withrow, 1981; Kearney, Plax, & Wendt-Wasco, 1985; Plax, Kearney, McCroskey, & Richmond, 1986; Sorenson, 1989). Overall, these studies reported a low to moderate association between teacher nonverbal immediacy and greater liking for the teacher and course, greater likelihood of engaging in the behaviors learned, and greater likelihood of enrolling in another course of the same type. Reported links between nonverbal immediacy and cognitive learning increased sharply after Richmond, Gorham, and McCroskey (1987) introduced a measure of perceived student learning known as "learning loss" (see Learning Measurement, below). Richmond and her colleagues found a significant negative relationship between nonverbal immediacy and learning loss, the difference between students’ perceived learning and predicted learning if they had the "ideal" instructor. Communication researchers are not in agreement as to whether learning loss

Authors: Witt, Paul., Wheeless, Lawrence. and Allen, Mike.
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Immediacy and Learning Meta-Analysis 3
Review of Existing Research
Nonverbal Immediacy and Student Learning
Drawing from a body of nonverbal literature by Mehrabian and others, Andersen (1978)
created a teacher immediacy construct in order to examine such teacher behaviors as eye gaze,
smiles, nods, relaxed body posture, forward leans, movement, gestures, and vocal variety, in
relation to student learning. Results revealed a significant relationship between these teacher
nonverbal immediacy behaviors and students’ affective learning, but no measurable relationship
with cognitive learning as measured by test grades (Andersen 1978, 1979; Andersen, Norton, &
Nussbaum, 1981). A few early studies did link nonverbal immediacy to cognitive learning
performance (Jordan, 1989; Kelley & Gorham, 1988; McDowell, McDowell, & Hyerdahl, 1980),
but the first decade of immediacy research produced more consistent findings related to
nonverbal immediacy and affective learning, including both student attitudes and behavioral
predispositions (Andersen & Withrow, 1981; Kearney, Plax, & Wendt-Wasco, 1985; Plax,
Kearney, McCroskey, & Richmond, 1986; Sorenson, 1989). Overall, these studies reported a low
to moderate association between teacher nonverbal immediacy and greater liking for the teacher
and course, greater likelihood of engaging in the behaviors learned, and greater likelihood of
enrolling in another course of the same type.
Reported links between nonverbal immediacy and cognitive learning increased sharply
after Richmond, Gorham, and McCroskey (1987) introduced a measure of perceived student
learning known as "learning loss" (see Learning Measurement, below). Richmond and her
colleagues found a significant negative relationship between nonverbal immediacy and learning
loss, the difference between students’ perceived learning and predicted learning if they had the
"ideal" instructor. Communication researchers are not in agreement as to whether learning loss


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