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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 6 researchers consistently report significant relationships between verbal immediacy and various types of learning, there are some indications that outcomes of teachers’ verbal behaviors are mediated or overridden by teachers’ nonverbal behaviors (Kearney, Plax, Smith, & Sorenson, 1988; Plax et al., 1986; Witt & Wheeless, 2001). Immediacy Research Designs The majority of immediacy and learning studies (74 out of 81 studies in this meta- analysis) utilized a survey-type research design in which students use questionnaires to record their perceptions of teacher immediacy and perceptions of their own learning. Following the innovative methodology introduced by Plax et al. (1986), many immediacy questionnaires assess student attitudes and perceptions of "the last class you had before this one," or the "best teacher" or "worst teacher" you’ve ever had. Some scholars have cautioned against relying solely on survey research designs for conclusions related to students’ learning, noting especially the limited usefulness of self-reports of certain types of learning outcomes (Comstock et al., 1995; Hess & Smythe, 2001; Witt & Wheeless, 2001). A relatively small number of studies have employed experimental or quasi-experimental designs that compared learning effects in the presence of various controlled manipulations of teacher immediacy (Andersen & Withrow, 1981; Comstock et al., 1995; Daniel, 2000; Frymier & Hauser, 1998; Gorham, Cohen, & Morris, 1997, 1999; Kelley & Gorham, 1988; Titsworth, 2001; Witt & Wheeless, 2001). Overall, verbal and nonverbal immediacy’s effects on cognitive, affective, and perceived learning have been found to be less pronounced in experimental research designs than in survey research designs. As noted previously, research relying on survey questionnaires found verbal and nonverbal immediacy to be correlated. Other research designs have allowed for comparing varying levels of verbal and/or nonverbal immediacy to more fully understand how teacher

Authors: Witt, Paul., Wheeless, Lawrence. and Allen, Mike.
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Immediacy and Learning Meta-Analysis 6
researchers consistently report significant relationships between verbal immediacy and various
types of learning, there are some indications that outcomes of teachers’ verbal behaviors are
mediated or overridden by teachers’ nonverbal behaviors (Kearney, Plax, Smith, & Sorenson,
1988; Plax et al., 1986; Witt & Wheeless, 2001).
Immediacy Research Designs
The majority of immediacy and learning studies (74 out of 81 studies in this meta-
analysis) utilized a survey-type research design in which students use questionnaires to record
their perceptions of teacher immediacy and perceptions of their own learning. Following the
innovative methodology introduced by Plax et al. (1986), many immediacy questionnaires assess
student attitudes and perceptions of "the last class you had before this one," or the "best teacher"
or "worst teacher" you’ve ever had. Some scholars have cautioned against relying solely on
survey research designs for conclusions related to students’ learning, noting especially the limited
usefulness of self-reports of certain types of learning outcomes (Comstock et al., 1995; Hess &
Smythe, 2001; Witt & Wheeless, 2001). A relatively small number of studies have employed
experimental or quasi-experimental designs that compared learning effects in the presence of
various controlled manipulations of teacher immediacy (Andersen & Withrow, 1981; Comstock
et al., 1995; Daniel, 2000; Frymier & Hauser, 1998; Gorham, Cohen, & Morris, 1997, 1999;
Kelley & Gorham, 1988; Titsworth, 2001; Witt & Wheeless, 2001). Overall, verbal and
nonverbal immediacy’s effects on cognitive, affective, and perceived learning have been found to
be less pronounced in experimental research designs than in survey research designs.
As noted previously, research relying on survey questionnaires found verbal and
nonverbal immediacy to be correlated. Other research designs have allowed for comparing
varying levels of verbal and/or nonverbal immediacy to more fully understand how teacher


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