A Study of the Application of Implicit Communication Theory to Teacher Immediacy and Student Learning




Butland, Mark James

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Teacher immediacy has surfaced as an important instructional communication variable, and yet little is known about how it functions to effect learning. To provide a theory that explains why teacher immediacy functions to facilitate learning, implicit communication theory is investigated. Subjects consisted of 625 undergraduate students who completed questionnaires later subjected to regression analyses. Previous findings for teacher immediacy's effects on learning were replicated. Teacher verbal and nonverbal immediacy significantly effects cognitive and effective learning. To provide a cleared explanation of why teacher immediacy functions to increase student learning, implicit communication theory was investigated. Findings indicate that implicit communication theory significantly explains learning. Specifically, the dimensions of pleasure and arousal accounted for over half of learning variance. Further, implicit communication theory is significantly related to the teacher immediacy construct. Pleasure and arousal mediate the effects of teacher immediacy on learning and aid in the identification of low-inference immediacy behaviors that effect learning. Results suggest that the integration of implicit communication theory with learning in general and instructional variables such as teacher immediacy in specific is appropriate and fruitful.



teacher-student relationships, communication in education


Butland, M.J. (1991). A study of the application of implicit communication theory to teacher immediacy and student learning (Unpublished thesis). Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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