A study of participants' verses nonparticipants' perception of teacher nonverbal behavior in the natural classroom setting

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1976

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Purpose and Problem of the Study This study was designed to compare participant and nonparticipant observers' perceptions of the teacher nonverbal behavior as having encouraging or discouraging affect qualities during a teaching-learning process. More specifically, it was undertaken to answer the following questions: (1) Are similar nonverbal teacher behaviors perceived by participant and nonparticipant observers in assessing the affective quality of teacher nonverbal behavior? (2) What nonverbal cues are identified by the participant and the nonparticipant observers in assessing the affective quality of teacher nonverbal behaviors? (3) To what extent do the nonverbal cues identified by participant and nonparticipant observers predict the variance in participants' and nonparticipants' assessment of teacher nonverbal behavior? Procedures To investigate the major questions posed in the study, video tapes of five ninth grade teachers in a natural classroom setting served as the stimulus situations. Seven students of each teacher were randomly selected to serve as participant observers. Seven former teachers who were doctoral students in education at the University of Houston served as nonparticipant observers. A total of thirty-five observations per group (participant-nonparticipant) were made on all five teachers. This constituted a grand total of seventy observations. Only ninth grade mathematics teachers using the lecture-interaction method were sought to limit the variables in the study. The instrument developed for data collection was the Teacher Nonverbal Behavior Rating Scale (TNBRS). Treatment of the data involved the testing of two hypotheses employing a one way analysis of variance and a multiple regression technique. The criterion for rejection of a null hypothesis was set at p <.05. Major Findings The analysis of data lead to the rejection of both hypotheses formulated in the study. Thus, the analysis of the data led to the following results: 1) There was a statistically significant difference (p<.001) between the participants' and nonparticipants' perception of teacher nonverbal behavior. 2) There was a statistically significant difference (p<.05) between the variance accounted for in the participants' and the nonparticipants' rating of teacher nonverbal behavior as predicted by the presence of the nonverbal cues identified by the participants and nonparticipants. In general the data revealed that students tend to rate the nonverbal behavior of their teacher in a consistently higher degree than did the nonparticipant observers. Data also revealed that the nonverbal behavior of the teacher had definite but different qualitative aspects for the participants and the nonparticipants observers.

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