(Note: CETL Faculty Advocates will be posting regularly on interesting research in the education field. This is the first installment.)
What is “Teacher Immediacy”?
“Immediacy is a perception of physical or psychological closeness” (Richmond, 2002, p. 65). It is a concept originated by Mehrabian (1969, 1981), who initially focused on nonverbal communication; today it has been expanded to include verbal communication. Effective use of these behaviors can “bridge the psychological distance between two persons” (Allen, Witt, & Wheeless, 2006, p. 21). These behaviors are also linked to significant learning outcomes. Let’s start by looking at some key findings from the research, and then we will outline a few key behaviors you can begin to implement in your classroom.
1. These behaviors can help us get students to do what we want them to do—provided they are genuine and we use them throughout the course. This is a positive form of behavior control, as opposed to coercive or antisocial strategies. To that end, students tend to comply with requests from teachers whom they like, respect, and admire. Continue reading