Ruth Fiedler

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Dorsch, Nina G.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Teaching and Learning


Nonverbal communication in the workplace; Nursing schools--Faculty


The purpose of this study was to contribute to the knowledge base on teacher immediacy behaviors in the college classroom. Imm ediacy behaviors are the com munication behaviors that enhance closeness to and nonverbal interaction with another. In this study, nonverbal immediacy behaviors were physical proximity, facing one another, touching, eye contact, smiling, body movement, relaxed posture, and being vocally expressive. The participants were nursing faculty who were course or co-course directors for a course in an undergraduate nursing program. The researcher observed the participants teaching in the classroom and individually interviewed them using identical questions. Observation data indicated the consistent presence of several nonverbal immediacy behaviors: body position, gesturing, and eye contact. Three them es em erged from the research: collaboration, connection, and preparation. Nursing faculty members collaborated w ith others to learn how to teach. They established partnerships with peers and exchanged information about teaching. They asked seasoned faculty members to becom e their mentors while they learned how to teach. They observed university faculty members teaching and gathered ideas on how to teach and how not to teach while they developed their own teaching styles. Connection refers to a teacher’s connection w ith students in the classroom and connections made between the content discussed in the classroom and the students’ experiences in the clinical setting. Nursing faculty members constantly talked about engaging students in the classroom by being interactive with them, including using nonverbal im mediacy behaviors to support student engagement. It was im portant to the faculty members that they called students by nam e and were respectful of the students. The final theme is preparation. Nursing faculty members put tim e and thought into being prepared for class. In addition to organizing class materials, faculty members want to be well rested and calm before they enter the classroom. They believe it is their responsibility to set a calm tone in the classroom. The findings of this study indicate a need for a support network of co-course directors, mentors, and peers to sustain teachers in higher education. The effects of immediacy behaviors need to be included in inservice programming for teachers.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [245]-257).


xiii, 281 pages




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