Nina C. Persi

Date of Award


Degree Name

Communication Studies


College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Robert Bookwalter

Second Advisor

Edward Woods

Third Advisor

Camilla Brammer

Fourth Advisor

Leonard J. Deutsch


In the education profession, teachers are often hired, retained, or terminated based on their effectiveness at teaching and moreover, their skill in engaging students to learn. Effective teachers promote student learning which involves cognitive, affective and behavioral changes (Bloom, 1956). As Comstock, Rowell, and Bowers (1995) state, “In other words, teachers who communicate positive regard to their students promote student learning” (p. 251).

Numerous studies have sought to identify the particular communication behaviors that a teacher can employ to increase his or her effectiveness in the classroom. Additionally, researchers have been interested in explaining how teachers communicate this positive regard to their students, stimulating them to learn. Over the past fifteen years, researchers have investigated the impact of teachers’ nonverbal and verbal immediacy behaviors on the dynamics of the classroom in a variety of studies including Andersen’s (1979) initial investigation of the immediacy construct in relation to student learning, Plax, Kearney, McCroskey, and Richmond’s (1986) study linking immediacy to teacher management of classroom interaction and behavior control strategies, and Moore, Masterson, Christophel, and Shea’s (1996) more recent investigation examining clearly associated with teachers’ effectiveness as repeated evidence shows that students learn most from teachers who are “warm, friendly, immediate, approachable, affiliative and fostering of close, professionally appropriate personal relationships” (Andersen & Andersen, 1987, p. 57).


Communication in education.

Teacher-student relationships.

Teacher effectiveness.