Graduate Teaching Assistant Interpretations and Responses to Student Immediacy Cues

by Canfield, Clair Owen

Abstract (Summary)
Current research on immediacy and classroom communication primarily focuses on the impact of teacher behaviors on students, and does not focus on the dual influence of teachers and students. Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) have unique communication concerns and provide a context to explore how this particular population of teachers interpret and respond to student immediacy cues. While previous research has not always given adequate focus to the transactional process of classroom communication, the two studies presented here explore the dual influence that occurs by considering the impact of student immediacy and withdrawal behaviors on GTAs and the teaching process. A grounded theory constant comparison method is used to analyze interviews. The data were used to develop themes to extend the current research on immediacy. The findings of these studies illustrate how GTAs define immediacy as an expression of interest, engagement, and/or approval. GTAs use both the presence and absence of communication cues to interpret student behaviors as communicating immediacy or withdrawal. The term withdrawal is proposed in this study to conceptualize student behaviors that GTAs identified as being in opposition to immediacy. Additionally, this study highlights the impact of GTAs communication concerns on the process of interpreting and responding to student classroom communication cues. Suggestions are made for future research that focuses on classroom interactions as transactional negotiations of meaning. Finally, theoretical and practical recommendations are made for future research and education programs for GTAs and students.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Dr. Betsy Wackernagel Bach; Dr. Stephen Yoshimura; Dr. Roberta Evans

School:The University of Montana

School Location:USA - Montana

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:communication studies


Date of Publication:02/06/2007

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