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Teaching as an art of communication: an investigation into the nature of teacher immediacy and perceived attendance

Diril, Deha
The purpose of this study is to delineate the nature of teacher-student interaction at a preparatory school of a foundation university in Ankara and examine the relationship between this interaction and students’ level of perceived attendance. The sample for this study is consists of 180 preparatory school students. The data was gathered through the questionnaire developed by the researcher. Interviews were conducted with the students selected among the participants to supplement the quantitative data. Inferential and descriptive statistics were used for the analysis of the data. Principal axis factoring was utilized and four dimensions of teacher-student interaction emerged namely nonverbal immediacy, teacher humor orientation, teachers’ response to questions and teachers’ demonstrated interest. Results revealed that teacher humor orientation and demonstrated interest were not observed as frequent as nonverbal immediacy and response to questions. The results also indicated a significant relationship between instructors’ immediate behaviors and students’ level of perceived v attendance. Students reported higher attendance, better participation in class and cordial communication with instructors when immediate behaviors were employed. Follow-up interviews with students provided confirming indications and further anecdotal evidence on topics such as careful usage of humor, importance of first encounters, teacher characteristics, teacher sensitivity, distant learning, etc. It can be concluded from the results that instructional communication deserves more attention as it gives teachers opportunity to achieve a better rapport with students. Teacher education programs need to consider the enhancement of communication between teachers and students. Further studies are needed with different samples including teacher perspectives.