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tine Classroom 

3rd Edition 

Jason S. Wrencii / Virginia Peck Richmond / Joan Goriian 

Communication, Affect, & Learning in 

the Classroom 

Jason S. Wrench 

Virginia Pecl< Richnnond 

Joan Gorhann 

Copyright © 2009 by Virginia Pecl< Riclnmond, J ason S. Wrencin, and J oan Gorinam 

All rights reserved. 

Printed in the United States of America. 

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative 
Works 3.0 United States License. 

To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/ 
or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, 
California, 94105, USA. 

All research measures utilized within this textbook are copyrighted by the measure's original 
creators and used by permission within this text. Please contact the measure's original 
creator for licensing information. 

1'' Edition printed by Burgess Publishing, Edina, MN, in 1992 (ISBN: 0-80874-699-5) 
2"^ Edition printed by Tapestry Press, Acton, MA, in 2001 (ISBN: 1-56888-548-2) 


Preface i 

1. Teaching As a Communication Process 001 

The Instructional Communication Process 

The Teacher 

The Content 

The Instructional Strategy 

The Student 

The Feedback/Evaluation 

The Learning Environment/Instructional Context 

Kibler's Model of Instruction 

The ADDI E Model of I nstructional Design 

2. Communicating With Instructional Objectives 017 

Why Some Teachers Resent Objectives 

The Value of Objectives 

What Objectives Should Communicate 

3. Instructional Communication Strategies 028 

The Teacher As a Speaker 

The Teacher As a Moderator 

The Teacher As a Trainer 

The Teacher As a Manager 

The Teacher As a Coordinator & I nnovator 

4. Communication, Affect, and Student Needs 042 

Measuring Student Affect 
Basic Academic Needs of Students 
Traditional Interpersonal Need Models 
Outcomes of Meeting Student Needs 

5. Learning Styles 059 

What is Learning Style? 

Dimensions of Learning Style and Tineir Assessment 
jviatcining, Bridging, and Style-Flexing 

Classroom Anxieties and Fears 055 

Communication Apprehension 

Receiver Apprehension 

Writing Apprehension 

Fear of Teacher 

Evaluation Apprehension 

Classroom Anxiety 

Probable Causes of Classroom Anxiety 

Communication Strategies for Reducing Classroom Anxiety 

Communication And Student Self-Concept 071 

Student Self-Concept: Some Definitions 

Characteristics of the Self 

Development of Student Self-Concept 

Dimensions of Student Self-Concept 

Self-Concept and Academic Achievement 

Effects of Self-Concept on Achievement 

Poker Chip Theory of Learning 

Communication Strategies for Nurturing and Building Realistic Student Self-Concept 

Instructional Assessment: 

Feedback, Grading, and Affect 090 

Defining the Assessment Process 

Evaluative Feedback 

Descriptive Feedback 

Assessment and Affect 

Competition and Cooperation in Learning Environments 

Traditional and Mastery Learning Systems 110 

Traditional Education Systems 
Mastery Learning 
Modified Mastery Learning 

10. student Misbehavior and Classroom Management 119 

Why Students Misbehave 

Categories of Student Behaviors 

Students' Effects on Affect in the Classroom 

Communication, Affect, and Classroom Management 

Communication Techniques for Increasing or Decreasing Student Behavior 

11. Teacher Misbehaviors and Communication 142 

Why Teachers Misbehave 
Common Teacher Misbehaviors 
Implications for the Educational Systems 

12. Teacher Self-Concept and Communication 152 

Dimensions of Teacher Self-Concept 
Development of Teacher Self-Concept 
Strategies for Increasing Teacher Self-Concept 

13. Increasing Classroom Affect Through 

Teacher Communication Style 165 

Communicator Style Concept 

Types of Communicator Styles 

Teacher Communication Style 

Teacher Communicator Behaviors That Build Affect 

14. Teacher Temperament in the Classroom 183 

Four Personality Types 
Popular Sanguine 
Perfect Melancholy 
Powerful Choleric 
Peaceful Phlegmatic 
Personality Blends 

15. Teacher Communication: Performance and Burnout 201 

Teaching: A Multifaceted Job 

Roles of an Instructional Manager 
Teacher Burnout 
Symptoms of Teacher Burnout 
Causes of Teacher Burnout 
Methods for Avoiding Burnout 
Mentoring to Prevent Burnout 

Appendix A To Mrs. Russell: 

Without You This Never Would Have Happened 218 

Glossary 222 

Index 227 

Communication, Affect, & Learning 
I n the Classroom (3''' Ed.) 


Communication, Affect, & Learning in the Classroom was original publisined by 
Virginia Riclnmond and Joan Gorinam in 1992 and tinen updated a decade later by Virginia 
Richmond, Jason S. Wrench, and Joan Gorham in 2001. As we enter into the revision of the 
3"^^ edition of the text, the basic content has not been drastically altered over the years. 
However, the research in Instructional Communication has clearly become more prominent 
and stronger. Probably the single most important development in the past two decades was 
the publication of the Handboola of Instructional Communication: Rhetorical and Relational 
Perspectives edited by Mottet, Richmond, and McCroskey (2006). The purpose of the 
handbook was to synthesize the first three decades of research in instructional 
communication into a single volume that could help both researchers and instructors 
understand the value of communication in the instructional process. 

Within the Handbook of Instructional Communication, Mottet, Frymier, and Beebe 
(2006) proposed the rhetorical/relational goal theory of instructional communication. There 
are two historic traditions examined within human communication: rhetorical and relational. 
"These two traditions also reflect two of the primary purposes we have when 
communicating: (1) to influence and/or achieve goals and (2) to develop and maintain 
relationships" (Mottet et al., 2006, p. 266). Both teachers and students have rhetorical and 
relational goals within the classroom setting. Students in the instructional context have both 
academic needs (ability to make good grades) and relational needs (feel affirmed as a 
person). While not all students are driven by academic and relational needs the same way, 
meeting these needs is important for successful instructional outcomes. Teachers, on the 
other hand, are basically driven by the two primary communicative goals. 

First, teachers have specific rhetorical goals, therefore "teachers focus on influencing 
students to learn and understand the content as presented by the teacher" (Mottet et al., 
2006, p. 267). Second, teachers have specific relational goals, or communicative goals 
associated with establishing specific types of relationships teachers want to have with their 
students (Mottet & Beebe, 2006). Teachers who emphasize relational goals attempt to 
create closer relationships with their students; whereas, teachers who deemphasize 
relational goals will attempt to create more relational distance between themselves and 
their students. 

Preface - i 

Historically, the two communicative goals described above (rhetorical & relational) 
have been described as instructor-centered (focus is on the content) or student-centered 
(focus is on the receiver); with instructor-centered and student-centered teaching existing 
on a continuum (Chall, 2000). Mottet et al. (2006) argue that the two teaching goals may 
not be a dialectic of teaching, but instead are two basic goals that are relatively independent 
of each other. In fact, teachers who emphasize both rhetorical and relational goals in the 
classrooms are probably the most likely to satisfy students' academic and relational needs 
within the classroom, which leads to both an increase in student motivation and positive 
academic outcomes. Furthermore, Mottet et al. argue that teachers who emphasize both 
relational and rhetorical goals will more "successfully utilize communication behaviors such 
as immediacy, relevance, clarity, and compliance-gaining to achieve those goals are most 
likely to meet students' relational and academic needs" (p. 269). If, however, a teacher 
emphasizes one goal over the other, then he or she is naturally limiting her or his ability to 
meet all student relational and academic needs. While rhetorical and relational goals are 
important at all education levels, Mottet et al. predict that as "students mature and develop, 
their relational needs lessen, however, some students will always desire affirmation from 
their teachers and need ego support to maintain motivation for the course" (p. 269). In 
essence, as students age, the relational needs are probably not as important as their 
academic needs. 

When examining rhetorical and relational goals within the classroom, the necessity of 
affective learning becomes very obvious. As Mottet and Beebe (2006) noted, "Most students 
do not come to the classroom inherently valuing what learning is prescribed. They must be 
taught how to value knowledge" (p. 9). In essence, affective learning is the foundation of 
any kind of cognitive or psychomotor learning, so it should be the foundation of our 
rhetorical and relational goals in the classroom as well. Too often teachers believe that they 
are hired to teach a specific subject not get the students to like the subject. Unfortunately, 
research has consistently shown us that if students do not like the subject the level of 
cognitive and psychomotor learning greatly diminishes. Wrench, McCroskey, and Richmond 
(2008) noted, "If an individual does not have positive affect for the content or teacher in a 
classroom, it will be very hard for that person to learn [on a cognitive or behavioral level]. 
For this reason, the authors of this text strongly believe that affective learning is by far the 
most important domain of learning because it is the foundation of the other two types of 
learning" (p. 346). In essence, when learners do not have positive affect for either the 
content or the instructor the learning process is diminished. In fact, without positive affect 
the goal of life-long learner that many educators ascribe to is impossible. McCroskey, 

Preface - ii 

Richmond, and McCroskey (2006) noted, "Almost all of our long-term goals for education 
are based on appropriate affective learning. Thus, if we focus all of our attention on short- 
term cognitive and psychomotor objectives, is it any wonder that our long-term objectives 
are not met? (p. 54). 

Who Should Read This Book 

Whether you are a K-12 teacher, a university professor, or a workplace learning and 
performance professional, this book will contain lots of useful information for your 
instructional practice. While there are clear differences in instructional design that are 
necessary when differentiating between traditional students (kindergarten through higher 
education) and adult learners (learning in the workplace), the basic instructional 
communication process has been shown to be very consistent (Beebe, Mottet, & Roach, 
2004; McCroskey, Richmond, McCroskey, 2006). 

For the purposes of the current book, we will be primarily using the words "teacher" 
and "student" within the text. However, these two words could easily be substituted for a 
plethora of different terms: teacher (trainer, facilitator, etc.) or student (learner, trainee, 
etc.). At the same time, this text does not attempt to be an overview of everything 
someone needs to know to be an effective teacher in either educational or workplace 
contexts. There are many books out there that are specifically written to be overviews of 
the instructional process in different educational contexts. Instead, this book is designed to 
demonstrate how teachers can use communication to build an affective learning 
environment and thus increase cognitive and psychomotor learning in the classroom. 

Changes to the 3'^'' Edition 

For the purposes of the 3"^^ Edition to this text, we have updated the research on 
instructional communication within the text. Since the publication of the first edition of this 
book in 1992, the information related to instructional communication has consistently 
gotten stronger. The new research and references will hopefully serve as both a guide for 
further reading and as a guide for your own instructional practices. Furthermore, we have 
updated content throughout the book to clearly represent the current nature of 
communication, affect, and learning in the classroom. The text now represents over 30 
years of research in instructional communication. 

Next, we created a stronger balance between the traditional educational and 
workplace learning implications of the material within this text. According to the 
Competency Study conducted by the American Society for Training and Development in 

Preface - iii 

2004, one of the foundational characteristics of worl<place learning and performance is 
effective communication (Bernthal, Colteryahn, Davis, Naughton, Rothwell, & Wellins, 
2004). In fact, a great deal of the information contained within this book directly relates to 
two of the major areas of expertise for workplace learning and performance professionals: 
designing learning and delivering training. 

Next, we added clear instructional objectives to the beginning of every chapter to aid 
you in your reading. Furthermore, we have also included a glossary at the end of the text to 
help remember and learn key terms discussed throughout the textbook. 

Lastly, we have opted to make this text freely available to anyone who wishes to 
learn more about communication, affect, and learning. In a world where textbooks are 
becoming increasingly more expensive, the open access movement has become more 
prominent. Open access refers to the free distribution of material via the Internet in such a 
way that the material is accessible for all users to read and use. For this reason, we have 
opted to utilize a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 
license. You, as the reader, have free access to use this book in any fashion as long as you 
cite where the material came from and do not make any money off of the book itself. Feel 
free to save this book to your hard drive, print off a copy for your own reading, or e-mail it 
to a friend who could also use this information. If you would prefer to purchase a physical 
copy of the text, you can purchase a copy at Physical 
copies are printed by Cafe Press and sent to you at the cost of printing and shipping. 


We hope that this book helps you foster a more effective and affective learning 
environment for you and your students. Please feel free to e-mail us and let us know how 
you have utilized this book or any comments you have for future editions of this book. 

References and Recommended Readings 

Beebe, S. A., Mottet, T. P., & Roach, K. D. (2004). Training and development: Entiancing 

communication and leaderstiip sfc;7/s. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 
Bernthal, P. R., Colteryahn, K., Davis, P., Naughton, J., Rothwell, W. J., & Wellins, R. 

(2004). ASTD competency study: trapping tiie future - New worlaplace learning and 

performance competencies. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press. 
Chall, J. S. (2000). The academic achievement challenge: What really works in the 

classroom? New York: Guilford. 

Preface - iv 

McCroskey, J. C, Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, L. L. (2006). An introduction to 

communication in ttie classroom: Ttie role of communication in teaching and training. 

Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 
Mottet, T. P., & Beebe, S. A. (2006). Foundations of instructional communication. In, T. P. 

Mottet, V. P. Richmond, & J . C. McCroskey (Eds.), Handbook of instructional 

communication: Rhetorical and relational perspectives (pp. 3-32). Boston: Allyn & 

Mottet, T. P., Frymier, A., & Beebe, S. A. (2006). Theorizing about instructional 

communication. In, T. P. Mottet, V. P. Richmond, & J . C. McCroskey (Eds.), 

Handbook of instructional communication: Rhetorical and relational perspectives (pp. 

255-282). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 
Mottet, T. P., Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (Eds.). (2006). Handbook of instructional 

communication: Rhetorical and relational perspectives. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 
Wrench, J. S., McCroskey, J. C, & Peck-Richmond, V. (2008). Human communication in 

everyday life: Explanations and applications. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 

About the Authors 

Jason S. Wrench, Ed. D. 

Jason S. Wrench (Ed.D., West Virginia University) is an assistant professor in the 
Communication and Media department at the State University of New York at New Paltz. 
Dr. Wrench specializes in workplace learning and performance, or the intersection of 
instructional communication and organizational communication. His varied research 
interests include communibiology, computer-mediated communication, empirical research 
methods, humor, risk/crisis communication, and supervisor-subordinate interactions. 

Dr. Wrench has published five previous books (Intercultural Communication: Power in 
Context, Communication, Affect, and Learning in the Classroom, Principles of Public 
Speaking, Human Communication in Everyday Life: Explanations and Applications, and 
Quantitative Research Methods for Communication: A Hands-On Approach). Furthermore, 
Dr. Wrench has published over 20 research articles that have appeared in various journals: 
Communication Quarterly, Communication Research Reports, Education, Human 
Communication, Journal of Homosexuality, Journal of Intercultural Communication, 
Southern Communication Journal, The Source: A Journal of Education, and The NACADA 
Journal (National Association of Campus Advising). 

Preface - v 

Virginia Pecl< Richmond, Ph.D. 

Dr. Richmond is tine cinair of tine Communication Studies department at tine University of 
Alambama at Birminginam. Dr. Ricinmond is one of tine most distinguisined researciners and 
professors in tine field of inuman communication. Sine \r\as written over fifteen bool<s on 
topics including public speaking, nonverbal communication, instructional communication, 
and communication apprehension. Dr. Richmond has also authored or co-authored twenty- 
five book chapters and published more than twenty-five research articles where she was the 
senior author. 

Dr. Richmond has also won numerous awards for her outstanding teaching and research, 
including an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University System of West Virginia 
Board of Trustees and West Virginia University Institute of Technology. She has received 
distinguished service awards from the World Communication Association and the Eastern 
Communication Association and is a past recipient of the Donald H. Ecroyd and Caroline 
Drummond-Ecroyd Teaching Excellence Award. She was also recognized as one of the top 
ten publishing scholars in major communication journals from 1981 to 1985 and was still 
ranked in the top 15 most published scholars in major communication journals from 1996- 
2001 and has won numerous top paper and book awards. 

Joan Gorham, Ed.D. 

Dr. Gorham is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Eberly College of Arts and 
Sciences at West Virginia University. She was the editor of the Annual Editions: l^ass l^edia 
for McGraw-Hill's Dushkin Publishing Group for over ten years. Dr. Gorham also wrote the 
book Commercial Media and Classroom Teaching. Dr. Gorham has published over 30 peer- 
reviewed articles and numerous book chapters. As an instructor. Dr. Gorham has taught a 
wide range of courses as a public school teacher, university professor, and professional 
consultant. On the graduate level. Dr. Gorham's teaching has primarily centered on 
instructional communication, nonverbal communication, and mediated communication. 

Dr. Gorham was the assistant editor of Adult Education: A Journal of Research and Theory, 
a publication of American Association for Adult and Continuing Education. Dr. Gorham was 
editor of The Speech Communication Teacher, a publication of the National Speech 
Association. Dr. Gorham has also sat on numerous editorial boards and served an outside 
reviewer for many book projects. 

Preface - vi 


Chapter One Objectives 

1. Provide and explain tine definition of inuman communication used in tine textboolc. 

2. Provide and explain the definition of learning used in the textbook. 

3. Provide and explain the definition of instructional communication used in the 

4. Identify and define the three domains of learning. Provide an example of a 
communication message in each of the domains. 

5. Draw the Instructional Communication Model (ICM) and Kibler's General Model for 
Instruction. Label and explain each component of both models. How are the models 
similar? How are the models different? 

6. Be able to explain the ADDIE model of instructional systems design. 

Teaching is about establishing effective and affective communication relationships 
with your students. Effective teachers are effective communicators. They are those who 
understand communication and learning are interdependent and the knowledge and 
attitudes students take with them from the classroom are selectively drawn from a complex 
assortment of verbal and nonverbal messages about the subject, the teacher, and 
themselves. They are those who are more concerned with what the students have learned 
than with what they have taught, recognizing those two things are not necessarily 
synonymous. They are those who consciously and strategically make decisions about both 
what is communicated and how it is communicated. 

Instructional communication is defined as the process of the teacher establishing an 
effective and affective communication relationship with the learner so that the learner has 
the opportunity to achieve the optimum of success in the instructional environment. 
Teaching is about relationships with students and about achievements of students. If you 
ask most teachers why they chose teaching as a career, or why they continue to work in the 
schools, they will tell you it is because of the children. If you ask them what can most 
effectively turn a bad day into a good one, they will tell you it is the moment when the "light 
bulb" goes on, when everything comes together and a student's face lights up with the 
realization that he or she understands. Establishing an effective communication 
relationship means focusing on what is communicated, how it is "packaged" so that 

Chapter One - 1 

students' understanding is maximized, and inow teaciners and students let eacin otiner Icnow 
\r\ov\i tiney are doing. Establisining an affective communication relationsinip means focusing on 
\r\ov\i teaciners and students feel about each other, about the communication process, and 
about what is being taught and learned. The effectiveness of instructional communication is 
highly related to the affective implications of the choices teachers make -- and affective 
outcomes reflect some of the most important objectives of instruction. Consider the 
following examples: 

Example One: Grady is learning to play the piano. His teacher is an effective 
teacher in that she knows how to break the necessary skills into small units. Grady 
has learned how to read music, play chords, and so forth -- technically, he knows 
how to play the piano. However, because his teacher keeps running him through the 
same dexterity exercises over and over again, telling him he shouldn't waste his time 
playing actual songs yet, Grady is bored with the piano. He doesn't practice unless 
somebody makes him, and he really hates being yelled at by his teacher for not 
practicing. Grady doesn't much like either his teacher or his piano lessons. And he's 
not getting very good at playing. He will quit as soon as his parents will let him. 

Example Two: Roxanne is also learning to play the piano. She and her teacher have 
a great time during lessons, picking out fun tunes and playing neat tapes of piano 
music. Roxanne's teacher tells her regularly that she is a very good student, so for a 
while she was thinking she might want to be a concert pianist. However, this teacher 
doesn't have a very good system for teaching how to play; after three years, 
Roxanne still isn't really sure how to play from sheet music. She likes her lessons, 
but she's not learning much from them. Last week she did so badly at her recital that 
she decided she wanted to quit taking lessons. 

Example Three: Meanwhile, down the block. Spike used to take lessons from a 
teacher who was boring, mean, and not very good at teaching. His parents got very 
mad when they found out he was ditching lessons and spending the tuition money 
playing video games at the arcade. Spike's mom was convinced he should learn the 
piano. Now he has a new teacher who is a nice guy, very encouraging and 
enthusiastic. Spike decided the new teacher was OK, but he still had a bad attitude 
toward the piano until he realized that after every lesson he could play a few more 

Chapter One - 2 

riffs, and putting tinem togetiner made really fine music. His friends find this very 
impressive, and Spike can't wait to learn more. 

What have these three piano teachers communicated to their students? Grady's 
teacher taught him to dislike studying piano, that playing the piano was hard work and no 
fun. Grady probably also learned that studying music is a pain and should be avoided in the 
future. He may avoid trying out for the band or chorus in school, and he may have already 
learned to associate music itself with unpleasantness so that he will not even choose to 
listen to much music as he grows older. Since it is very unlikely that these were the 
objectives of Grady's teacher, we must question that teacher's ability to utilize the 
instructional communication process effectively. 

Roxanne's teacher was somewhat more effective. Roxanne learned that music can be 
fun and enjoyable, but she also learned that she had very little musical ability. Her 
self-esteem as a musician is low. It is unlikely Roxanne will take any more music lessons, 
piano or otherwise. She also is unlikely to take the risk of looking bad by joining the band or 
the chorus in school later. But she is likely to appreciate listening to music. She may even 
be willing to sign up for music appreciation classes. Certainly, she will collect albums in the 
future. If Roxanne's teacher's goal was to teach her to play the piano, the teacher wasn't 
successful. However, if the goal was to get Roxanne to enjoy music, the goal was achieved. 
Future teachers will not have to deal with a student who dislikes music, but they may have 
a difficult time getting Roxanne to try performing again. 

Spike's second teacher certainly was more successful with the instructional 
communication process than his first one. Spike likes playing the piano and wants to learn 
more. He is "ready" for that or another teacher to guide him to higher levels of learning. 
However, Spike may now associate his ability to play the piano with peer respect, so we 
don't know how he will respond if he plays something for them that is "sophisticated" or 
"high brow," and they do not like it. Nevertheless, this teacher has demonstrated effective 
use of the instructional communication process. 

Within these examples, there are several variables at work: the teacher, the content 
of the lessons, the instructional strategy, the student, feedback or evaluation, and the 
learning environment or context in which instruction occurs. Working together, these 
elements define the instructional communication process. 

Chapter One - 3 

The Instructional Communication Process 

Instructional communication is a process in which the teacher selects and arranges 
what the students are to learn (the content), decides how best to help them learn (the 
instructional strategy), and determines how success in learning will be determined and how 
the students' progress will be communicated by and to them (evaluation/feedback). 

Teacher/Source -^ Content/Message -^ Instructional Strategy/Channel -^ Student/ Receiver 

-p. Evaluation/ Feedback "^ 

Learning Environment / Context 

Figure 1.1 The Instructional Communication Process 

There is a dynamic interplay among the various elements of the process -- what works for 
one teacher, with one group of students may not be the most effective choice for another 
teacher with different students. This process takes place within a given context, or 
environment. The teacher must also take into account the influence of external factors in 
making process- related choices. 

The Teacher 

The teacher directs the instructional communication process. Her or his affective 
orientation toward the content, the instructional strategies, the students, and simply being a 
teacher influences the effectiveness of the process -- and the effectiveness of the process, 
in turn, affects the teacher's affective orientation. Teachers will probably not be effective if 
they do not have sufficient knowledge of the subject areas in which they teach or of the 
appropriate methods for teaching those subjects; however, they also need to like what they 
are doing. Their ability to communicate effectively contributes to the frequency with which 
they see those light bulbs come on in students' eyes, which, in turn, contributes to job 
satisfaction. Teachers -- and the content, strategy, and evaluation/feedback decisions they 
make -- are a primary influence on students' affect toward a subject. 

Chapter One - 4 

The Content 

In 1956, Bloom, Engelhart, Furst, Hill, and Krathwohl published their first volume 
examining how to assess learning in the college classroom with their book Taxonomy of 
Educational Objectives: Tlie Classification of Educational Goals, Handbook I: Cognitive 
Domain. In this book. Bloom et al. discussed that there were three domains of learning 
important for educational researchers to understand: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. 
In any content area, what the teacher teaches should be selected with attention to both 
cognitive and affective learning outcomes. Depending on the subject, there may also be 
psychomotor learning goals. 

Cognitive Learning. According to Bloom et al. (1956), the cognitive domain "includes 
those objectives which deal with the recall or recognition of knowledge and the development 
of intellectual abilities and skills" (p. 7). The researchers noted that most of the research in 
educational psychology, curriculum development, and workplace learning has centered 
around this domain of learning. For this reason, the focus of the first handbook published by 
the Bloom research team focused on the cognitive domain completely. Bloom et al. believed 
that cognitive learning could be organized into six major categories existing on a continue 
from the lowest level of learning (knowledge) to the highest level of learning (evaluation) - 
see Figure 1.2. 

Highest Level of Learning 

1) Evaluation Appraise, assess, or judge the value of information based on 

knowledge and not opinion. 

2) Synthesis Assembling a new whole from parts of existing knowledge. 

3) Analysis Analyzing, comparing, questioning, or disassembling knowledge. 

4) Application Using, demonstrating, or applying what has been previously 

learned in a new situation. 

5) Comprehension Understanding and explaining a sent message using one's own 


6) Knowledge Remember/recalling/defining terms, facts, etc... 

Lowest Level of Learning 
Figure 1.2 Cognitive Learning Levels 

These are listed in order from the most basic to the more difficult. Knowledge and 
comprehension provide an essential foundation for "knowing" a subject, while the higher 

Chapter One - 5 

level abilities contribute to owning the subject. In the preceding example, Spike was hooked 
on learning the piano because he was taught to apply, analyze, and synthesize what he was 
learning each week. 

Affective Learning. The second handbook examining the taxonomy of educational 
objectives was written by Krathwohl, Bloom, and Basia (1964) to examine the affective 
domain of learning. Krathwohl et al. defined the affective domain of learning as one where 
"objectives which emphasize a feeling tone, an emotion, or a degree of acceptance or 
rejection. Affective objectives vary from simple acceptance to selected phenomena to 
complex but inherently consistent qualities of character and conscience" (p. 7). Overall, 
affective learning is learning about "interests, attitudes, appreciations, values, emotional 
sets or biases" (p. 7). Just like cognitive learning, Krathwohl et al. created a taxonomy of 
educational objectives for the affective domain (See Figure 1.3). 

Highest Level of Learning 

Willing to attend to certain phenomena or stimuli. 

Willing to actively seek out and gain satisfaction from a certain 
phenomena or stimuli. 

1) Receiving 

2) Responding 

3) Valuing 

Belief that a phenomena, stimuli, or behavior has worth. 

4) Organization 

Placing new values into systems and ranking them in order of 

5) Characterization 

The individual acts consistently with the values he or she has 

Lowest Level of Learning 

Figure 1.3 Affective Learning Levels 

The affective learning levels vary in terms of degree of internalization; for example, from 
the point at which a student is aware that poetry exists, to being willing to read poetry, to 
reading poetry and liking it, to making an effort to seek out poetry, and, finally, to adopting 
a poetic outlook on life. Spike's piano teacher, knowing of his previous experience with 
learning to play, strategically linked Spike's practice exercises to the jazz sound he already 
liked; and thus, addressed affective as well as cognitive learning goals, the achievement of 
which were interdependent. 

Chapter One - 6 

Psychomotor Learning. The final domain of learning originally discussed by Bloom et 
al. (1956) was psychomotor learning, or the manipulative or motor-skill aspect of learning. 
Krathwohl et al. (1964) defined psychomotor learning as learning that emphasizes "some 
muscular or motor skill, some manipulation of material objects, or some act which requires 
neuromuscular co-ordination" (p. 7). Specifically, psychomotor or behavioral learning 
focuses on an individual's ability to enact the physical parts of specific behaviors. While both 
Bloom et al. (1956) and Krathwohl et al. (1964) list psychomotor learning as a domain of 
learning, they do not focus much attention on psychomotor learning because as Bloom et al. 
(1956) explained "we find so little about it in secondary schools or colleges, that we do not 
believe the development of a classification of these objectives would be very useful" (p. 7- 
8). While Bloom et al. (1956) and Krathwohl et al. (1964) did not find much use in the 
psychomotor domain of learning, individuals in workplace learning have spent a great deal 
of time investigating the instructional process of skills-based learning. Rothwell and Kazanas 
(1994) developed a taxonomy of learning objectives in the psychomotor domain of learning 
(Figure 1.4) 

Highest Level of Learning 

1) Complex Overt Response Performance of a physical task automatically and habitually 

with competence. 

2) Mechanism 

3) Guided Response 

Performance of a physical task without the assistance of 
another person or a job aid. 

Performance of a physical task with some form of assistance 
(either a person or a job aid). 

4) Set 

Preparing for the performance of a specific physical task. 

5) Perception 

Observing the specific behaviors involved with a physical 

Lowest Level of Learning 

Figure 1.4 Psychomotor Learning Levels 

Because of the repetition and rehearsal necessary in learning psychomotor skills, attention 
to affective goals is important. Grady learned the technique of playing the piano, but his 
being forced to practice without variation contributed to his dislike of the skill he acquired 
and diminished his likelihood of using it any more than absolutely necessary. 

Chapter One - 7 

Workplace Learning Note. Workplace learning and performance professionals 
regularly evaluate and discuss the three domains of learning under different terms. As noted 
by Biech (2005) and Biech, Piskurich, and Hodell (2006), the three domains as described by 
Bloom et al. (1956) and Krathwohl et al. (1964) are a little technical and academic 
sounding. For this reason, workplace learning and performance professionals use the 
following alternative names for the three domains: cognitive (knowledge), affect (attitude), 
and psychomotor (skill). Ultimately, the word used to describe the domain of learning isn't 
important at all. What is important is realizing that the three domains of learning must be 
addressed when examining the content within one's classroom. 

The Instructional Strategy 

Instructional strategies are the ways in which teachers design their communication 
to teach the objectives to students. Some teachers, particularly those at the college level, 
seem to be totally unaware that there is any instructional strategy other than lecturing, and 
some do not do that well. Students learn in different ways (this is discussed in Chapter Six), 
and they are likely to have the greatest affect for things that are taught in the way they 
learn best. Varying instructional strategies is necessary to accomplish different levels of 
learning. Most students enjoy learning more when there are regular changes in class 
routine; younger children find it impossible to pay attention without frequent shifts in what 
they are doing. 

The Student 

Students come into learning situations with different affective orientations. Spike's 
bad experience with his first piano teacher created a specific set of circumstances with 
which his second teacher had to deal. Some students will lack confidence in dealing with any 
subject, some in particular subjects, and some not at all. Some students will be better 
equipped than others to make sense of course concepts. Some will have more fragile egos 
than others. Teachers teach individual students, not classes of students. Thus, the collective 
affective atmosphere in a classroom will be determined by each individual student's 

The Feedback/ Evaluation 

Feedback is the response of teachers and students to messages from each other. It 
serves three primary functions: (1) assisting teachers in determining whether the 
instructional process choices they have made are appropriate; (2) assisting students in 

Chapter One - 8 

determining winetiner or not tineir interpretation of winat tiney tlninl< tine teaciner inas 
communicated is correct; and (3) increasing tine lil<elilnood of understanding. Feedbacl< 
from students to teaciners lets teaciners l<now tiney are accomplisining tineir goals, and lets 
them correct problems before affect is diminished. Feedback from teachers to students 
accomplishes the same goals. When evaluating students' performance (on some sort of 
graduated scale, such as grades) is necessary, teachers will want to be attentive to whether 
their students' interpretation of what is meant by an individual grade matches the intended 
message. Roxanne's piano teacher told her that she was a very good student, meaning that 
she was prompt, pleasant, and enthusiastic. Roxanne interpreted her teacher's praise as an 
evaluation of her ability and skill. Thus, she eagerly sought an opportunity to perform in the 
citywide recital. Affect will be severely compromised if students are placed in a situation 
where they are evaluated on their ability to perform behaviors we have not effectively 
taught them, as was the case in Roxanne's recital. 

The Learning Environment/ Instructional Context 

The instructional context refers to the physical and/or psychological circumstances in 
which learning takes place. There have been numerous studies which have demonstrated 
the effect of physical surroundings on people's affective responses to what happens within 
those surroundings. For example, diners eating the same meal, prepared at an independent 
location, will evaluate the food as tastier when it is served in a fine restaurant than when it 
is served in a school cafeteria. Similarly, the degree to which students feel comfortable and 
in control of their destiny contributes to their affective response to instruction. 

Kibler's Model of I nstruction 

Teachers with a communication-oriented view of instruction draw on the principles of 
learning that have been proposed as a result of studies in behavioral and educational 
psychology. Learning is seen as behavioral change; as such, it can be fostered by teacher 
communication which reinforces desired behaviors, punishes undesirable behaviors, models 
(providing examples for students to emulate), shapes (reinforcing behaviors that 
approximate the target behavior so that students gradually come closer to the goal), or 
coaches (actively intervening during a student's performance of a behavior to give 
suggestions for modification). Communication-oriented instruction is based on teachers' 
developing a systematic process for assessing students' entry level cognitive, affective, and 
behavioral base lines, structuring activities that build on that assessment, and evaluating 

Chapter One - 9 

learning outcomes during and after instruction. If learning is not taking place, 
communication oriented teachers' look for ways to change the communication process. 

Instructional Objectives -^ Preassessment -^ Instructional Procedures -^ Evaluation 

- Feedback Loop 4 

Figure 1.5 Kibler's Model of Instruction 

Robert Kibler, one of the first specialists in instructional communication, and his 
associates proposed a communication-oriented model of instruction based on four elements: 
Instructional Objectives, Preassessment, Instructional Procedures, and Evaluation. In 
following this model, teachers engage in an essentially rhetorical process. 

Instructional Objectives 

They begin by carefully and clearly specifying their goals as instructional objectives, 
a task which is discussed elsewhere in this book. In doing so, they consider what students 
are able to do before the unit, what they should be able to do in subsequent units and at 
the end of their education, their own capabilities as teachers, and available instructional 
resources. They examine these objectives to make sure that they are of the level and type 
actually desired -- for example, by classifying the desired cognitive outcomes as relating to 
knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, or evaluation -- and think 
carefully about the behaviors that will indicate that students have achieved the objective. 


Having determined these instructional goals, teachers move on to assessing the 
students' existing knowledge and behavioral capabilities and determining appropriate 
instructional activities. At this stage in the process, objectives may be modified to omit 
instruction in areas in which students are already proficient or to add prerequisite 
instruction to develop skills students will need to enable them to fully participate in the 
planned instructional activities. 

Chapter One - 10 

Instructional Procedures 

The instructional procedures are tinen implemented through selecting available 
materials, developing new materials, and developing a sequential plan that appears to be 
the most efficient means of achieving the desired objectives. Feedback is provided to let 
students know how they are doing throughout the instruction. 


At the end of the unit, the students' success in achieving the stated goals is 
evaluated. If all, or almost all, of the students have not been successful in mastering the 
objectives possible, reasons are considered: Were the objectives unrealistic? Were 
additional skills training necessary prior to beginning the unit? Did the unsuccessful students 
need more motivation to master the material? Would different instructional procedures be 
more effective? Did the students need more time? Was the measurement of success 
appropriate? Based on these considerations, appropriate modifications in the objectives, 
preassessment procedures, instruction, or postinstruction evaluation are made. 

Feedback Loop 

This model of the instructional process views instruction much as a communication 
campaign. The goal is set, the audience is analyzed, the strategies are determined, the 
strategies are implemented, the results are assessed, if strategies need to be revised they 
are revised, the revised strategies are implemented, and so on. Instruction, then, is seen as 
applied instance of normal effective communication systems (McCroskey, 1998). 

A communication-oriented approach to instruction assumes that teachers are able to 
logically and dispassionately analyze their instructional goals and that they are willing to 
take considerable responsibility for the outcomes of instruction. At the heart of this model is 
the perspective that, when objectives are not accomplished, it is the instruction (the set of 
communication strategies), rather than the students or the teacher that failed. 

At its extreme, this approach can be criticized for being overly mechanistic because it 
requires that all intended learning outcomes must be reduced to observable behaviors, and 
for ignoring the personalities at each end of the instructional communication process. It is, 
however, oriented toward accountability and challenges teachers to examine their 
responsibility in structuring their communication to maximize learning outcomes. 

Chapter One - 11 

The ADDIE Model 

In 1975, a group of researchers at Florida State University developed the ADDIE 
(Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, & Evaluation) Model of instructional 
design for the US Armed Services (Branson, Rayner, Cox, Furman, King, & Hannum, 1975). 
At the time, the term "ADDIE" was not used, but rather "SAT" (Systems Approach to 
Training), which ultimately became "ISD" (Instructional Systems Design). Watson (1981), 
another Florida State University professor, later updated the ADDIE model to make it more 
generalizable across instructional situations. Currently, the ADDIE Model is probably the 
most widely utilized and discussed model of instructional design and contains many of the 
same components of the Kibler Model. Probably the biggest difference between the two 
models is the location and purpose of the preassessment. Where the Kibler Model starts 
with the development of instructional objectives, the ADDIE Model starts with an 
assessment of learner's needs and current knowledge related to the topic of interest. The 
rest of this section is going to break down the five parts of the ADDI E Model. 


According to Biech, Piskurich, and Hodell (2006), the analysis phase of the ADDIE 
Model "is the process of gathering data to identify specific needs - the who, what, where, 
when, and why of the design process" (p. 30). The analysis phase helps teachers and 
instructional designers determine three basic aspects of learning: knowledge level, learning 
needs, and appropriateness of instruction. 

First, during the analysis phase, the teacher or instructional designer attempts to 
determine the current level of knowledge target learners have about a specific topic. One of 
the biggest missteps teachers and instructional designers can make is to under or 
overestimate the knowledge target learners possess. All teachers have found themselves in 
instructional situations where the learners were either completely not prepared for the 
content of the lesson or the lesson was too basic for the learners. 

I n addition to determine knowledge level, another fundamental aspect of the analysis 
phase is to ascertain what the learning needs actually are. Often people know that there is a 
problem, but are not sure where the disconnect is occurring. For this reason, teachers and 
instructional designers are often called upon to determine what the learning need actually 
is. For example, one of the authors has a grade school teacher friend who recently found 
out that a student failed the reading portion of a major standardized test. At first thought, 
some suspected that the student may not be able to actually read. After analyzing the 
student in various situations, it was determined that the student could read perfectly and 

Chapter One - 12 

had no problem with word recognition or recall. The disconnect occurred when the student 
was asked to analyze what he had read. In essence, the student could read the words but 
was then unable to do anything with what he had read. Going back to Bloom's taxonomy of 
cognitive learning, the student had knowledge of reading but could not comprehend the 
reading. For this reason, spending a lot of energy focusing on the knowledge aspects of 
reading with this student would not help the student progress and increase his 

The last part of the analysis phase of the ADDIE Model is determining whether or not 
instruction is the appropriate response. Whether it's in a traditional classroom or the 
corporate learning environment, there are some individuals who will ascribe every problem 
to a lack of instruction without seeing if there other systematic causes of problems. For 
example, many organizations will mandate diversity training programs after a discrimination 
lawsuit is filed against the organization. However, if the organization's culture permits and 
encourages workplace discrimination, then a simple training session may not effectively fix 
the problem. Often problems arise for many reasons that have nothing to do with actual 
instruction. Unfortunately, organizations (both corporate and academic) often like to fix 
problems with learning thinking that learning will be a quick fix. However, if the problem is 
caused by a non- learning source, instruction may not fix the problem or even exacerbate 
the problem further. Solid analysis can often determine if the underlying problem is related 
to instructional or other issues. 


Once a teacher or instructional designer has determined that instruction is the 
appropriate method for handling a problem, the second step in the ADDIE Model is 
examined. Whether designing a specific instructional module (a sequence of instruction 
centered around one content area) or an entire course (a longer sequence of learning 
containing multiple modules), the design step is very important. The Design step of the 
ADDIE Model is the part of the instructional process where a teacher or instructional 
designer determines the objectives of learning, how learning will eventually be evaluated, 
and establish a learning design plan. In the next chapter, we will discuss the creation of 
instructional objectives in a lot more detail. 

Thinking about evaluation during the design phase is very important because it 
establishes an end-point or target for the instructional process. Whether you are focusing on 
cognitive, affective, or psychomotor learning, knowing how you will measure specific 
learning endpoints is very important. For example, if your instructional objective is to 

Chapter One - 13 

increase affective learning, evaluating your learners using a multiple-choice test, which 
really only measures cognitive recall, is not the most appropriate evaluation method. 

Lastly, during the design step of the ADDIE model, teachers and instructional 
designers create a design plan. A design plan is a blueprint for developing the content of the 
course. A good design plan starts with the basic objectives of the instructional module and 
any additional materials that may be needed. Some possible materials that may be listed in 
a design plan are "printed materials; scripts and storyboards for computer-based projects; 
evaluation materials including tests, quizzes, and other formal evaluations; lesson plans; 
staff assignments and responsibilities; and a project management plan that includes 
milestones and deadlines" (Biech et al., 2006, p. 33). 


Once teachers and/or instructional designers have completed the design plan, the 
actual process of building an instructional module begins. Whether the design phase is more 
theoretical, the development phase is the theory in practice. It's one thing to know that you 
need to address a specific content issue (design), and another thing to develop a game that 
helps learners understand the content issue (development). Whether a teacher and/or 
instructional designer is designing learning for a physical classroom or an online classroom, 
everything that learners will come in contact with are developed and tested during this 
phase of the ADDIE Model. Often during this phase of the ADDIE Model, teachers and/or 
instructional designers will actually create learning materials and then pilot test the 
materials by seeing how they work with actual learners. Pilot testing can provide much 
needed feedback for teachers and instructional designers because they can determine 
whether or not the instructional materials and strategies are effective before deploying the 
materials and strategies to a larger audience. 

I mplementation 

The fourth phase of the ADDIE Model involves the implementation of the learning 
module or course with our actual learners. In an ideal world, we would all be able to pilot 
test our instructional strategies before implementing them in a classroom during the 
development phase, but quite often piloting materials, modules, and courses gets skipped 
because either there is no participant pool for piloting materials or because of time factors. 
More often than not actual learners become the first guinea pigs for our newly developed 
instructional materials and strategies. 

Chapter One - 14 


In the ADDIE model, the final phase of instructional development is the evaluation 
phase. In the evaluation phase, teachers and instructional designers have two basic goals - 
measure the effectiveness of the learning materials and determine participant learning. 
While feedback has been a constant along the instructional design process, the evaluation 
phase is all about feedback. First, teachers and instructional designers can ascertain 
whether or not a specific instructional material or strategy doesn't work. We've all had 
instructional materials and strategies that have just bombed in the classroom. Ultimately, 
teachers and instructional designers must determine if a specific material or strategy isn't 
working because it is faulty or the specific audience had problems. For this reason, we 
always recommend trying something twice with two different groups. If you find a specific 
instructional material or strategy doesn't work with both groups, chances are you need to 
rethink the material or strategy or drop them from the learning module altogether. 

In addition to determine if our instructional materials and strategies are working, the 
evaluation phase also is when we determine if cognitive, affective, and psychomotor 
learning have actually occurred. While the evaluation strategies were determined during the 
design phase, the implementation of those evaluation strategies occurs during the 
evaluation phase of the ADDIE Model. We'll discuss instructional evaluation in much greater 
detail in Chapter 8. 


The following chapters will elaborate on specific aspects of the instructional 
communication process. Many of the chapters suggest ways in which teachers can establish 
and nurture both effective and affective communication relationships that maximize their 
students' opportunity to achieve the optimum of success in the instructional environment. 

References and Recommended Readings 

Biech, E. (2005). Training for dummies: A reference for ttie rest of us! Hoboken, NJ : Wiley. 
Biech, E., Piskurich, G., & Hodell, C. (2006). Designing learning: ASTD learning system 

module 1. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press. 
Bloom, B. S., Englehart, M. D., Furst, E. J., Hill, W. H. & Krathwohl, D. R. (1956). Taxonomy 

of educational objectives- -the classification of educational goals, handbook I: 

Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay. 
Branson, R. K., Rayner, G. T., Cox, J . L., Furman, J . P., King, F. J ., & Hannum, W. H. (1975, 

August). I nterservice procedures for instructional systems development. (5 vols.) 

Chapter One - 15 

(TRADOC Pam 350-30 & NAVEDTRA 106A). Ft. Monroe, VA: U.S. to Army Training 

and Doctrine Command, (NTIS No. ADA 019 486 tinrougin ADA 019 490). 
Hurt, H. T., Scott, M. D., & |vlcCrosl<ey, J. C. (1978). Communication in ttie classroom. 

(Cinapters 1, 2 and 3). Reading, JVIA: Addison- Wesley. 
Kibler, R.J., Cegala, D.J., Watson, K.W., Barl<er, L.L. & JVliles, D.T. (1981). Objectives for 

instruction and evaluation, 2nd edition. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 
Kratinwoinl, D.R., Bloom, B.S. & Masia, B.B. (1964). Taxonomy of educational 

objectives- -the classification of educational goals, handbook IT. Affective domain. 

New York: David McKay. 
McCroskey, J. C. (1998). An introduction to communication in the classroom (2"^ Ed.). 

Acton, MA: Tapestry Press. 
Richmond, V. P. (1990). Communication in the classroom: Power and motivation. 

Communication Education, 39, 181-195. 
Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (1993). Communication: Overview and 

framework. In M. J . O'Hair & S. J . O'Dell (Eds.). Diversity and teaching, (pp. 165- 
174). New York: Harcourt Brace Javanovich. 
Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (1992). Power in the classroom: Communication, 

control, and concern. (Eds.). Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum Associates. 
Rothwell, W., & Kazanas, H. (1994). Human resource development: A strategic approach 

(rev. ed.). Amherst, MA: Human Resource Development Press. 
Rothwell, W., & Kazanas, H. C. (2008). Mastering the instructional design process: A 

systematic approach (4"^ ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer. 
Watson, R. (1981, October). Instructional System Development. In a paper presented to the 

I nternational Congress for Individualized Instruction. EDRS publication ED 209 239. 

Chapter One - 16 



Chapter Two Objectives 

1. Provide a definition of tine message component of tine ICJVl. Give an example of an 
affective, beinavioral, and a cognitive message. Also, explain when and how to use 
instructional objectives 

2. Provide a definition of instructional objectives. Discuss why systems want lOs to be 
used by teachers. 

3. Identify six classroom outcomes that may result from employing instructional 

It is vital that teachers be able to communicate their instructional goals to their 
students. If you are a member of the American Automobile Association (AAA), you know its 
agents can be a great help in planning for a trip. All you have to do is tell them where you 
want to go and they can put together a TripTik for you, assembling a stack of those little 
strip maps that show various highways and byways across North America. If you are headed 
from New York to California, they can plot out a northern route, a southern route, or a 
central route that all will have you end up in the same place. But before anyone can begin 
to show you a travel route, you have to be able to tell them where it is you want to end up. 
And if you don't know where you're going, you won't know when you get there. You won't 
even know if you never get there! 

Planning an instructional unit, a course, or an overall curriculum is, in many ways, 
like planning a trip. There are a lot of different places to go, and a lot of different ways to 
get to most of them, but before you can begin to plan how to get where you want to go you 
have to decide where you want to end up. Instructional and goal objectives (IGOS) are a 
means of clarifying that decision. 

Tyler (1949) suggests there are four fundamental questions that must be answered 
in developing any curriculum or plan of instruction: 

1. What outcomes should the school (course, a unit) seek to attain? 

2. What experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these outcomes? 

3. How can these experiences be effectively organized? 

4. How can we determine whether these outcomes are being attained? 

Chapter Two - 17 

The first question concerns objectives, tine focus of tine present cinapter; tine next two 
questions address communication strategies for acinieving tinose objectives, winicin will be 
the concern of Chapters 3, 4 and 5; and the final question concerns determining whether 
our communication strategies were effective, the subject of Chapter 6. The first question 
must be answered before the others should even be considered. 

The idea of writing instructional objectives is certainly not new. Writers in the field of 
Communication have stressed the importance of determining one's purpose and objective 
before preparing to speak for more than 2,000 years, since the days of Aristotle and Cicero. 
For the last 40 years or so, methods of preparing instructional objectives have been taught 
to a couple generations of teachers during their preservice training; a practice which was 
abandoned as a meaningful planning mechanism by many of them as soon as they got into 
their own classrooms. This chapter will discuss why some teachers resent instructional 
objectives, why they are of critical value, and what they should communicate. 

Why Some Teachers Resent Objectives 

Some teachers resent instructional objectives because they are mechanistic. Having 
been taught that a proper objective contains specific components, which must be stated in 
behavioral terms, they find the task of writing them an exercise in fitting square pegs into 
round holes and quickly abandon them. "I know what I'm trying to accomplish," they say, 
"but I can't express it in such simplistic terms. Teaching is an art, not a science." Some 
teachers resent instructional objectives because they are required in a certain quantity, in a 
specified form, by a certain day, to be submitted to some administrator or administrative 
agency for no clearly apparent reason. They are perceived as an assignment -- homework -- 
and are resented as an indication that someone out there doesn't have confidence that 
teachers are doing their jobs well without them. 

Some teachers dislike instructional objectives because they are used to playing 
things by ear and the thought of doing long-range planning makes them nervous. Some 
teachers dislike instructional objectives because they are afraid (sometimes with just cause) 
they will be held accountable for their students' achievement of those goals and punished 
for their lack of achievement. Teachers who operate from this perspective are likely to 
reduce their objectives to the lowest common denominator of their expectations for their 

One of the authors has a friend who used to work for a company that required its 
management level employees to write a set of performance objectives for themselves each 
year. On the occasion of their annual salary review, they turned in their objectives for the 

Chapter Two - 18 

next year. The supervisor then pulled out last year's list and proceeded to award points for 
each objective that had been accomplished. Since the points translated directly into 
determining the amount of their raise in salary, the managers quickly learned to develop 
lists of "objectives" they were already working on or that someone on their staff had already 
accomplished, and to plan several showy but relatively meaningless "accomplishments" 
each year so that their list was not confined to the one or two complex, long-term projects 
that were their real goals. Some of the managers were able to play this game while still 
maintaining a focus on their long-term goals; others began to adapt their jobs to performing 
for the sake of generating objectives. Unfortunately, the supervisor was so caught up in his 
performance appraisal system that he didn't realize what was happening. 

Most of the reasons teachers resent objectives are related to their focusing on the 
product rather than the process of formulating objectives. Rather than beginning by thinking 
"What is it I am trying to accomplish? What do I want my students to know or be able to do 
as a result of their time with me? What kinds of values or attitudes, likes and dislikes would 
I like to reinforce?" Teachers often begin by thinking "How do I write these darn 
statements?" We are not dismissing the value of the "darn statements" that express 
objectives in behavioral terms, but we would encourage teachers to start with expressing 
their goals in a less specified sense. The process of developing instructional objectives can 
and should include some articulation of broad goals, such as "developing a positive 
self-esteem" or "teaching skills and knowledge that will be necessary for students to 
function in a technological society" or "increasing students' appreciation for poetry." Such 
broad goals provide a framework for developing specific objectives. They are the beginning 
of a process of clarification. 

The Value of Objectives 

Objectives have informative and communicative value for teachers, students, 
administrators, parents, and the community at large. They provide an answer to the 
question "Why am I (or are you) doing this?" They help students understand the direction a 
unit or course of study is taking so they can direct their attention to important concepts and 
skills instead of trying to guess what the teacher wants of them. They help students assess 
how they are doing throughout the unit rather than being surprised by their final grades. 
Objectives help the teacher to choose content, activities, and instructional materials with a 
coherent sense of purpose. They make evaluation easier, directing the kinds of questions 
that should be on a test, the criteria against which an essay or project assignment should 
be assessed, and so forth. They provide direct feedback to the teacher regarding how well 

Chapter Two - 19 

he or she is doing; rather than the feeling of being an entertainer or a warden (depending 
on the particular class and the teacher's point of view!). Teachers are able to clearly see the 
results of their instructional efforts. 

Objectives are an important step in being able to communicate clearly and 
convincingly to those outside the school who demand accountability for what is happening 
inside the classroom walls. Not only are they a means of communicating goals, they are 
likely to enhance the achievement of those goals. They can provide a helpful framework for 
articulating the efforts of various teachers who teach the same subject or grade level, or for 
teachers who teach sequential courses in a subject area. Therefore, third grade teachers 
can have a very clear idea of what the second grade teachers taught in language arts, and 
what the fourth grade teachers expect of students when they are promoted. While some 
teachers initially see efforts to articulate objectives with other teachers as constraining, 
doing so is actually a very liberating activity. If the three teachers who handle eighth grade 
science agree on a common set of objectives, they do not have to agree to approach those 
objectives in the same way. Each teacher can incorporate specific strategies and activities 
with which he or she is the most comfortable without raising a concern that students are 
learning fundamentally different things in the various sections of the course. They allow 
teachers the freedom to take their own route to an agreed upon destination. 

J ust as writing a list of "things to do" often helps to buffer a feeling of being 
overwhelmed with necessary tasks, and writing a letter to a friend helps the writer tame 
free-floating anxieties by anchoring them to words, the process of writing out objectives can 
psychologically anchor the various guilt-provoking "I should be" or "I should have" 
self-evaluation statements teachers often use on themselves. There is a limit to what any 
one individual, or institution, can accomplish in molding children's knowledge, attitudes, and 
behaviors. Having expressed one's priorities in a tangible form, teachers are better able to 
convince themselves that they are indeed accomplishing what they "should" be 

What Objectives Should Communicate 

Instructional objectives should, in their most complete form, communicate clearly 
and concisely what is to be learned and how it will be demonstrated. Although the format of 
individual objectives may vary, they should address five points: 

Chapter Two - 20 

1. Who is to perform the desired act? 

The phrase "the student will be able to" emphasizes the fact that effectiveness of 
instruction will be assessed in terms of what the student can do as a result of the instruction 
rather than what the teacher does during the course of instruction. 

2. What behavior will serve as evidence that the instructional goal has been 

This part of the objective is an action verb. Verbs that are open to a variety of 
interpretations (such as "to know," "to appreciate," or "to understand") are not as helpful 
as those that specify an observable action (such as "to solve," "to write," "to identify," "to 
list," "to compare," or "to construct"). 

3. What is the object of the action verb? 

In other words, what exactly will the students be asked to do to demonstrate that 
the objective has been mastered? For example, "The student will be able to identify the 
counties in Indiana" or "The student will be able to write five paragraphs analyzing the 
effectiveness of a problem-solving task by using the steps of the problem-solving 
sequence." Figure 2.1 lists some possible action verbs that could be utilized for each of the 
three domains of learning 

Learning Domain 

Related Action Verbs 








































set up 



















Chapter Two - 21 

































follow along 



identify with 





be alert to 




listen to 

show tolerance of 

carry out 


















































Figure 2.1 Action Verbs for the Learning Domains 

4. Under what conditions -- witti wtiat limitations and constraints -- will the 

behaviors be performed? 

This part of the objective statement provides the teacher and the student with a 
description of how the evaluation of whether or not the objective has been mastered will be 
conducted. Examples might be: "Given an outline map with the counties marked but not 
named, the student will be able to identify the counties in Indiana" or "Following group 
participation in the 'Who Should Survive?' problem-solving exercise, and subsequent 
instruction in the steps of the problem-solving sequence, the student will be able to write 

Chapter Two - 22 

five paragraphs analyzing tine effectiveness of tine group in terms of inow tine steps of tine 
problem-solving process were or were not applied." 

5. What standards will be applied to evaluate whether or not the student's 

performance is an acceptable indication of mastery? 

Completing the examples with which we have been working, the final objectives 
might be as follows: "Given an outline map with the counties marked but not named, the 
student will be able to identify the counties in Indiana with at least 80% accuracy" and 
"Following group participation in the 'Who Should Survive?' problem-solving exercise, and 
subsequent instruction in the steps of the problem-solving sequence, the student will be 
able to write five paragraphs analyzing the effectiveness of the group in terms of how the 
steps of the problem-solving process were or were not applied. Satisfactory papers will 
address each of the five problem-solving steps explained in the textbook and relate each of 
the steps to explaining the effectiveness of actual groups' process." 

Instructional objectives can -- and should -- include desired cognitive, affective, and 
psychomotor learning outcomes. Psychomotor and lower level cognitive learning objectives 
(those requiring knowledge or comprehension) are usually the easiest to write because the 
behaviors and standards for evaluation are the most easily translated to the kinds of 
assignments, test questions, and skill demonstrations that are typically included in a unit or 
course to determine students' grades. Teachers often use classroom activities to foster 
higher level cognitive learning (application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation), but they 
may be less accustomed to defining means of evaluating the attainment of those objectives. 
Tests and assignments that can be evaluated on a percent correct basis are frequently not 
the most appropriate means of assessing whether these objectives have been accomplished 
and, because they are not, teachers assume that having such objectives is incompatible 
with the recommendation that instructional objectives should communicate conditions and 
standards of evaluation as well as behaviors. 

The central question in clarifying such objectives should be, "How will I tell if this 
activity has been successful in fostering/demonstrating what was intended?" Thus, 
following a unit on the parts of a story, after students have demonstrated that they can 
define the terms protagonist, antagonist, climax, irony, and moral, and that they can 
identify these elements in stories they read, they might be assigned a synthesis task for 
which the objective is "Working in groups of five or six for one hour, students will be able to 
create and perform a skit in which the protagonist, antagonist, climax, irony and moral are 
recognizable to the teacher and to their peers." The evaluation standards specified here 

Chapter Two - 23 

may or may not be part of assigning students a grade; tine important aspect of tine 
evaluation component of tine objective is its clarifying what will provide evidence of 
students' attaining the objective of synthesis. 

Clarifying the behavioral demonstration and assessment aspects of affective 
objectives can be similarly challenging; however, doing so is a worthwhile process in that it 
reinforces the salience of such objectives as legitimate instructional goals. Some examples 
of means of observing and evaluating evidence of affective outcomes might be: 

Having been given the opportunity to submit essays to the local newspaper's annual 
contest, 70% of students will voluntarily choose to do so. 

In examining records of the reading material students select for their weekly free 
reading period, there will be evidence that students more frequently choose works by 
authors whose stories were read in class after being introduced to the author than before 
that time. 

Given the opportunity to list ways that knowledge of mathematics can be used in 
everyday life, the student will list more practical applications at the end of the course than 
they did at the beginning. 

Given precourse and postcourse administrations of self- perceived communication 
competence scales, 85% of students will score higher on the second administration than 
they did on the first. 

A teacher's statements of affective objectives might not be shared with the students 
and will probably not suggest measures that figure into a grading scheme. Indeed, telling 
students explicitly that they should be reading books by the authors to whom they have 
been introduced in class and awarding points for doing so will probably compromise this 
observation's intent as a measure of an affective outcome, since students may then be 
selecting books for points rather than because they have been moved to want to read those 
books. Clarifying such objectives, however, takes the teacher through a process of 
determining ways in which the attainment of such reasonable and valid goals as increasing 
student confidence in a skill or enhancing appreciation of an area of study can be assessed. 
The ability to do so provides valuable information to the teacher as he or she considers 
variations in instructional communication process, and also allows these accomplishments to 
be communicated to parents and administrators in concrete terms. 

Cognitive and psychomotor learning objectives may, likewise, not always be 
communicated in their complete form to students. When the teacher has decided that the 
attainment of certain objectives will be measured via the students' ability to correctly 
answer a set of test questions, the list of "objectives" provided to students might include 

Chapter Two - 24 

only the information witin v\i\r\\c\r\ tiney sinould be familiar and an indication of what they will 
be expected to do to demonstrate their knowledge on the test. Thus, objectives provided to 
the students might read: 

Following participation in class and completion of the assigned readings, the student 
will be able to: 

1. Identify the three domains of learning. 

2. Write an instructional objective that contains all five of the recommended 

3. Discuss the value of instructional objectives. 

In this case, the teacher has already communicated to the students that mastery of these 
particular objectives will be evaluated via a test or quiz and has separately discussed with 
them the conditions under which the quiz will be administered and the standards for 
evaluation. These are not all of the teacher's objectives for the unit and they are not written 
with all of their components. Rather, they are a simplified version of the particular 
objectives that will be assessed by the students' completion of a single task, and they help 
the students direct their review and rehearsal time toward working with central concepts. 

Sometimes teachers are criticized by their colleagues for providing students with 
specific objectives, arguing that students then study only what they know they will be held 
accountable for. This criticism may be more valid when students are given simplified study 
objectives at the start of a unit of instruction, since some of them then might selectively 
attend only to information they know will be on the test. If, however, objectives are 
distributed after a unit has been completed, but prior to the administration of a test, 
research evidence suggests that students are likely to attend to and retain a great deal of 
incidental information during the course of instruction. It is their final review that will be 
concentrated on the most relevant information, and more of them will be successful in 
moving that information into memory. Because the objectives reflect the teacher's careful 
thought and prior definition of what students who have mastered an area of study should 
know, feel, or be able to do, it makes perfect sense to focus their attention on achieving 
those goals as they review for a test. 

To return to the travel analogy with which we began this chapter, there are almost 
always many ways to plan a trip to a given destination. Some people prefer a direct and 
efficient route. Some prefer a longer scenic route; some people need to stop frequently to 
rest while others have greater endurance. Someone who knows a territory can direct 
newcomers to the most interesting, meaningful sights and experiences, help them get 

Chapter Two - 25 

tickets to events they might otherwise miss, and l<eep them from getting lost. Before any of 
this planning can begin, we have to decide on a goal -- where we are going, where we want 
to finish. 

It is vital that teachers be able to communicate their instructional goals -- to 
themselves and to others, including their students. Clearly stated, instructional objectives 
allow us to do so. They provide a method for answering accountability questions. They 
clarify what is to be taught and what we will look for to determine whether learning has 
occurred. They help us pinpoint where changes in the instructional communication process 
are needed. While some teachers perceive objectives as confining, they are actually quite 
liberating, allowing us to experiment more freely with communication strategies without 
losing sight of agreed-upon end points. They are an invaluable planning tool. 

References And Recommended Readings 

Beane, J. A., Toepfer, Jr., C. F., & Alessi, Jr., S. J. (1986). Curriculum planning and 

development. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 
Biech, E., Piskurich, G., & Hodell, C. (2006). Designing learning: ASTD learning system 

module 1. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press. 
Bloom, B.S., Englehart, M.D., Furst, E.J., Hill, W.H. & Krathwohl, D.R. (1965). Taxonomy of 

educational objectives--the classification of educational goals, handbook I: Cognitive 

domain. New York: David McKay. 
Borg, W. R., Gall, J. P., & Gall, M. D. (1993). Applying educational research: A practical 

guide. (3rd. Ed.). New York: Longman. 
Ferrarra, F. (1987, April). Let's talk common sense about objectives. Instructor, 16-17. 
Gorham, J. (1990). Individual differences in classroom dynamics. In J .A. Daly, G.W. 

Fried rich & A.L. Vangelisti (Eds.), Teaching communication: Theory, research, and 

methods, (pp. 207-221). Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum. 
Kibler, R.L., Barker, L.L. & Cegala, D.J. (1970). A rationale for using behavioral objectives 

in speech communication instruction. Speech Teacher, 19, 245-256. 
Kibler, R.J., Cegala, D.J., Watson, K.W., Barker, L.L. & Miles, D.T. (1981). Objectives for 

instruction and evaluation. (2nd. Ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 
Krathwohl, D.R., Bloom, B.S. & Masia, B.B. (1964). Taxonomy of educational 

objectives- -the classification of educational goals, handbook II: Affective domain. 

New York: David McKay. 

Chapter Two - 26 

Lawson, K. (2008). Instructional design and development. In E. Biech (Ed.), ASTD 

handbook for workplace learning professionals (pp. 233-250). Alexandria, VA: ASTD 

McCroskey, J . C. (1998). An introduction to communication in the classroom (2"^ Ed.). 

Acton, MA: Tapestry Press. 
Mager, R.F. (1962). Planning instructional objectives. Palo Alto, CA: Fearon. 
Mager, R.F. (1972). Goal analysis. Belmont, CA: Fearon. 
Rothwell, W., & Kazanas, H. C. (2008). Mastering the instructional design process: A 

systematic approach (4"^ ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer. 
Tyler, R.W. (1949). Basic principles of curriculum and instruction. Chicago: University of 

Chicago Press. 

Chapter Two - 27 


Chapter Three Objectives 

9. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of tine lecture as an instructional tool. 

10. Distinguish between open and closed questions. Review each type of questioning. 

11. Review at least six other instructional strategies. 

12. List six guidelines that should be used in choosing instructional strategies for a 
particular unit of instruction. 

Employing a variety of instructional strategies appeals to various learning styles and 
tends to keep teachers and students from becoming mediocre. If we watch children play 
school, we are likely to see them model -- often with amazing and embarrassing accuracy -- 
a traditional, subject- centered model of instruction. The "teacher" talks, writes on the 
board, hands out things, disciplines her or his "students" for talking, and talks some more. 
If, however, we watch a child teach another child how to do something outside of the 
playing school context we are quite likely to see a very different set of dynamics at work. 
The "teacher" demonstrates, asks and answers numerous questions, and enters into a 
highly interactive relationship with the learner. If we watch a child try to learn how 
something works or how to do something on her or his own, we are much more likely to see 
a hands-on, investigative approach than one in which the child goes first to the directions to 
find out exactly how he or she is "supposed to" proceed. We also see children totally caught 
up in the stories of an expressive storyteller, and mesmerized by television's auditory and 
visual stimulation. Left to their own devices, children seem intuitively aware that there are 
lots of ways to learn, most of which they willingly and regularly seek out. 

Most teachers are quite aware there are numerous strategies available for 
consideration when deciding how to design a unit of instruction. Most teachers are also 
aware of the advantages of various strategies; if, in practice, they show a heavy preference 
for one particular approach, that preference might be the result of a belief in its superiority 
or of their lack of experience in using other approaches. For example, subject- centered 
teachers often tend to lean toward lectures because they believe that they are the most 
efficient means of moving through information in quantity, and because that is how they 
were taught. Learner-centered teachers tend to favor group discussion, while 
process-centered teachers believe in using a blend of strategies that package information in 

Chapter Three - 28 

redundant modules. Sometimes teachers avoid a particular strategy because they 
personally do not learn well with that approach. 

This chapter will address ways to maximize the advantages (and minimize the 
disadvantages) of five instructional strategies: The lecture, class discussion, skill lessons, 
small group activities, and resource- based instruction. Each of these strategies involves a 
different context for communication, hence is likely to be more effective for some kinds of 
objectives than others. We will approach these strategies in terms of defining the teacher's 
role in each situation and examining its appropriateness in achieving a given lesson's 
objectives, including those related to affective responses. 

The Teacher as a Speaker 

When we think of lecturing as a method of instruction, we often think first of our 
college classes in which we may have experienced lectures as "a device for getting notes 
from the notebook of the professor to the notebook of the student without going through 
the head of either" (Walker and Scott, 1962, p. 113). Teachers at the secondary and 
elementary levels seldom use extended discourse as exclusively as do some college 
teachers, but any time a teacher assumes the role of information-giver, speaking with a 
structured agenda, he or she becomes a lecturer. In this situation, the speaker holds the 
floor. It is her or his responsibility to also hold the attention of the listeners. 

Lectures are a very efficient use of instructional time. They can communicate a large 
amount of information to a maximum number of students without requiring much (if any) 
equipment. They allow teachers to present material not available in textbooks or other 
easily accessible resources and, presented well, can motivate and excite students. Research 
has indicated that students taught by lecture do as well as or better than those taught by 
discussion methods on tests of factual recall. Some students, such as those with a high level 
of communication apprehension, prefer the relative anonymity of a lecture format, in which 
the fear of being called upon to speak does not interfere with their ability to concentrate on 
the material being presented (McCroskey, 1998). 

On the downside, lectures are not as effective as other methods in fostering higher 
levels of learning (application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation), or in developing 
psychomotor skills. Students tend to be passive and, according to various studies, their 
attention frequently wanes in 15 to 25 minutes and their retention within about eight 
weeks. Lectures are a "whole-group" method of instruction, a form of mass communication, 
and must be structured with an assumption that all the students are at about the same level 

Chapter Three - 29 

of initial understanding and inave approximately the same ability to learn. Feedback is very 
limited. Students who do not learn well by listening are at a disadvantage. 

Lectures demand that teachers practice the skills of effective public speaking. 
Students expect: 

(l)that the instructor will be knowledgeable enough to explain the topic in 
understandable terms; 

(2) that the lecture will be organized; 

(3) that the instructor will capture and hold attention; 

(4) that the lecture material will be selected with attention to its interest value; 

(5) that the teacher will be competent and enthusiastic; and 

(6) that the lecturer will demonstrate a sense of humor (Weaver, 1982). 

Violating these expectations will diminish affect, for the speaker, the course, and the subject 

One of the ways to maximize a lecture's effectiveness is to abide by the general rule 
(one supported by research) that a speaker should plan to "cover" material for only half of 
the allotted time, and use the rest of the time to buttress and repeat information with 
pointed examples and illustrations that relate the concepts to the students' own 
experiences. Take the time to introduce humor, either as a clarifying device or simply to 
break up the serious presentation and reawaken attentiveness -- students like teachers who 
have a sense of humor, and that liking rubs off on the material. Where possible, develop 
visual aids for multi-sensory appeal. 

Students learn better if they know what they are about to learn; thus, an effective 
lecturer will provide advance organizers throughout the presentation to help students chunk 
the information into meaningful units. Collingwood and Hughes report the results of an 
experiment which indicated that students performed better on tests when given some form 
of notes to refer to during the lecture. When the teacher provides a detailed set of notes so 
that little note taking is required, or provides an outline of key points with diagrams, tables, 
and a place for students to record explanatory notes during the lecture, students will learn 
more than when they are left to their own devices in taking notes. This technique also has 
affective payoffs in that it gives the students a sense of not only where the teacher is going 
but how far he or she has to go before reaching closure. Anyone who has ever been caught 
in a traffic jam and experienced the anxiety associated with not knowing how long they will 
be stuck will understand the benefits of being able to predict likely progress. 

Chapter Three - 30 

An alternative strategy for helping students organize their notes has been supported 
by Kelly and Holmes (1979), and others who have implemented the "guided lecture 
procedure." Students are encouraged to simply listen and refrain from taking notes during 
the teacher's lecture, which is planned for approximately the first half of the period. They 
are then asked to write down what they recall from the lecture. The instructor takes five 
minutes or so to review main points and answer questions, after which the students move 
into small groups to cooperatively prepare a set of notes that are shared among group 
members. This procedure has the benefit of students' getting the "big picture" before trying 
to decide which of its components need to be recorded for future reference, and it is a 
means of personalizing the class atmosphere by encouraging supportive interaction within 
the small groups. The downside is that only half as much material may be covered in a 

Finally, effective lecturers must be careful not to allow the potentially impersonal 
strategy of lecturing to interfere with their attempts to establish an immediate 
teacher-student relationship. Using student names, incorporating personal anecdotes and 
other means of self-disclosure, asking questions and encouraging students to talk, referring 
to class as "our" class and what "we" are doing, and using humor contribute to immediacy, 
as do maintaining eye contact with the students, smiling, having a relaxed body position 
and animated gestures, moving about the classroom during the lecture, and -- this one is 
very important to remember -- using a dynamic, vocally expressive style of delivery. These 
strategies have been shown to have both cognitive and affective learning payoffs. They help 
to personalize the instruction, to highlight important points, and to maintain interest by 
presenting continually shifting visual as well as oral cues (immediacy will be discussed 
further in chapter fourteen). 

For the most part, elementary and secondary level teachers will find it advantageous 
to spread lecture material out over several class periods so that it can be interspersed with 
other instructional strategies. However, no matter how long (or short) individual lecture 
interludes might be, their preparation should include attention to both content and 
presentation. "Winging it" is not acceptable! The lecture can be a very effective 
communication system. It is not likely to be so without careful preparation. 

The Teacher as a Moderator 

Several studies of instructional strategies and classroom interaction have concluded 
that students develop a greater affect for subjects taught via class discussion than by those 
taught strictly by lecture. Discussion allows students to formulate principles and applications 

Chapter Three - 31 

in their own words, giving a sense of ownersinip to course concepts. Discussion also provides 
teaciners witin prompt feedbacl< on \r\ov\i students are processing information. A Stanford 
University study of tecinnical sl<ills necessary for effective teacining identified nine primary 
instructional skills, seven of which were related to classroom interaction: fluency in asking 
questions, reinforcing student participation, using probing questions, using questions that 
address higher level cognitive objectives, facility with divergent questions, appropriates use 
of a teacher nonverbal communication cues to reduce reliance on teacher talk, and using 
interaction techniques to reduce boredom and inattention. 

As common as claims of desiring and encouraging class discussion are, many 
teachers find that getting students to talk is a difficult and frustrating task. Dreams of 
entering a classroom of bright and inquisitive students who bring with them thoughtful, 
probing questions related to assigned readings or previous class lectures are often dashed 
early in a semester -- or a career. "I'm always asking my students if they have any 
questions or comments," said one teacher, "but they just look at me. Nobody ever wants to 
talk." Why does this happen? 

One of the problems teachers have in generating class discussion is their assuming 
that the students should be the initiators. Most students, however, do not come to class 
with questions or observations, at least those they wish to share. One of the keys to 
successful whole-class discussion is the teacher's ability to ask questions, not just to ask for 
them. Furthermore, the kind of question the teacher asks is central to her or his success in 
the role of moderator. 

Closed questions, which have only one or a limited number of correct responses, are 
a good way of keeping students on their toes but rarely foster discussion. "What year did 
the Civil War begin?", "Can anyone explain how a rainbow is made?", or "How would 
knowledge of immediacy cues be useful in a sales position?" address knowledge, 
comprehension, and application learning objectives and invite students to become active 
participants in class but are looking for specific, correct answers. 

Teachers need to be careful not to make answering such questions a threatening 
experience. Children with a high level of communication apprehension will often answer "I 
don't know" just to avoid being called on again, and any student will suffer some degree of 
embarrassment if put on the spot with a question he or she can't answer. For that reason, 
teachers should avoid calling on individual students who do not signal their willingness to 
participate. While calling only on those students who volunteer may limit interaction to the 
more extroverted students, the teacher should question her or his motives for insisting 
students answer questions when they do not what to. Is this important to the instructional 

Chapter Three - 32 

objectives for that unit, or is just anotiner instance of tine "Gotcina" game played by so many 

Systems of questioning around a circle or down the rows are viewed with increasing 
terror by many students as their time "to look bad" approaches. All such systems are 
certain to accomplish is to reduce the cognitive learning of some students while, at the 
same time, generating negative affective learning. In any case, the teacher's response to 
wrong answers and her or his sensitive use of appropriate, helpful prompts (rather than just 
"I'm waiting" or "Go on") will go a long way toward establishing a nonthreatening 
environment in using closed questions. 

With closed questions, the teacher remains the primary focus of the teacher-student 
interaction. It is the use of open questions that is most effective at shifting that focus to a 
genuine discussion atmosphere where the teacher steps back into a moderator's role. Open 
questions are particularly appropriate for getting at analysis, synthesis, and application 
objectives. They do not have right answers; although students may be challenged to defend 
their positions, they can never be wrong. At their best, they motivate discussions among 
students in which the teacher steps in only to draw closure or redirect the discussion's 
focus. Consider your response to the following questions: 

Suppose you discover that your wonderful one-year-old child, because of a 
mix-up at the hospital, is not yours. Would you want to exchange the child to 
correct the mistake? 

Would you rather be extremely successful professionally and have a tolerable 
but boring private life, or have an extremely exciting private life and only a 
tolerable and uninspiring professional life? 

Would you accept twenty years of extraordinary happiness and fulfillment if it 
meant you would die at the end of the period? 

For $100,000 would you go for three months without washing, brushing your 
teeth, or using deodorant? Assume you could not explain your reasons to 
anyone. (Stock, 1987) 

While these might not be questions you would pose in your classroom, they illustrate the 
power of open questions in stimulating thought. A classroom adaptation might be: "What if 

Chapter Three - 33 

Romeo and Juliet had not been successful in killing themselves; they attempted suicide, but 
pulled through. What do you think would have happened to them?" Posing this question to 
a class of high school freshmen not only asks them to draw on what they know about 
Romeo and J uliet, their families, and other insights from the play they have read; it also 
invites them to draw on their own experiences with and attitudes about parent-child 
relationships, love, early marriage, suicide, and so forth. 

Participation in classroom discussion can often be maximized by the use of "buzz 
groups," small groups of students who put their heads together to briefly discuss a question 
among themselves and then report their response to the class as a whole. With open 
questions, this technique allows an opportunity for more students to express their ideas in a 
finite amount of time. With closed questions, it takes the spotlight off individual students 
and encourages peer teaching. Most students are less apprehensive about communicating in 
a buzz group than they are in front of the class as a whole, and most groups are more 
confident about voicing a response that has been "test-driven" for peer response. 

A final recommendation regarding the teacher's role as a moderator concerns wait 
time. It is extremely common to observe teachers answering their own questions, usually 
because a student response is not immediately forthcoming. Students quickly learn this 
pattern and absolve themselves of any responsibility for participation. Questions are not 
perceived as "real questions." How many of us have not at one time or other heard a 
teacher monologue that goes something like this: 

"OK, who read the chapter? Anyone? What was it about? The Civil War! 
Anyway what was that war about? It was about slavery, wasn't it? What do 
you think about slavery? Was it worth fighting a war over? I think it was. 
Does anyone disagree with me? Nobody does? Well then, what was the first 
battle in the Civil War? . . . ." 

Many times students enter our classes having had a great deal of experience with 
nonparticipatory classroom norms, and with teachers whose questions are primarily 
rhetorical. We have to spend some time changing their expectancies, and we have to give 
them time to think. It is estimated that as many as 70 % of students at the college level 
never participate in class discussion. Is it because they were taught not to by teachers who 
did not wait long enough for responses . . . ? 

Chapter Three - 34 

The Teacher as a Trainer 

Teaching psychomotor skills requires that students have an opportunity to practice 
skills until they master them. Sometimes, as in learning to drive a car, students are highly 
motivated to repeat the same task over and over until they learn how to do it. Sometimes 
students are not as highly motivated to continue practicing and become bored with 
repetition. When faced with such a situation, the effectiveness of skill lessons is enhanced 
by the teacher's offering ways to vary the performance of the skill. For example, children 
who are learning to write their alphabet letters may lose interest in writing letters over and 
over on lined paper, but remain excited about painting an alphabet mural, drawing letters in 
pudding with their fingers, creating alphabet people, being given the opportunity to write on 
the chalkboard, and so forth. 

For teachers to effectively coach students through to mastery of a skill, it is essential 
that they be able to break the performance of the skill into separate components so they 
can offer corrective instruction. One of the authors clearly remembers years of elementary 
school physical education classes in which the teacher rewarded students for being able to 
do things, and punished them for not being able to do them, but never offered coaching. 
Having moved on to high school, she was amazed that one didn't have to be a good 
volleyball player but could become a better one by following some corrective instruction in 
how to serve the ball. Some students got better and better at volleyball just by getting 
more playing experience, but some (the author included) simply repeated ineffective moves 
until being pulled out of the game and concentrating only on one aspect of play. 

Teacher/trainers of highly skilled students are characteristically masters of isolating 
and working on specific components of performance in their training programs: the 
competitive golfer's trainer will work with eliminating a small twist of the wrist that 
compromises control; the violin prodigy's teacher will note that additional finger dexterity 
might enable the young musician to reach new heights and assign dexterity exercises. 
Teachers who can help students figure out why they are not mastering a skill have 
themselves mastered a primary coaching skill. 

The Teacher as a Manager 

Small group projects typically involve two to six students working together on a 
common task. They provide an opportunity to maximize students' active involvement in 
class, to develop their interpersonal communication and cooperation skills, and to reinforce 
their knowledge through peer teaching. Research provides evidence that students retain 
information longer when they have an opportunity to verbalize it, especially to their peers. 

Chapter Three - 35 

Working in small groups tends to increase students' motivation, partly because they enjoy 
the opportunity to interact with their peers and partly because they care about being 
regarded positively by their peers and don't want to let their classmates down by failing to 
do their part. 

Some teachers are uncomfortable with small group activities because they cannot 
monitor what is going on with all students at all times and feel out of control of what is 
going on in the classroom. Some have observed that students spend too much of the time 
off-task, that one or two group members tend to "carry" the others, and that grading 
individual contributions to group projects is difficult. Some teachers are not exactly sure 
what they are supposed to do while students are working in groups and feel like they are 
abdicating their responsibility to be teaching. The concern of these teachers is well-founded, 
for if the teacher is not a good manager, group activities may be worse than useless. 

The teacher's role in small group instruction is that of a manager -- of resources and 
of personnel. As a manager, the teacher should clearly define the task at hand, and provide 
guidance as to time-lines and the organization of various steps needed to complete the 
assignment. Some group tasks are designed to be completed within a single class period 
while others may continue for all or a portion of several weeks or even months. In the latter 
case, it is particularly helpful to guide the groups in determining short-term goals within the 
longer-term objectives. Giving students a list of resources and telling them "Do a report on 
Guatemala, see you in six weeks" is an ineffective management practice! Two of the 
primary reasons that groups flounder and spend time off-task are that they (1) don't know 
what they are supposed to be doing, or (2) don't know how to go about doing it. 

As personnel managers, teachers will consider the composition of task groups and 
make strategic decisions on how they will be formed. There are valid reasons to form "work 
groups" that remain together throughout various projects (students get to know one 
another and their individual strengths and limitations; they tend to work more efficiently as 
time goes on, becoming a sort of interdependent minicorporation) and equally valid reasons 
to create a new mix each time groups are assigned (students develop broader sociological 
ties; cliques are less likely to develop). There are valid reasons to mix motivated with less 
motivated students (someone takes direction) and equally valid reasons to let the motivated 
students work together and let the unmotivated ones work things out on their own (at best, 
new leaders are discovered; at worst, at least the usual leaders don't feel put-upon). 
Deciding on a grouping strategy will often relate to the teacher's affective objectives for a 
particular class. Once the groups are formed, the teacher-as-manager should monitor 
working relationships and intervene if conflict is undermining the group's ability to function. 

Chapter Three - 36 

As resource managers, teachers should be able to provide groups access to the 
information and materials they require to accomplish their tasks. They will monitor the 
groups' progress and suggest means of following up on ideas, checking information, and 
presenting their product. In more extensive group projects (those that take more than a 
single class period), it is often wise not to over-manage up front. If students are given all 
the resources they are to use and a very specific model of what they are to come up with, 
much of the incidental learning from the group's process will be lost. The group is then the 
teacher's staff, working on the teacher's project rather than their own. 

The Teacher as a Coordinator and I nnovator 

The use of resources to supplement instruction can serve many purposes. 
Computer-aided instruction and other programmed instruction packages can be created or 
purchased to be used as either a primary instructional strategy or a supplemental tool. 
Films, videotapes, audiotapes, instructional television, books, magazines, newspapers, 
demonstrations, guest speakers, simulations and so forth can be used to complement other 
instructional strategies or as the cornerstone of instruction. The Arizona teacher who has 
created a space lab simulation in his science classroom, and who guides students through 
an elaborate scheme of science projects within the parameters of the simulation -- in which 
student crews ultimately spend several real-time days and nights "on board" -- uses the 
simulation as the cornerstone of his instructional strategy, incorporating lectures, 
discussions, group tasks, audiovisual aids, and other strategies as enhancements. Teachers 
who are a part of the Time Educational Services program use the magazine as the 
cornerstone of their instructional strategy, while others organize a class around a series of 
guest speakers. 

Most of the time, resource-based instruction is supplementary. Resources are used 
within a traditional teacher-directed classroom to stimulate various senses, present 
information in alternative formats, and enhance text and lecture material. Sometimes they 
are used as a break for the teacher or as a reward for the students. Usually students like 

Many teachers are unaware of the range of available instructional resources. 
Consequently, they either do not use them, or draw from a limited selection of often 
outdated films or filmstrips that are available through the school or community library. 
Searching out resources -- getting on mailing lists, talking to instructional media specialists, 
becoming familiar with resource indexes, searching out available guest speakers, learning 
how to use or even writing computer programs, designing simulations -- is time consuming. 

Chapter Three - 37 

It is not necessary that every teacher choose to do so; however, all teachers should 
remember that it is better to use no resources than to use bad (dated, poorly produced, 
age-level inappropriate) resources. 

The key to using resource- based instruction effectively is to know exactly how the 
resource will be used to enhance instructional objectives. Whatever the type of resource, 
the teacher should experience it in its entirety before using it in the classroom, and 
coordinate the logistics for its effective use -- for example: making sure the room can be 
darkened enough for quality film projection; figuring out the best seating arrangement for 
viewing a videotape on a standard-size television monitor; thinking about who will get to 
use the three computers when, and what the other students will be doing at that time; 
deciding how to schedule a guest speaker so that several classes can benefit; scheduling 
carefully and compulsively checking that the rented film or the speaker will be there as 
scheduled, that the VCR is not out for service, and that the handouts will be ready as 
promised. Failing to take these steps almost assures a diminished affective payoff from 
incorporating the resource. 

Few instructional resources are so powerful that they work alone without some sort 
of set up and/or follow-up activities. Resource- based instruction is the most effective when 
teachers use resources rather than defer to them. Maximizing their effectiveness requires 
considerable logistical coordination on the teacher's part. It is usually worth the effort. 

Employing a variety of instructional strategies appeals to various learning styles and 
tends to keep both teachers and students from getting into a rut. The teacher's preferences 
and individual strengths will influence strategic decisions, although the instructional 
objectives at hand should always be central to selecting the most appropriate teacher's role 
at a given point in a course of study. We would encourage teachers to experiment, working 
with one lesson or unit at a time, to increase their own repertoire of skills and 
classroom-tested alternatives. In this chapter, we have suggested that a teacher might 
wear many hats: speaker, moderator, trainer, manager, and coordinator. Most teachers 
look good in all of them, and most students get tired of looking at the same one every day. 

References and Recommended Readings 

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G.W. Friedrich & A.L. Vangelisti (Eds.), Teaching communication: Tiieory, researcti, 
and mettiods. (pp. 301-316). Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum. 

Biech, E., Barbazette, J., & Piskurich, G. (2006). Delivering Training: ASTD learning system 
module 2. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press. 

Chapter Three - 38 

Bloom, B.S. (1984). The search for methods of group instruction as effective as one-to-one 

tutoring. Educational Leadership, 41, 4-17. 
Blount, N.S. & Klausmeier, H.J. (1968). Teactiing in tlie secondary sctiool. New York: Harper 

and Row. 
Book, C.L. (1990). Extended discourse. In J. A. Daly, G.W. Friedrich & A.L. Vangelisti (Eds.), 

Teactiing communication: Tlieory, researcti, and mettiods. (pp. 279-291). Hillsdale, 

NJ : Lawrence Eribaum. 
Carnevale, A. P., Gainer, L. J., & Meltzer, A. S. (1990). Worlaplace basics: Tlie essentials 

skills employers want. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 
Check, J.F. (1985). Fielding and asking questions in class. Clearing House, 58, 270. 
Collingwood, V. & Hughes, D.C. (1978). Effects of three types of university lecture notes on 

student achievement. 7 ourna/ of Educational Psychology, 70, 175-179. 
Davis, R.J. (1965). Secrets of master lectures. Improving college and university teaching, 

13, 150-151. 
Fairbairn, D.M. (1987). The art of questioning your students. Clearing House, 60, 19. 
Gorham, J. (1988). The relationship between verbal teacher immediacy behaviors and 

student learning. Communication Education, 37, 40-53. 
Gorham, J. & Christophel, D.M. (1990). The relationship of teachers' use of humor in the 

classroom to immediacy and student learning. Communication Education, 39, 46-62. 
Kelley, D.H. & Gorham, J. (1988). Effects of immediacy on recall of information. 

Communication Education, 37, 198-207. 
Kelly, B.W. & Holmes, J. (1979). The guided lecture procedure. Journal of Reading, 22, 

Knox, A. B. (1986). Helping adults learn. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 
McCroskey, J . C. (1998). An introduction to communication in the classroom (2"^ Ed.). 

Acton, MA: Tapestry Press. 
McCroskey, J. C, & Richmond, V. P. (1992) Increasing teacher influence through 

immediacy, I n V. P. Richmond and J. C. McCroskey (Eds.), Power in the classroom: 

Communication, control, and concern, (pp. 101-120). Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence 

McCroskey, J. C, Wrench, J. S., & Richmond, V. P., (2003). Principles of public speaking. 

Indianapolis, IN: The College Network. 
McFarlane, E., & Saywell, J. (1996). if..: 500 new questions for the game of life.. New 

York: Villard. 

Chapter Three - 39 

McFarlane, E., & Saywell, J. (2000). Would You? Questions to challenge your beliefs. New 

York: Villard. 
Mager, R. F. (1984). Preparing instructional objectives. (2nd. Ed.). Belmont, CA: Pittman 

Napell, S.M. (1980). Updating tine lecture. Journal of Teacher Education, 29, 53-56. 
Nyquist, J.D. & Wulff, D.H. (1990). Selected active learning strategies. I n J .A. Daly, G.W. 

Fried rich & A.L. Vangelisti (Eds.), Teaching communication: Theory, research, and 

methods, (pp. 337-362). Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum. 
Pearson, J .C. (1990). Large lecture classes. In J .A. Daly, G.W. Friedrich & A.L. Vangelisti 

(Eds.), Teaching communication: Theory, research, and methods, (pp. 293-300). 

Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum. 
Peters, R. J ., & Austin, N. A. (1985). A passion for excellence. New York: Random House. 
Richmond, V. P. (1990). Communication in the classroom: Power and motivation. 

Communication Education, 39, 181-195. 
Richmond, V. P. (1990). Continuing education. In J. A. Daly, G. W. Friedrich, & A. L. 

Vangelisti (Eds.). Teaching communication: Theory, research, and methods, (pp. 

417-425). Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum Associates. 
Richmond, V.P., Gorham, J . S., & McCroskey, J .C. (1987). The relationship between selected 

immediacy behaviors and student learning. In M. McLaughlin (Ed.), Communication 

Yearbook 10 (pp. 574-590). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. 
Rowe, M. (1974). Wait-time and rewards as instructional variables, their influence on 

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Teaching, 11, 81-84. 
Rowe, M. (1986). Wait time: Slowing down may be a way of speeding up! journal of 

Teacher Education, 37, 43-50. 
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G.W. Friedrich & A.L. Vangelisti (Eds.), Teaching communication: Theory, research, 

and methods, (pp. 317-335). Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum. 
Smith, E. (1985). Are you creative? Business Week, Sept. 30., 80-84. 
Stock, G. (1988). The kids' book of questions. New York: Workman. 
Stock, G. (1987). The book of questions. New York: Workman. 
Swift, J . & Gooding, C. (1983). Interaction of wait time feedback and questioning instruction 

on middle school science teaching. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 20, 

Walker, O.M. & Scott, R.L. (1962). Thinking and speaking. New York: Macmillan. 

Chapter Three - 40 

Weaver, R.L., II. (1982). Positive qualities of the large-group lecturer. Focus on Learning, 8, 

Wrench, J. S., McCroskey, J. C, & Richmond, V. P. (2008). Human communication in 

everyday life: Explanations and applications. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. 
Zuckerman, D.W. & Horn, R.E. (1973). Guide to simulations/games for education and 

training. Lexington, MA: Information Resources. 

Chapter Three - 41 


Chapter Four Objectives 

1. List and discuss tine communication roles/functions of tine student/ receiver in tine 
instructional communication process. 

2. Review some academic needs of students. Review several needs that "goes beyond 
the academic." 

3. Be able to explain and give examples of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and CIA. 

4. Discuss the results of meeting student needs upon learning and classroom behavior. 

To improve communication, we must fulfill student needs. To fulfill student needs, 
we must employ effective and affective communication. When students' needs are not met, 
problems arise. Glasser (1990) suggests, "when disruption occurs in schools, it is usually 
with students who have had great difficulty satisfying their needs in school" (p. 135). 

Students communicate with their instructors to satisfy certain academic, personal, 
and interpersonal needs. Most teachers attempt to satisfy the academic needs of the 
students. They feel an educational commitment or obligation to fulfill these needs, but other 
student needs often are neglected. However, some teachers try to communicate with their 
students to assist them to satisfy their personal and interpersonal needs, for they recognize 
that if a student's personal and interpersonal needs are not met, the academic needs may 
never be met either. 

Recently, calls have increased for teaching to become more humane. Many argue 
that educational systems must meet more than just academic needs for students to 
succeed. In some educational systems today, there are special programs designed to help 
meet the personal and interpersonal needs of the student, in conjunction with meeting the 
academic need. 

I n this chapter, we will briefly discuss the basic academic needs of students. Then we 
will discuss two traditional interpersonal need models, which are often found in the 
literature. Within each model a discussion of the many personal and interpersonal needs of 
our students will be reviewed. Lastly, we will discuss some affective and communication 
outcomes as a result of meeting student needs. 

Chapter Four - 42 

Measuring Student Affect 

A number of different measures have been developed by researchers to examine 
affect in the classroom. For the purposes of this textbook, the measure designed by 
McCroskey (1994) will be used. This instrument measures students' attitudes toward (1) 
instructor of the course (teacher evaluation), (2) content of the course (affective learning), 
along with measures of higher order levels of student affect, (3) taking additional classes in 
the subject matter, and (4) taking additional classes with the teacher. Dimensions two and 
three are in congruence with Krathwohl, Bloom, and Masia's (1956) conceptualization of the 
affective domain in learning. Dimensions one and four represent teacher evaluation. Figure 
4.1 is the affective learning measure. 

Affective Learning {Pleasure 

Please circle the number that best represents your feelings. The closer a number is to the 
item/adjective the more you feel that way. 

Overall, the instructor I have in the class is: 

1 Bad 1234567 Good 

2 Valuable 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Worthless 

3 Unfair 12 3 4 5 6 7 Fair 

4 Positive 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Negative 

I feel the class' content is: 

5 Bad 1234567 Good 

6 Valuable 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Worthless 

7 Unfair 12 3 4 5 6 7 Fair 

8 Positive 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Negative 

My likelihood of taking future courses in this content area is: 

9 Unlikely 12 3 4 5 6 7 Likely 

10 Possible 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Impossible 

11 Improbable 12 3 4 5 6 7 Probable 

12 Would 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Would not 

My likelihood of taking future courses with this specific teacher is: 

13 Unlikely 12 3 4 5 6 7 Likely 

14 Possible 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Impossible 

15 Improbable 12 3 4 5 6 7 Probable 

16 Would 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Would not 


Teacher Evaluation: Add (1, 2, 3, & 4) 

Affective Learning: Add (5, 6, 7, & 8) 

Future Content: Add (9, 10, 11, & 12) 

Future Teacher: Add (13, 14, 15, &16) 

Scores should be between 4 & 28. Higher scores indicate higher affective levels. 

Chapter Four - 43 

Scoring for Affective Learning and Instructor Evaluation: 

Affective Learning = Affect toward content + Affect toward classes in tinis context. 

Instructor Evaluation = Affect toward instructor + Affect toward taking classes with this 


McCroskey, J . C. (1994). Assessment of affect toward communication and affect toward 
instruction in communication. In S. Morreale & M. Brooks (Eds.), 1994 SCA summer 
conference proceedings and prepared remarks: Assessing college student competence in 
speech communication. Annandale, VA: Speech Communication Association. 

Figure 4.1 Affective Learning Measure 

Overall, this measure is useful to determine how students affectively feel in your 
classroom. This measure can be used in a number of different ways. You could use the 
teacher evaluation factor to see how students affectively feel about you as their teacher at 
various points during a school year. Another idea is to use the content sections (future 
classes and affective learning) to determine initial content affect and previous affective 
learning at the beginning of the school year. Sadly, if a student enters into your class with 
low affective learning initially, it is going to be a constant struggle if the affective 
component is not treated. 

Basic Academic Needs of Students 

If we were to take a poll of the basic academic needs of students in a typical 
classroom in any school in this country, many of the needs listed would still have an 
interpersonal or personal edge to them. This is significant in that students will always 
commingle their own interpersonal needs with academic needs. In this section, we will 
review six basic academic needs of students. 

One: Each student in our classroom needs to have an understanding of our 
instructional goals and objectives. 

If we do not communicate our instructional goals clearly and concisely, we will have 
students who are confused or misguided. We will have students who have no direction, 
meaning, or understanding of what they should be doing. All of us have sat in classrooms 
where we had no idea what the instructional manager wanted us to do, so we did whatever 
it was we thought they wanted us to do. Most of the time it was wrong. After awhile, we 

Chapter Four - 44 

may have stopped performing. In short, we behaved normally and did not succeed, at least 
as the instructor would have defined success. 

Two: Each of us needs to have a goal for each lesson we teach. 

We need to constantly inform, remind, and communicate to our students as we 
accomplish our goal. Goal setting will reduce the likelihood of having inattentive, confused, 
direction- less students. In fact Wlodkowski (1978) suggested that: 

...with the goal-setting model, the student knows that she or he is in 
command and can calculate what to do to avoid wasting time or experiencing 
self-defeat. Thus, before even beginning the learning task, the student knows 
that her/his effort will be worthwhile and has an actual sense that there is a 
good probability for success, (p. 54) 

Three: Our instruction should match the students' cognitive 
development/ potential and learning style. 

We are well aware of the fact that students are grouped according to ability, grades, 
and achievement. Regardless we need to occasionally take note of each of our students' 
cognitive development and maturity. We cannot assume because students are in the same 
grade they have the same cognitive abilities, development, or potential. If we make this 
assumption, many of our students will cease to learn and their cognitive development will 
drop sharply. We should attempt to match the content to the student's cognitive ability. 

In addition, we should attempt to match the content to the student's learning style. 
No two students learn exactly the same way. Now this doesn't mean that we have to 
determine each and every student's learning style. It does mean that we need to be more 
cognizant of the various learning styles or preferences and learning paces of our students 
and have a variety of instructional approaches to each lesson. Dembo (1977) suggests that: 

A teacher who uses the best textbooks available and develops the most 
interesting and stimulating lesson plans can still fail to reach a majority of 
students in his (her) classes who do not have the necessary structures 
(operations) to enable them to "understand" the presented material. This 
means that the classroom teacher must be able to (1) assess a child's level of 
cognitive development, and (2) determine the type of ability the child needs 
to understand the subject matter (p. 273). 

Chapter Four - 45 

In conclusion, we should be aware of our student's current cognitive capabilities, 
learning styles, learning preferences, and learning pace. We should attempt to 
accommodate and assure students' learning by using materials and lesson plans that will 
enable them to learn and understand. 

Four: Our students have a need or desire to be active participants in thie learning 

Leonard (1968) noted, "no environment can strongly affect a person unless it is strongly 
interactive" (p. 39). We believe that when students are more actively involved in the learning 
process, more learning is likely to occur than when they are passive observers. For example, more 
learning is likely in classrooms where there are many student-to-teacher interactions, 
student-to-student interactions, and question and answer sessions; where teachers provide 
feedback and students are encouraged to communicate about the content. Students often learn 
more by participating in the learning process than by sitting by and watching or listening. V. Jones 
and L. Jones (1981) noted, "children tend to learn what they do rather than what they see or hear" 
(p. 42). At various points in the instructional process we should stop and have the students 
participate actively in some manner: 

Good pedagogy must involve presenting the child with situations in which he 
himself (or she, herself) experiments, in the broadest sense of that 
term--trying things out to see what happens, manipulating things, 
manipulating symbols, posing questions and seeking his (or her) own 
answers, reconciling what he (or she) finds one time with what he (or she) 
finds at another, comparing his (or her) findings with those of other children. 
(Duckworth, 1964, p. 2). 

In summary, when students do, students learn. When students don't do, they may or 
may not learn. Often very passive, unmotivated students will not learn in a passive, 
unmotivated environment. Hence, we have to make learning fun and exciting. 

Five: Regardless of the age of the student, they have a need to see how the 
content relates to their lives and pursue some interests of their own. 

Students are more willing to listen, to communicate, to inquire, and to learn if the 
subject matter has some relevance in their lives and if they are allowed to pursue some of 

Chapter Four - 46 

their own interests. JVlany of us inave Inad tine experience of inaving to attend or being forced 
to attend meetings or worl<slnops winicin inold no interest to us or our immediate lives. Yet we 
went, we fussed about it, we sat politely, and we learned only that we would never attend 
another meeting unless forced to do so. We don't want our students feeling this way about 
our classes. We want our students to see that what we are teaching is relevant to them, 
their lives, and their futures. We can often encourage this view by allowing our students to 
pursue some of their interests and relate them back to the classroom content. If students 
are allowed to pursue some of their own interests, their enthusiasm might build for our class 
and content. Students more than ever are asking, "how does this relate to me, or what I 
do?" Glasser (1969) examined the reasons for students failing and found that: 

...with increasing frequency from grade one through the end of graduate 
school, much of what is required is either totally or partially irrelevant to the 
world around them as they see it. Thus both excess memorization and 
increasing irrelevance cause them to withdraw into failure and strike out in 
delinquent acts. (p. 30) 

Finally, we need to adapt our lessons to the lives of our students, allow them to 
integrate some of their own interests into our lessons, and be able to answer the question, 
"So teacher, how do I use this?" 

Six: Perhaps more important thian thie othier academic needs of students is tfie 
need to experience success in thie classroom. 

The reports are out weekly: experiencing success, not failure, in the classroom 
environment will lead to better students, more motivated students, better teachers, and 
better classrooms. Absolutely nobody enjoys being in an environment where they fail over 
and over. Why should we think that it is any different for our students? When students have 
long-term failure experiences, they tend to become negative, communicate about school in 
a negative fashion, and mentally or physically drop out of the system. From the day they 
enter school until the day they complete school, our students should be able to count more 
successes than failures. If all they experience is failure then our system is failing them. 

Traditional I nterpersonal Need i^lodels 

Before we continue, we should have an established definition for the way we are 
using the word "needs." A need is a goal, state, activity, object, or a thing whose 
attainment will facilitate or promote a person acquiring a better psychological, emotional. 

Chapter Four - 47 

behavioral, affective, or cognitive condition. Tinere are tinree primary cinaracteristics of 
needs. Needs are usually viewed as acquired, developed, or learned. Often our students 
come into school with a set of learned needs which they expect us to fulfill. They have 
usually learned or become aware of these needs from parents, guardians, other adults, 
siblings, and peer groups. 

Needs are of an internal or external nature. Needs that have an internal nature are 
often fulfilled by the individual, however, needs that have an external nature are often 
dependent upon another individual assisting in the fulfillment of the need. For example, 
many of our students have not acquired a highly sophisticated method of giving themselves 
internal rewards, hence, they expect us to fulfill their external needs in order for them to 
feel good internally about themselves. This places us in a very precarious and risky 
situation. We want our students to be able to reward themselves internally, however, many 
do not seem to be able to do this without first having us reward them externally. Most of us 
have learned that in order to stimulate a student's internal reward system, often we have to 
first reward their external reward system through communication and affect. Student 
fulfillment of needs is linked with how successfully the teacher is able to fulfill those needs 
through communication and affect building strategies. 

Lastly, needs can change or vary as situations, demands, and variables change. For 
example, often when we get one need satisfied, then we have another need arise that 
requires attention. Or, some low level need is satisfied, then we begin focusing on higher 
level needs that require attention. Or, sometimes we have to prioritize our needs. In some 
cases, we might abandon one need in favor of a higher level need or more immediate need. 
For example, when our supervisors tell us to have the attendance forms completed by 9:05 
A. M., we may abandon the need to go to the restroom in order to meet the more 
immediate need (attendance forms by 9:05 a. m.). Often the same is true of our students. 
For example, a student has to complete a project before the class period is over, but he or 
she needs to go to the restroom. Finally, the restroom need outweighs the project 
fulfillment need and the student asks to leave the room. The student fulfills the most 
immediate need (e. g., restroom), but he or she may not be able to fulfill the other need (e. 
g., completion of the project). 

While needs are usually learned, have an external and internal component, and can 
change, all persons have an agenda of needs that must be satisfied for effective 
interpersonal relationships and communication. Students have these agendas too. We will 
discuss two traditional need models that impact the way we feel and communicate and the 
way our students feel and communicate. 

Chapter Four - 48 

Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation 

Schutz (1958; 1966) developed a measure called the Fundamental Interpersonal 
Relations Orientation - Behavior (FIRO-B) scale. This measure was designed to determine a 
person's need to express and a person's need to receive three of the most important 
interpersonal needs: control, inclusion, and affection. Schutz felt people desired a balance 
between expression of control, inclusion, and affection, and the need to receive a certain 
amount of control, inclusion, and affection. 

The interpersonal need for control is associated with the need to demonstrate 
influence, dominance, power, compliance, responsibility, and guidance. This is often viewed 
as the need for communicating behavior control. There are two dimensions to the need for 
control. The first dimension is concerned with the personal need to express some control 
over one's own surroundings and environmental circumstances. Students, of all ages, need 
to feel they can exert some control over certain facets of their school environment. They 
need to feel they are occasionally "in control." We will encounter this behavior quite 
frequently, even in little children. Often our students like to exert control, be in charge, in 
command, influence others, direct others, and so on. They like to demonstrate to others 
that they can make decisions, follow rules, do things on their own, and show us they are 
responsible, competent human beings. The second dimension is concerned with the 
personal need to receive some control, direction, or guidance from another. Students, of all 
ages, need to feel that they are receiving direction, guidance, and control in certain facets 
of their educational career. For example, it is legitimate for the teacher to assist in guiding a 
student through a project -- to show her or him the right way of doing something. It is also 
appropriate for a teacher to control a student's behavior when the student is misbehaving. 

The interpersonal need for inclusion is associated with the need for being included, 
being a part of a group, being able to fit in, or being a member of a group. This is often 
viewed as the need for social inclusion. Social inclusion is often seen as the need to 
communicate, associate, and interact with others. There are two dimensions to the need for 
inclusion. The first dimension is concerned with the personal need to express inclusion to 
others. Students, of all ages, need to feel they can assist others in becoming a part of a 
group. Students truly fulfill their inclusion need when they are able to recognize and assist 
other students with affiliation. The second dimension is concerned with the personal need to 
receive recognition, affiliation, or association with a group or club. Students often rely on 
teachers to assist them in becoming a member of a group. We often recognize those 
students who need a little extra help in "fitting in." 

Chapter Four - 49 

The interpersonal need for affection or affinity is associated witin tine need for being 
lil<ed, accepted, loved, and cared for. The affinity-seeking need is often viewed as the need 
to communicate in such a way we can get others to like and accept us. There are two 
dimensions to the need for affection. The first dimension is concerned with the personal 
need to express affection to others. Students, of all ages, need to feel they can express 
warmth, friendliness, and caring to others in the school environment. Students often fulfill 
their affection need by telling us how much they like us. The second dimension is concerned 
with the personal need to receive affection, liking, warmth, friendliness, and caring. 
Students often rely on teachers to give them affection. We often recognize those students 
who need a little extra affection or care and try to give it to them. 

In conclusion, Schutz (1966) gives the following ideas about distinctions among the 
three primary needs: 

A difference between affection behavior, inclusion behavior, and control 
behavior is illustrated by the different feelings a man has in being turned 
down by a fraternity, failed in a course by a professor, and rejected by his 
girl. The fraternity excludes him and tells him, in effect, that they as a group 
don't have sufficient interest in him. The professor fails him and says, in 
effect, that he finds him incompetent in his field. His girl rejects him, and tells 
him, in effect, that she doesn't find him lovable, (p. 24). 

We agree with Schutz, that the need for control, inclusion, and affection are as relevant to a 
person as the needs for food and water. We go one step further and suggest if students' 
needs for behavior control, social inclusion, and affection or affinity are not fulfilled, we may 
have problem students in our classrooms and schools. 

Interpersonal/ Instructional Needs Approach 

Hurt, Scott, and McCroskey (1978) suggested a number of interpersonal problems 
could arise because student needs are not met. They suggested when the control, social, 
and affection needs of students are not met their intellectual, academic, and interpersonal 
communication skills might suffer. We have attempted to expand their ideas concerning the 
need for behavior control, social inclusion, and affection. Below is a discussion of potential 
outcomes from not meeting the personal and interpersonal needs of students. 

When students fail to meet their need for some control over some of their 
educational circumstances two distinct behavior patterns might emerge. They might become 

Chapter Four - 50 

very submissive or very rebellious. The extremely submissive student believes others in the 
school regard them as incompetent, incapable, irresponsible, subordinate to others, 
resigned to being a follower, not a leader, uncomfortable with making decisions, 
unassertive, unable to defend their rights, and easy to push around. In fact, they often 
behave and communicate in the manner which others have ascribed for them. They do not 
ask questions when they should, don't seek extra help, don't join in exercises and groups, 
wait for others to tell them what to do, and often don't seek out more information about 
assignments and the subject matter. They often miss out on acquiring and learning new 
academic knowledge. 

On the other hand, the extremely rebellious student believes others in the school 
regard them as aggressive, rude, pushy, disagreeable, unmanageable, uncontrollable, 
resistant to teacher or principal control efforts, disobedient, and quarrelsome. In fact, they 
often behave and communicate in the manner which others have ascribed for them. They 
ask more questions than needed, refuse to do certain assignments, always quarrel over 
assignments, grades, and so on, attempt to exert large amounts of control over others, 
push other students around, attempt to become a leader by fear and intimidation, and 
communicate in an offensive manner. These students are most often the class problems or 
disruptive students, and little learning is taking place (for more information on student 
misbehaviors, see chapter 11). Most of their communication efforts are spent on 
maintaining control or staying in charge of things. 

When students fail to meet their need to be included socially, two distinct behavioral 
patterns might emerge. They might become very undersocial or very oversocial. The 
undersocial student believes others in the school regard them as aloof, completely 
independent, unsociable, cynical, solitary, cold, unpleasant, and even impolite. These are 
the students who are seen as "uppity," "too good for the rest," or "snobbish." In fact, they 
often behave and communicate in the manner that others have ascribed for them. They 
might reduce their communication with others as a means of protection, cut themselves off 
from possible friendships, not work with others in a cooperative manner, be cool to others 
who approach them to help them, and exhibit an "I don't need you attitude." This type of 
student is very difficult for a teacher to work with because the student is not friendly or 
pleasant. We often have to work very hard at integrating this person into our classroom 

On the other hand, the oversocial student believes others in the school regard them 
as jolly, outgoing, and attention seeking. In fact, they often behave or communicate in the 
manner which others have ascribed for them. They might become the "class clown," use 

Chapter Four - 51 

inappropriate communication and attention getting beinaviors, dominate communication 
situations, violate an accepted social norm, prevent others from learning by being overly 
outgoing, and do silly things at inappropriate times. This type of student, too, is very 
difficult for a teacher to work with because the student is overly concerned about belonging, 
fitting in, and wants to communicate with her or his peer group, not the teacher. 

When students fail to meet their need for affection or affinity, two distinct behavioral 
patterns might emerge. They might become \/ery impersonal or very overpersonal. The 
impersonal student believes others in the school regard them as cold, unfeeling, uncaring, 
detached, unemotional, and unconcerned. In fact, they often behave and communicate in 
the manner that others have ascribed for them. They become cautious or tentative about 
developing a relationship with anyone, stay on guard when with others, rarely reveal 
personal things about themselves, communicate in a cold, impersonal fashion, and reveal 
only surface information about themselves. The impersonal student is difficult for a teacher 
to assist. They remain aloof and distant from the teacher. They will not seek help when they 
need it and rarely approach us. 

On the other hand, the overpersonal student believes others in the school regard 
them as too personal, too revealing, and too open. In fact, they often behave and 
communicate in the manner that others have ascribed for them. They become overly 
communicative, they want to reveal information about themselves and their family they 
shouldn't, they want to talk about other teachers and students, they discuss topics in class 
and in other open areas which are inappropriate, they reveal too much private information 
about themselves, and tend to rush into relationships. Frankly, they make us very 
uncomfortable because they self-disclose very private information about themselves and 
others close to them to us. In addition, they want to be our best friends or best buddies and 
we are not comfortable with this either. 

As you can surmise, the failure to satisfy the student needs for control, social 
inclusion, and affinity can influence teacher/student relationships, communication, affect, 
and student academic achievement. When students are rebellious, overly social, and overly 
personal not only do their academics suffer but so do their communication relationships with 
us, their peers, and others in the school environment. Likewise when students are 
submissive, undersocial, and impersonal their academics and communication relationships 
with school affiliates suffer. 

Chapter Four - 52 

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 

Maslow (1970) designed a hierarchy of human needs. He felt that lower level needs 
must be met first before higher level needs could be considered. His theory is like building 
blocks. Any good building block structure must have a solid, firm, good foundation before it 
can support more blocks. As blocks are added, the building grows. The hierarchy of human 
needs is like an infant learning to climb stairs. It is one step at a time, some steps take 
longer to master than others, but eventually the infant will reach the top step. For example, 
a person has to eat in order to survive to fulfill other needs. Our students often have to 
fulfill their lower level, basic needs before they move onto high level needs. Let's use the 
food example again. Many schools have breakfast and lunch programs provided free for 
students so they know the student's need for food has been satisfied and now he or she is 
ready to tackle higher level needs. Below are descriptions of the needs that are in the 
hierarchy from lowest level needs to higher level needs. Figure 4.1 demonstrates Maslow's 
hierarchy of needs. 



Love and E 





Figure 4.1 Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs 

The physiological needs are "the most prepotent of all needs" (Maslow, 1970, p. 36). 
These needs must be satisfied if the body is to continue functioning. Physiological needs are 
needs such as food, water, air, sleep, rest, and need for activity or stimulation. This need 
must be satisfied so that people can function well. If these needs are not satisfied, a person 
does not function well and they cannot move to a higher need without fulfilling this need. 
For example, many of our students are tired or need rest. Until they get the proper amount 
of rest, they are thinking of little else. 

The safety needs include the need for safety or protection from threats of harm or 
actual physical harm. In addition, there is a need for security, freedom from fear, structure 

Chapter Four - 53 

and order, and stability. From observing botin cinildren and adults, Maslow concludes that we 
both want "a safe, orderly, predictable, lawful, organized world" (p. 40). If our students feel 
threatened or scared they will not be able to function and think about higher level needs. 
This is why our classrooms must be "safe shelters" or "safe places" for them to be. If we 
make our classrooms "scary places" then our children won't be able to focus on learning, 
they will only be able to focus on protection and safety needs. The next three steps in the 
hierarchy focus more on interpersonal communication relationship needs. The first two steps 
focused more on physical and biological needs. 

The belongingness or affection needs encompass a hunger for affection, caring, 
belongingness, and perhaps love. These needs include good, strong, affectionate family 
relationships, peer relationships, and academic relationships. This is where the students 
who are not included in academic affairs or school related events often miss out. This is also 
where students who don't feel needed, loved, or interpersonally close to others tend to lose 
out. When this need is not satisfied, then the students are constantly focusing on this need 
and are never able to get past this level in the hierarchy. Sometimes this need might be 
more important to them than even the need for food, water, or rest. 

The esteem needs are affiliated with the desire to have status, dignity, respect, 
recognition, attention, and to be appreciated by others. In addition, people have the need to 
have a high, stable opinion of one's own self. We not only want to be respected but we want 
self-respect. We must remember that a person who does not respect her or himself will not 
garner respect from another. This is where we develop our self-esteem. Often our students 
strive to please us so they can achieve our appreciation, respect, recognition, and support. 

Lastly, the self-actualization need is the desire to do or be what one is uniquely 
suited for. "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to 
be ultimately at peace with himself" (Maslow, 1970, p. 46). This is the need to use our 
abilities, potentials, skills, and talents to achieve and be all that we can be. For example, a 
good teacher makes good students, and then good students make us better teachers. There 
is some controversy as to whether a person can truly ever be self-actualized. 
Self-actualization can also vary dramatically from person to person in its expression. A 
person may be self-actualized if they feel that they have used all their skills, talents, and 
ability to better her or himself. 

In summary, if we don't meet some of the interpersonal needs of our students we 
will never have the opportunity to meet the academic needs of our students. Most all of our 
students have interpersonal needs that demand constant attention. The interpersonal needs 
of love, belongingness, inclusion, and esteem must be met either separately or in 

Chapter Four - 54 

conjunction with tineir academic needs. Tine next section reviews various verbal and 
nonverbal communication strategies for meeting the social and interpersonal needs of our 

Outcomes of Meeting Student Needs 

While it may seem simple, the general conclusion that can be drawn from the above 
is that when student needs are met, teacher/student communication will be improved and 
teacher/student affect will increase. When teachers communicate in such a way that student 
needs are satisfied, then student affect will increase for the teacher. When teachers have 
higher affect with their students then effective communication will increase between teacher 
and student. Hurt, Scott, and McCroskey (1978) summarize by stating: 

In closing, we would like to reemphasize that the fact that students' needs go 
beyond the acquisition of academic skills. Long after forgetting what 
happened on a particular date in history, or how to conjugate a French verb, 
or how to solve an algebraic equation, students will continue to experience 
the needs we have talked about. Thus, we accomplish a number of things 
when we try to reduce the distance between ourselves and our students and 
thereby assist them in satisfying these needs. At the very minimum, we may 
thwart the possibility of interpersonal needs interfering with the satisfaction of 
academic needs, improve communication, and promote interpersonal 
solidarity. At the same time, we also may be assisting our students in 
satisfying interpersonal needs when classrooms, for them, have long been a 
thing of the past. (pp. 188-189) 

This is an overall result of meeting student needs. Below is a systematic breakdown of the various 
outcomes of meeting student needs. 

First, whenever basic student needs are satisfied, the student is able to focus more 
clearly on the purposes of schooling, education, and learning. Our students are more 
competent at being receivers of educational information and processing the information and 
responding appropriately to the information. 

Second, when basic student needs are satisfied, the student is more likely to behave 
in a socially responsible manner and not become the classroom discipline problem. Often 
when student needs are unfulfilled, the student exhibits socially unacceptable behaviors and 
becomes the educational system's discipline nightmare. 

Chapter Four - 55 

Third, when basic student needs are fulfilled, the classroom manager has more 
positive feelings toward her or his students. Teachers who cannot fulfill student needs or 
don't recognize student needs are often less positive about their students than teachers who 
recognize and fulfill student needs. A classroom full of satisfied students leads to a satisfied 

Fourth, when basic student needs are met, students are more likely to internalize the 
information they have received. Students are more willing to listen, learn, and internalize 
educational ideas when their minds and bodies have been satisfied in needed ways. 
Students who internalize information use the information more often then students who 
don't internalize. Hence, if meeting student needs aids in internalization of information, then 
we should attempt to meet more student needs. 

Fifth, a teacher who meets student needs is likely to have students who are more 
willing to listen, learn, and have increased attention spans. Students who are not worrying 
about some of their needs being fulfilled can listen longer and pay more attention in class. 

Sixth, when basic student needs are fulfilled, the interaction between student and 
teacher and student to student will increase. In addition, the communication is more likely 
to be constructive and effective, because the student is not focused on some basic need 
that requires attention. To improve communication, we must fulfill needs; to fulfill needs, 
we must employ effective communication. Fulfilling needs and effective communication are 
often interdependent. 

Seventh, the teacher who fulfills basic student needs has students who are more 
willing to work with one another cooperatively and collaboratively on instructional projects. 
When students are not focused on some basic need, they can work with others without 
dissension and grievances. 

In summary, students that view their teachers as able to satisfy some of their basic 
needs are more satisfied with their teacher, the instructional model, and school. They also 
have more effective communication relationships with their instructors, their peers, and 
school administrators. In addition, the parents of students who have their needs fulfilled 
generally feel more positive about the teachers, the school, and the administrators. The 
fulfillment of needs leads to increased positive affect for teachers, school, and the system. 

References and Recommended Readings 

Chesbro, J . L., & McCroskey, J . C. (2001). The relationship of teacher clarity and immediacy 
with student state receiver apprehension, affect, and cognitive learning. 
Communication Education, 50, 59-68. 

Chapter Four - 56 

Dembo, M. (1977). Teaching for learning: Applying educational psychology in the 

classroom. Santa Monica, CA: Goodyear. 
Duckworth, E. (1964). Piaget rediscovered. In R. D. Ripple & V. N. Rockcastle (Ed.). Piaget 

rediscovered: A report of the conference on cognitive skills and curriculum 

development. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Education. 
Dunn, R., & Dunn, K. (1993). Teaching secondary students through their individual learning 

styles. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. 
Frymier, A. B., & Houser, M. L. (2000). The teacher-student relationship as an interpersonal 

relationship. Communication Education, 49, 207-219. 
Glasser, W. (1969). Schools without failure. New York: Harper & Row. 
Glasser, W. (1990). The quality school. New York: Harper & Row. 
Herber, H. L., & Herber J . N. (1993). Teaching in content areas with reading, writing, and 

reasoning. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. 
Hurt, T. H., Scott, M. D., & McCroskey, J. C. (1978). Communication in the classroom. 

Reading, MA: Addison Wesley. 
Jones, V. F., & Jones, L. S. (1981). Responsible classroom discipline. Boston, MA: Allyn & 

Krathwohl, D. R., Bloom, B. S., & Masia, B. B. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives. 

Handbook II : Affective Domain. New York: David McKay. 
Leonard, G. (1968). Education and ecstasy. New York: Dell. 
McCroskey, J. C. (1994). Assessing college student competency in speech communication. 

In S. Morreale, M. Brooks, R. Berko, & C. Cooke (Eds.), 1994 SCA Summer 

Conference Proceedings and Prepared Remarks (pp. 56-68). Alexandria, VA: Speech 

Communication Association. 
McCroskey, J . C. (1998). An introduction to communication in the classroom (2"^ Ed.). 

Acton, MA: Tapestry Press. 
Martin, M. M., Myers, S. A., & Mottet, T. P. (1999). Students' motives for communicating 

with their instructors. Communication Education, 48, 155-164. 
Maslow, A. H. (1970). Motivation and personality. (2nd. Ed.). New York: Harper & Row. 
Niebrand, C, Horn, E., & Holmes, R. (1992). The pocket mentor: A handbook for teachers. 

Portland, Maine: J. Weston Walch Publisher. 
Richmond, V. P. (1989). A contemporary graduate program in communication in instruction. 

Communication Education, 38, 356-363. 
Richmond, V. P. (1990). Communication in the classroom: Power and motivation. 

Communication Education, 39, 181-195. 

Chapter Four - 57 

Richmond, V. P. (1990). Continuing education. In J. A. Daly, G. W. Friedrich, & A. L. 

Vangelisti (Eds.). Teaching communication: Ttieory, researcii, and metliods. (pps. 

417-426). Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum. 
Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (1993). Communication: Overview and framework. In 

M. J. O'Hair & S. J. O'Dell (Eds.). Diversity and teacliing. (pp. 165-174). New York: 

Harcourt Brace J avanovich. 
Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (Eds.). (1992). Power in tlie classroom: 

Communication, control, and concern. Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum. 
Rocca, K. A., & McCroskey, J. A. (1999). The Interrelationship of student ratings of 

instructors' immediacy, verbal aggressiveness, homophily, and interpersonal 

attraction. Communication Education, 48, 308-316. 
Schutz, W. (1958). FIRO: Fundamental interpersonal relations orientation. New York: Holt, 

Rinehart & Winston. 
Schutz, W. (1966). The interpersonal underworld. Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior 

Stipek, D. J. (1993). Motivation to learn: From theory to practice. (2nd. Ed.). Boston, MA: 

Allyn and Bacon. 
Wlodkowski, R. (1978). Motivation and teaching: A practical guide. Washington, D. C: 

National Education Association. 
Wrench, J. S., McCroskey, J. C, & Richmond, V. P. (2008). Human communication in 

everyday life: Explanations and applications. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. 

Chapter Four - 58 


Chapter Five Objectives 

1. Describe the explanations concerning inow learning occurs. 

2. Distinguish between learning style and learning preference. 

3. List and discuss the various learning styles. Give examples of each learning style. 

4. Review instructional strategies to be employed with different learning styles. 

Not all students learn in the same way. Learning styles have been defined as the 
"cognitive, affective, and physiological traits that serve as relatively stable indicators of how 
learners perceive, interact with, and respond to learning environments" (Keefe, 1982, p. 
43). Within teaching- learning interactions, an effort to assess learning style reflects a 
receiver orientation and recognizes that students differ in their preference for and ability to 
process various kinds of instructional messages. Style elements may be conditions under 
which an individual is most comfortable and prefers to learn, or they may be factors which 
must be recognized to understand how information is processed and stored (Gorham, 
1986). These conditions can be assessed through both observation of and discussion with 
the student. 

Discussions of learning style appeared in the literature as early as 1892, but early 
findings were plagued with methodological problems and with a preoccupation with 
determining the one stylistic insight that would most improve student learning. Current 
efforts to explain how students learn best tend to follow one of two paths: one group is 
primarily concerned with attempts to explain differences in cognitive processing, or how 
one's brain makes sense of information; the other group focuses on applied models of 
learning and teaching and multidimensional analyses of styles. In this chapter, we will 
further discuss the definition of learning style, review five dimensions of style assessment 
and some of the approaches used to "get at" each of them, and discuss the implications of 
understanding students' learning styles in terms of matching, bridging, and style-flexing 

What is Learning Style? 

Most learning style elements are conceptualized as bipolar continua, on which an 
individual student may fall at either extreme or anywhere in between. Most of the time, one 

Chapter Five - 59 

end is not considered any "better" tinan tine otiner; altinougin students witin some learning 
styles tend to perform better in traditional classrooms than do others, this is considered a 
problem with instructional technique more than a problem with the student. For some 
students, learning style reflects a preference; for others, it is a factor which must be taken 
into account for learning to occur. This difference can be illustrated through the following 

Part one: Fold your hands. (Come on; put the book down and participate!) Notice 
which of your thumbs is on top. Now fold your hands again so the other 
thumb is on top. 

Part two: With both your eyes open, focus on a small, distant object. Raise your index 
finger and line it up with the object. Close your right eye. Open it and close 
your left eye. Notice which eye is closed when your finger appears to "jump" 
so it is no longer in front of the object with which you aligned it. Now try to 
line up your finger so it "jumps" when the other eye is closed. 

In the first part of this exercise, you probably had no particular difficulty refolding 
your hands with the other thumb on top, but it felt quite awkward to do so. In fact, you 
probably realized that you never fold your hands that way! Now suppose we offered to 
reward you for being a left- thumb- on- top hand-folder -- every time we caught you in class 
with your hands folded with the left thumb on top you would receive ten dollars. Those who 
are already left-thumb-on-top people wouldn't have to give hand-folding another thought; 
however, those who are right-thumb-on-top people would have to divert some of the 
attention they would normally pay to the information being discussed in class to monitoring 
their thumb positions. Also, attempt to clasp your hands repeatedly alternating which thumb 
is on top very quickly. This becomes fairly tricky for most people. This is similar to the effect 
of a learning style preference. Students who prefer to learn in the morning, or by hands-on 
activities, or without background noise can usually adapt to learning in the afternoon, or by 
listening, or with background noise, but some of the energy they would be able to direct 
toward learning is deflected toward coping with the learning situation. 

In the second part of the exercise, you probably found it impossible to change your 
dominant eye (the best people can do is usually to make themselves see a double image 
and try to decide which one to focus on!). This would be similar to the effect of a learning 
style factor. Students for whom time of day or perceptual modality or environmental noise 

Chapter Five - 40 

is a style factor, find it extremely difficult if not impossible to learn when the particular 
condition is not met. For example, studies with students who have been identified as 
learning disabled have indicated that many of them are those for whom time of day is a 
factor in their learning, and that the subject in which they are having the greatest difficulty 
each year changes depending on which is being taught at the worst time of day for the 
individual child. 

Learning style may be assessed in terms of cognitive processing, perceptual modality 
(visual, auditory, or tactile/kinesthetic learners), affective or motivational orientations, 
and/or structural/environmental dimensions. While cognitive processing tends to be the 
most stable and the most likely to be a factor in learning, teachers will encounter individual 
cases in which any one of the style elements might be a factor for a particular student. We 
will be discussing approaches to accommodating such differences in learning style later in 
this chapter; however, first we will describe some of the ways in which style can be 

Dimensions of Learning Style and Their Assessment 

There is an extensive and highly diverse body of literature on learning style, much of 
which consists of papers which have enjoyed limited circulation and which report on 
individual teachers' applications of style-based assessment in their own classrooms -- 
sometimes using tested instruments and sometimes using their own intuitive approaches. 
The assessment approaches we have chosen to discuss here were selected as 
representative of those that have been the most extensively tested and as indicative of five 
general approaches to conceptualizing various dimensions of learning style. 

Perceptual Modality 

Perceptual modality refers to the three basic ways in which people perceive reality: 
the visual (reading and viewing), the aural (hearing and speaking), and the psychomotor or 
tactile/kinesthetic (touching and doing). Some people have a single modality strength. 
Some are equally comfortable in two, and some in all three. The most frequent modality 
strengths are visual and mixed (each accounts for about 30 % of the population). About 
25% are auditory and about 15 % kinesthetic. Primary grade children are more auditory 
than visual, with kinesthesia (surprisingly) the least well developed modality. Between 
kindergarten and sixth grade a shift to visual and kinesthetic strengths occurs, and 
somewhere between junior high school and adulthood there is another shift in which 
audition becomes more important than kinesthesia, with vision remaining the dominant 

Chapter Five - 41 

modality. At any age, however, any given individual will have her or his own modality 

Visually-oriented students will often stop reading to look into space and imagine a 
scene, recognize spelling words by sight, be distracted by visual disorder or movement, 
become impatient when extensive listening is required, be neat and meticulous, and like 
order. Auditorial-oriented students often move their lips when they read, use a phonics 
approach to spelling, are easily distracted by sounds, like hearing themselves and others 
talk, can explain their choice of clothes but are not very concerned with matching their 
items of apparel, and blow up verbally (but calm down quickly) when they are angry. 
Kinesthetically-oriented students are frequently not avid readers or good spellers; they are 
partial to stories where action occurs early, likely to gesture extensively when speaking, 
often those who begin the day neat but become wrinkled because of physical activity, better 
at writing if not confined to a small space, and likely to express emotion in a physically 
exuberant way. 

One research who has spent a lot of time investigating perceptual modality is New 
Zeelander Neil Fleming. Fleming has created the VARK (Visual-Aural-Reading-Kinetic) model 
of perceptual modality (Fleming & Mills, 1992). Fleming's (2001) addition to the field of 
perceptual modality was differentiating between visual learning and reading. Fleming 
purports that visual involves preferences for the depiction of information in maps, diagrams, 
charts, graphs, flow charts, labeled diagrams, and other visual devices instructors use to 
represent what could have been presented in words. Conversely, the reading component of 
the VARK model involves a learner's preference for written text. To learn what type of 
learner you are, you can fill out the VARK questionnaire by visiting Neil Fleming's website at According to Fleming and Baume (2006), the VARK website receives 
over 10,000 hits per week because teachers and learners alike are interested in how 
perceptual modality influences learning in the classroom. 

Information Processing 

Information processing, or cognitive style, refers to how learners make sense out of 
information. Some grasp abstract concepts easily; whereas, some people need to see 
concrete applications. Some learn well step-by-step, while others need to see the "big 
picture" before they can make sense out of its separate parts. Some are analytical and like 
discovery-oriented learning; some like lectures that simply lay out information. 

The Embedded Figures Test, Preschool Embedded Figures Test, Children's Embedded 
Figures Test, and Group Embedded Figures Test were developed based on Witkin's 

Chapter Five - 42 

conceptualization of field dependence (FD) and field independence (Fl) (Witkin, Dyke, 
Oltman, Raskin, & Karp, 1971). Applications and analyses of the FD - Fl continuum have 
been investigated in thousands of studies over the past thirty years, making this without 
question the most comprehensively tested of the various approaches to defining learning (or 
cognitive) style. These "tests" assess students' relative FD-FI through their ability to find 
designated simple figures within complex plates or drawings. Figure 6.1 illustrates the kind 
of problem posed by these tests (although it is not an actual item from them). 




Simple Form A 

Find Simple Form A 

(In the administration of the Embedded Figures Tests, subjects are first shown the simple 
form, then the complex form. They do not see them side by side.) 

Figure 6.1 Representative Embedded Figures Task 

Field Dependent (FD) people are "lumpers," who find it difficult to split parts out of 
the whole. They are often good at creative tasks, are better able to learn socially relevant 
material, favor interactive teaching methods, and have lower performance expectations. 
They find it difficult to make sense of individual lessons if they have not first been given an 
overview of the big picture, so they know in advance how the separate facts and ideas fit 
together. FDs more frequently assume a passive or spectator learning role, and are more 
affected by both negative and positive reinforcement, by authority, and by the opinions of 
others. They are particularly attentive to nonverbal cues and affective relationships. They 
enjoy interpersonal interaction and are often attracted to interpersonally-oriented 
occupations. Educationally disadvantaged students, such as those from lower socioeconomic 
backgrounds, tend to be more field dependent than the norm. 

Field Independent (Fl) people are "splitters," who tend to analytically examine the 
big picture in terms of its parts. They have less need for externally provided structure or 

Chapter Five - 43 

regular performance feedback, and prefer expository teaching metinods sucin as lectures. 
They pay more attention to nonsalient attributes in concept learning tasks than do FDs, and 
will go off on their own tangents without worrying whether the pursuit of one is relevant to 
the particular task at hand. They often assume a more active or participant learning role, 
and are attracted to analytical professions such as engineering. FIs tend to do better in 
traditional classrooms. 

Torrance, Reynolds, Riegel, and Ball's (1977) measure of learning style assesses an 
individual's tendency to emphasize left-brain, right-brain, or integrated- brain functioning. 
Left brain dominance has been linked to the same general traits as field independence, and 
right brain dominance to those of field dependence. 

Kolb's Learning Styles I nventory 

Kolb (1976) developed a Learning Styles Inventory in which respondents rank order 
nine sets of four words (e.g., intense, reserved, rational, responsible) which distinguish 
learners along two continua: concrete experience - abstract conceptualization and active 
experimentation - reflective observation. As a result, an individual can be categorized as 
one of four learning types: Diverger, Assimilator, Converger, and Accommodator. McCarthy 
(1981) modified and combined the Kolb (1976) instruments to create a Learning Style 
Inventory that indicates both the learner' type (Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, and Type 4) and, 
within the type, her or his brain dominance (see Figure 6.2). 

Concrete Experience 












Abstract Conceptualization 

FIGURE 6.2 Kolb and McCarthy's Learning Styles 

Type One learners perceive information concretely and process it reflectively. They 
are innovative, imaginative, and concerned with personal relevance. They need to clarify the 

Chapter Five - 44 

ways in which a new area of study linl<s with previous experience before they are receptive 
to learning it. They learn best through methods that encourage brainstorming and empathy. 
For Type One learners, teachers would create an experience (right brain mode) and then 
help them analyze it (Left brain mode). 

Type Two learners perceive information abstractly and process it reflectively. 
Schools are traditionally designed for these learners, who value sequential thinking, details, 
and expert opinion. They are data collectors, who learn best from teachers who are 
information-givers. For type Two learners, teachers would give them facts (left mode) and 
help them integrate those facts with experience (right mode). 

Type Three learners perceive information abstractly and process it actively. They 
like to "mess around" with ideas and enjoy solving problems that test theories against 
common sense. They learn best with teachers who facilitate hands-on learning. For Type 
Three learners, teachers would give them worksheets and activities (left mode) and let 
them create them on their own (right mode). 

Type Four learners perceive information concretely and process it abstractly. They 
learn well by trial and error, with teachers who serve as evaluators and remediators but 
who encourage self-discovery. They have a very practical orientation. For Type Four 
learners, teachers would encourage them to create applied projects and share them with 
others (right mode) and then help them analyze what they have done against theories and 
concepts (left mode). 

McCarthy's study of 17- and 18-year-old high school students categorized 35 percent 
as Type One (of that group, 51 percent were right brain dominant, 21% left brain dominant, 
and 29% integrated), 22% as Type Two (34% right, 41% left, 25% integrated), 18% as 
Type Three (45% right, 24% left, 31% integrated), and 25% as Type Four (51% right, 32% 
left, 17% integrated). Thus, only about 9% of all students were Type Two and left brain 
dominant, the type of learner for whom most schools are structured. She subsequently 
devised a means of integrating all information processing styles into curricular planning, a 
method that will be discussed in the next section of this chapter. 

Conceptual Tempo 

A conceptual tempo refers to the time students need to get to work and complete a 
learning task. Reflective learners tend to work slowly and with precision, where impulsive 
learners tend to work more quickly and with less abandon. Schools often reward impulsivity 
by encouraging speed of response and of task completion. Learners are being taught 
quickness, but -- for those that are reflective -- that quickness may enhance the likelihood 

Chapter Five - 45 

of failure. Teachers can ask themselves the following questions to diagnose a conceptual 
tempo: Does the student work deliberately and accurately, or quickly and inaccurately? 
Does he or she work at the same pace at all tasks or vary the rate depending on the level of 
challenge? Does he or she aim to do good work or just finish an assignment? 

Affective Orientations 

Affective orientation refers to attention, emotion, and valuing, all of which are 
related to motivation. 

Conceptual Level 

Conceptual level is a motivational trait developed by Hunt and assessed through the 
Paragraph Completion Method. Students are given six incomplete statements related to how 
they handle conflict and asked to write at least three sentences about each (e.g.. What I 
think about rules...) Because the method requires some degree of writing skill, it is rarely 
used below the sixth grade level. The completed samples are scored on a scale of 0-3 in 
terms of their conceptual complexity and personal maturity (not their content). Training and 
practices are required to administer and score this assessment process. 

Conceptual level describes students in terms of their requirements for structure in an 
educational environment. Students who need much structure are characterized as having a 
short attention span, wanting to be physically active, having difficulty functioning in groups 
or discussions, and prone to guessing rather than working problems through. They need 
definite and consistent rules, specific guidelines, short-term goals, and immediate feedback 
on their work. Those who need a moderate amount of structure tend to be "good students" 
who want to please the teacher, who have difficulty adjusting to a new teacher, are upset 
with alterations to the school schedule, and are confused by choices. They can benefit from 
being given choices and being gently pushed into working in pairs, then in small groups. 
Some teachers have found that they can work relatively independently if the teacher initials 
their work each day so they have reassurance that they are on track and can see their 
progress. Students who need less structure like to discuss and argue, don't require teacher 
rewards, are eager to go off and do things on their own, and cannot tolerate going 
step- by-step. They may be initially self-centered and less concerned about others, but are 
also imaginative and not afraid of making mistakes. They like to be allowed to select their 
own seats, to choose from among several topics for an assignment, and to set their own 
timetables on projects that take several class periods. They benefit from being trained and 
reinforced in listening carefully to instructions, and to listen in general, since they have a 

Chapter Five - 46 

tendency to go off on their own. Hunt has found that over half of sixth grade students need 
much structure (54%), while 31% need some structure and 15% little structure. In 
contrast, in the sample of students he studied, 18% of ninth graders needed much 
structure, 28% some, and 54% less structure. 

Personality Type I ndicators 

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the Murphy-Meisgeier Type Indicator for 
Children, and The Teacher Temperament Measure (discussed in Chapter 15) can be useful 
to use with students. All of these scales assess both cognitive and affective style in terms of 
sensing-intuiting, thinking-feeling, and extroversion- introversion, separating each on a 
judgment- perception continuum. Of the four affective types identified, thinking-dominant 
types are energized by logically organized material, and resent poor organization. If they 
cannot find logical order in what is presented in class, they will place their energies 
elsewhere. Feeling-dominant types begin a school year with two overriding questions: Does 
the teacher care about me? And is this subject something I can give my heart to? A caring 
relationship is very important to these students, and can carry them through many tasks in 
which they lack interest. Sensing types may appreciate logical order and harmonious 
relationships, but their motivation lies in the practical and functional. They ask: Can this 
teacher show me something useful? They dislike gaps, abstractions, and facts and skills that 
are supposedly good only for some future use. The final group, intuitive-dominants hate 
routine, wants inspiration, and will daydream or move to off-task work in short order if they 
are bored. When inspired, they are the most innovative of all groups. 

Teachers who do not choose to use assessment instruments to diagnose affective 
style can ask the following questions: Does the student have a positive orientation toward 
learning? Is he or she persistent? Does he or she manifest a need for academic recognition 
from the teacher and/or peers? Does the student fear failure and try to avoid it to a 
reasonable degree? Is he or she curious? Conforming? Confident? Does he or she have 
positive feelings of academic self-concept? As students understand their own learning 
proclivities, and plan with teachers based on these tendencies, they will almost certainly be 
more motivated to learn. 

Physiological Dimensions 

Physiological learning style elements relate to the student's response to the 
environmental conditions in which learning occurs. The Learning Style Inventory (LSI) has 
been one of the more popular broad-gauged assessment approaches. The LSI is designed to 

Chapter Five - 47 

assess how individuals in grades tinree tinrougin 12 prefer to learn. It includes 24 areas 
derived from content and factor analysis: immediate environment (sound, temperature, 
light, design), sociological needs (self-, peer-, authority-oriented and/or varied), 
emotionality (motivation, persistence, responsibilities, need for structure), and physical 
needs (perceptual modality preferences, time of day, food intake needs, and mobility). 
There is also a Productivity Environmental Preference Survey (PEPS), which is a similar 
instrument for adult learners. 

Perrin created the Learning Style Inventory: Primary (LSI:P) in which kindergarten 
through second grade children respond to pictures and questions that determine learning 
style in terms of the environment, emotional tendencies, sociological needs, and physical 
requirements. The LSI:P consists of 12 charts, each concerned with a specific style element, 
a set of student profile forms, and directions for administration and scoring. The child is 
shown one of the charts and told "The little boy in this picture likes to have his teacher show 
him exactly what to do and when to do it. The little boy in the other picture likes to decide 
for himself what to do and when to do it. I am going to ask you a few questions about how 
you like to do your schoolwork." The child then responds to some questions related to the 
picture chart (e.g.. Do you like to have your teacher check each page of your work as you 
are working, or do you like her or him to check all of your work at the end of the day?), and 
is asked to point to the picture that is most like her/himself. The LSI:P takes approximately 
20 minutes to administer and is hand scored on a grid system. 

Physical and environmental conditions have much more of an influence on students' 
learning than many teachers and administrators like to admit. While we often consider these 
to be reflections of learning preferences rather than factors, they can be either -- and it is 
worth remembering that even the successful adaptation to a nonpreferred way of learning 
takes some of the energy that might otherwise be devoted to the learning task. While there 
are few formal assessment "tests" of students' physiological learning styles, they often lend 
themselves to ready observation. Teachers should ask themselves: Is this student 
performing up to the level of her/his capabilities? Is her/his health reasonably good? Is he 
or she a morning or afternoon person? Can he or she function adequately during her/his 
"down time?" Can the student sit still or does he or she fidget and want to wander around? 
Does he or she seem to break pencil points more than average and have to get up to 
sharpen the pencil? Does noise seem to bother him or her? What kind of lighting is 
preferred, given a choice? Teachers sensitive to the physiological influences on learning can 
provide a learning environment with options that allow students to choose where they will 
work, particularly during independent reading and study time. 

Chapter Five - 48 

Matching, Bridging, and Style-Flexing 

Once learning style has been assessed, what do we do with this knowledge? There 
are three general approaches to accommodating differences in how individual students learn 
most comfortably and efficiently. In this section, we will explain the philosophies behind 
matching, bridging, and style-flexing. 


In a matching approach, students are taught in their own preferred styles. They may 
be "tracked," for example, into visual, auditory, and kinesthetic groups, and assigned to 
classrooms that emphasize the respective styles in their instructional designs. 

A matching approach can be logistically complex, and has been criticized for failing to 
teach students how to accommodate their processing information in less- preferred styles. 
Thus, it might be the most practical in training or special education settings, where the 
emphasis is on either achieving the maximum skill in a minimal time, or when dealing with 
high-risk students who have experienced a great deal of failure. 

Matching has been shown to an effective means of improving academic success. For 
example, Bruno and Jessie (1982) have written a book based on their successes in 
developing hands-on activities for tactile/kinesthetic learners, while K. Dunn (1981) reports 
on the success of matching learning and instructional styles through a contract- based 
program at an alternative junior high school on New York's Lower East Side. Madison Prep 
students were those who had displayed high levels of academic underachievement and/or 
nonachievement, low reading and math scores, negative attitudes toward school, and a 
rejection of the traditional classroom environment. Approximately 85 % of the students 
substantially improved their reading and math levels, attendance averaged 80 % (among 
students who had often been truant for weeks at a time at their previous schools), and 
antisocial behavior was reduced. K. Dunn believes that these outcomes can be directly 
attributed to style matchings reversing the students' failure syndromes and thus increasing 
their motivation. 


When learning style information is used as a bridging technique, students are 
assigned to classes without an attempt to match their learning styles, and teachers 
generally teach in the ways in which they are most comfortable; however, style- based 
materials are used when students have difficulty in grasping the material. For example. 

Chapter Five - 49 

Community Consolidated Scinool District 47 in Crystal Lake, Illinois has used the 
Swassing-Barbe Modality Index to identify the perceptual strengths of elementary level 
students throughout the district. Classes are not grouped according to style, but all 
system-wide instructional materials have been classified by modality, level, and 
subject/topic so that they can be used for "point of intervention" tutoring. This information 
has been entered into learning center microcomputers, along with data on each student's 
modality strengths. Thus, when a student is having difficulty with a concept -- let's say with 
multiplying fractions -- the teacher, or the student, can go to the learning center and access 
materials (purchased and teacher-developed) that will match the student's perceptual style. 
In this way, the teacher (or students) might find supplementary worksheets, games, film 
strips or videos, instructional computer programs or other resources related to multiplying 
fractions that match that student's learning style. 

The Fox Valley Technical Institute in Appleton, Wisconsin has also used a bridging 
approach to enhance student learning and affect. All incoming students participate in 
learning style assessment, with the results sent to both the students and their counselors. 
Students are invited to discuss the results with a counselor on the Learning Evaluation staff, 
and about 60 % of them do. By anticipating problems and providing students with 
suggestions for adapting to various teaching techniques, dropout rates have decreased 
more than 10 %. Fox Valley first experimented with offering each course in a classroom, 
computer-assisted, and AV-tutorial formats, but subsequently adopted a "burst" approach in 
which material is presented to class groups in an instructor's usual style, followed by an 
opportunity for students to "burst" into style-matched subgroups in which problematic 
concepts are clarified. 


Style flexing is a process of teaching students to learn how to learn. Lessons are 
structured so individual students' learning styles are both accommodated and challenged, 
with a goal of increasing their confidence with learning in a variety of ways. McCarthy is one 
of the primary proponents of this approach. The 4Mat system (McCarthy, 1981) advocates 
lesson planning so that each learner's style is matched at one point and "stretched" at 
others. Lessons begin with creating a desire to learn through brainstorming, listening, 
speaking, and interacting, skills at which Type 1 innovative learners excel. They then move 
from reflective observation to abstract conceptualization through observing, analyzing, 
classifying, and drawing conclusions -- skills at which Type 2 analytic learners excel. 
Students are next invited to "mess around" with concepts, using the experiential, hands-on 

Chapter Five - 50 

approach that Type 3 common sense learners prefer. The final phase of the lesson involves 
application, sharing projects or teaching concepts to other students, skills at which Type 4 
dynamic learners excel. 

In practice, a unit on speech introductions might begin with students reading or 
listening to speeches with and without effective introductions and discussing their reactions. 
The class might then break into discussion groups to analyze their impressions of the 
purpose of a speech introduction (Type 1). The instructor would then teach the concept, 
explaining the objectives of and techniques for gaining attention and previewing the 
direction of a speech as they are detailed in any public speaking text (Type 2). Students 
could then, on their own or in groups, formulate three or four different introductions for the 
same speech, decide which they like best, and explain why (Type 3). They might later be 
asked to prepare an outline for a speech they will give and write two or three possible 
introductions on a separate page. Dyads could then exchange outlines, clarify the speech 
content if needed, and write two or three introductions for the partner's topic. Students 
would then discuss the similarities and differences between speaker-generated and 
partner-generated introductions and pick the one they like best (Type 4). 

Or, a high school mathematics unit could begin with setting up a lottery, similar to 
the draft lottery, in which students are assigned a rank according to the number picked at 
the same time as their birth date is drawn. The teacher can decide a relevant context in 
which to set the simulation, whether it is the assignment of desirable concert seats, who 
gets priority in scheduling classes, an actual draft lottery, or something else. The class 
would then discuss whether this is "fair" or not, and the teacher would explain how the 
lottery is an example of random function (Type 1). Students would then be taught concepts 
such as domain, range, Cartesian product and graphing, relation, rules of correspondence, 
notation, and so forth (Type 2). They could then complete graphing exercises and/or solve 
problems related to the lottery simulation, as well as make up their own rules of 
correspondence from which they must generate five ordered pairs (Type 3). Finally, 
students would be given the option of choosing among various applied projects, such as 
analyzing statistics of accidents to see if there is any relationship between accidents and the 
ages of the people who have them, or completing and analyzing the results of a survey of 
possible relationships between grades and the number of hours students work outside of 
school, sleep and watch TV (Type 4). 

Instructional planning of this type is likely to appeal to visual, auditory, and 
manipulative learners at various points, as well as accommodating the various combinations 
of concrete vs. abstract and active vs. reflective orientations. The redundancy is 

Chapter Five - 51 

instructionally sound; the instructor may "cover" fewer topics, but a greater percentage of 
students will understand those that are presented. They will, in the process, learn how to 
learn in ways other than their preferred style. 

Whether schools, or individual teachers, choose matching, bridging, or style-flexing 
approaches depends on whether they perceive the primary objective as changing the 
educational delivery system to adapt to the individual learner or whether they wish to also 
change the learner to be able to better adapt to the existing educational delivery system. 

References and Recommended Readings 

Barbe, W.B. & Swassing, R.H. (1979). The Swassing-Barbe modality index. Columbus, OH: 

Barbe, W.B., Swassing, R.H. & Milone, M.N., Jr. (1979). Teacliing tlirougli modality 

strengths: Concepts and practices. Columbus, OH: Zaner-Bloser. 
Bruno, A. & Jessie, K. (1982). Hands-on activities for student's writing: Innovative learning 

style resources. Englewood Cliffs, NJ : Prentice-Hall. 
Dunn, K. (1981). Madison prep: Alternative to teenage disaster. Educational Leadership, 38. 

Dunn, R. & Carbo, M. (1979). The reading gamble: How to improve the odds for every 

youngster. Learning, 8, 34-43. 
Dunn, R. & Dunn, K. (1975). Educator's self-teaching guide to individualizing instructional 

programs. West Nyack, NY: Parker Publishing. 
Dunn, R. & Dunn, K. (1978). Teaching students through their individual learning styles: A 

practical approach. Reston, VA: Reston Publishing Co. 
Dunn, R. & Dunn, K. (1979). Learning styles/teaching styles: Should they? -- can they? -- 

be matched? Educational Leadership, 36, 238-244. 
Dunn, R., Dunn, K. & Price, G.E. (1975). Learning style inventory. Lawrence, KS: Price 

Dunn, R., Dunn, K. & Price, G.E. (1978). Learning style inventory. Lawrence, KS: Price 

Dunn, R., Dunn, K. & Price, G.E. (1979). Productivity environmental preference scale. 

Lawrence, KS: Price Systems. 
Dunn, R., Dunn, K. & Price, G.E. (1981). Learning style inventory manual. Lawrence, KS: 

Price Systems. 
Fleming, N. (2001). Teaching and learning styles. Christchurch, New Zealand: Author. 

Chapter Five - 52 

Fleming, N., & Baume, D. (2006). Learning styles again: VARKing up the right tree! 

Educational Developments, 7.4, 4-7. 
Fleming, N. D., & Mills, C. (1992). Not another inventory, rather a catalyst for reflection. To 

Improve the Academy, 11, 137-155. 
Gorham, J. (1986). Assessment, classification and implications of learning styles in 

instructional interactions. Communication Education, 35, 411-417. 
Gorham, J. (1990). Individual differences in classroom dynamics. In J .A. Daly, G.W. 

Friedrich & A.L Vangelisti (Eds.), Teaching communication: Theory, research and 

methods, (pp. 207-221). Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum. 
Gorham, J. & Self, L. (1987). Developing communication skills: Learning style and the 

educationally disadvantaged student. Communication Research Reports, 4, 38-46. 
Hunt, D.E. (1976). Teachers' adaptation: Reading and flexing to students. Journal of 

Teacher Education, 27, 268-275. 
Hunt, D.E. (1980). How to be your own best theorist. Theory into Practice, 19, 287-293. 
Hunt, D.E., Butler, L.F., Noy, J.E. & Rosser, M.E. (1978). Assessing conceptual level by the 

paragraph completion method. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. 
Kagan, J . (1966). Reflection-impulsivity: The generality and dynamics of conceptual tempo. 

Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 71, 17-24. 
Kagan, J., Pearson, L. & Welch, L. (1966). The modifiability of an impulsive tempo, yourna/ 

of Educational Psychology, 57, 359-365. 
Kagan, J. & Wright, J. (1963). Basic cognitive processes in children. Lafayette, IN: Child 

Development Publications. 
Keefe, J .W. (1979). School applications of the learning style concept. In National Association 

of Secondary School Principals, Student learning styles: Diagnosing and prescribing 

programs (pp. 123- 132). Reston, VA: Author. 
Keefe, J .W. (1982). Assessing student learning styles: An overview. In National Association 

of Secondary School Principals, Student learning styles and brain behavior (pp. 

43-53). Reston, VA: Author. 
Kolb, D. (1976). Learning styles inventory. Boston: McBer and Co. 
McCarthy, B. (1981). The 4Mat system: Teaching to learning styles with right/left mode 

techniques. Oakbrook, IL: EXCEL. 
McCarthy, W. & Oliver, J. (1965). Some tactile- kinesthetic procedures for teaching reading 

to slow learning children. Exceptional Children, 31, 419-421. 
Meisgeier, E. & Meisgeier, C. (1989). A parent's guide to type. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting 

Psychologists Press. 

Chapter Five - 53 

Meisgeier, C, Murphy, E. & Meisgeier, C. (1989). A teacher's guide to type. Palo Alto, CA: 

Consulting Psychologists Press. 
Myers, I.B. & Briggs, K.C. (1976). Myers-Briggs type indicator. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting 

Psychologists Press. 
Myers, I.B. & McCaulley, M.H. (1985). I^anual: A guide to tiie development and use of tlie 

l^yers-Briggs type indicator. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press. 
National Association of Secondary School Principals. (1979). Student learning styles: 

Diagnosing and prescribing programs. Reston, VA: Author. 
National Association of Secondary School Principals. (1982). Student learning styles and 

brain behavior. Reston, VA: Author. 
Nicholls, J. (1990). What is ability and why are we mindful of it? A developmental 

perspective. In R. Sternberg and J . Kolligian, Jr. (Eds.), Competence considered. (Pp. 

11-40). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. 
Perrin, J. (1982). The identification of learning styles among young children. In National 

Association of Secondary School Principals, Student learning styles and brain 

behavior (pp. 119-125). Reston, VA: Author. 
Price, G.E., Dunn, R. & Sanders, W. (1980). Reading achievement and learning style 

characteristics. The Clearing House, 54, 223-226. 
Siegelman, E. (1969). Reflective and impulsive observing behavior. Child Development, 40, 

Torrance, E.P., Reynolds, C.R., Riegel, T.R. & Ball, O.E. (1977). Your style of learning and 

thinking (forms A and B). Gifted Child Quarterly, 21, 563-573. 
Witkin, H.A., Dyke, R., Oltman, P.K., Raskin, E. & Karp, S.A. (1971). A manual for the 

embedded figures tests. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press. 
Zenharusern, R., Dunn, R., Cavanaugh, D.P. & Everle, B.M. (1981, September). Do left and 

right "brained" students learn differently? The Roeper Review, 36-39. 

Chapter Five - 54 


Chapter Six Objectives 

1. Define communication appreinension, receiver appreinension, writing appreinension, 
teaciner appreinension, evaluation appreinension, and classroom anxiety and be able 
to give classroom examples of each. 

2. List and discuss potential causes of student anxiety. 

3. Provide communication strategies for reducing classroom anxiety. 

As teachers, many of us have had to work with students who have suffered from 
anxiety in the classroom. During Jason's first semester teaching, he had a student who 
ended up in the hospital because of her anxiety. The student was preparing for her first 
speech in a public speaking class. As she was preparing the speech, she grew more and 
more anxious and finally had a panic attack and stopped breathing. If her husband had not 
been with her and rushed her to the hospital, it is very likely that she may have died. The 
doctors eventually had to medicate her, so that she could give her speeches in the class. 
While this is an extreme example of anxiety in the classroom, it does demonstrate the 
devastating impact that anxiety can actually have on students. 

All of us suffer from anxiety at some point in our life. Most anxiety is caused by 
negative self-thoughts. According to Lucinda Bassett of the Midwest Center for Stress and 
Anxiety, an average person has around 300 negative self-thoughts a day - that's one every 
4.5 minutes. These negative thoughts can create an anxious state. A negative self-thought 
is any thought that prevents us or cripples us from achieving our best. If a student who is 
studying for a test starts to think that he or she can't do well on the test, that thought can 
become so overwhelming that it leads to an anxious episode or panic attack. 

Many students don't learn when they are fearful, anxious, apprehensive, or scared. 
Students don't communicate effectively with us when they are fearful, anxious, 
apprehensive, or scared to communicate with us. Students don't complete tests well when 
they are fearful, anxious, apprehensive, or scared of testing situations. Simply put, students 
don't do well in the classroom environment when they are fearful, anxious, apprehensive, or 

Some pressure to do well, of course, can be good for students. When we were 
students, we used to "psyche ourselves up" to a certain degree for an exam or a 
presentation in class so we could perform at our highest level. But many students psyche 

Chapter Six - 55 

themselves up so far they cannot perform at all, or only at a totally inadequate level. For 
decades researchers have attempted to determine the "right amount of pressure" to apply 
to students so they can learn the maximum amount. No one has found the answer to the 
amount of pressure to apply to students for peak performance. However, we do know that 
too much pressure on students to perform, to do well, to succeed, can backfire. The 
students stop performing and exhibit learned helplessness. 

This chapter is concerned with the anxieties and fears that students often confront in 
their classrooms. We will review each anxiety or fear and its impact on student 
performance, learning, and communication. Lastly, we will discuss communication strategies 
for reducing general classroom anxiety. 

Communication Apprehension 

Communication apprehension (CA) is the fear or anxiety associated with either real 
or anticipated communication with another person or persons (Richmond & McCroskey, 
1998). By far, the largest group of quiet students are those who are communication 
apprehensive. Students who are high communication apprehensives may desire to 
communicate with their peers and teachers, but are impeded by their fear or anxiety about 

It has been estimated that 20% of the student population in a school may suffer 
from communication apprehension. Communication apprehensive students tend to be low 
verbalizers and often only speak when forced to do so. If a student fears something, it is 
natural to avoid it or withdraw from it, and this is precisely what the communication 
apprehensive student does. Communication apprehension is a cognitive state that is 
centered around the fear of communicating with others. 

The student who is highly communicatively apprehensive (scared to talk, quiet) 
tends to suffer from general anxiety, has a low tolerance for ambiguity, lacks self-control, is 
not adventurous, lacks emotional maturity, is introverted, has low self-esteem, is not 
innovative, has a low tolerance for disagreement, and is unassertive. On the other hand, the 
student who has a low level of communication apprehension (likes to talk, usually outgoing) 
tends to have low general anxiety, tolerates ambiguous situations, has a high degree of 
self-control, is adventurous, is emotionally mature, is extroverted, has high self-esteem, is 
innovative, is able to tolerate relatively high levels of disagreement, and is assertive. 

In the classroom environment, communication apprehension can cause a student 
who is quiet to be perceived in a less positive way than the student who is outgoing. The 
students who are quiet in the classroom are perceived to be less competent, less intelligent. 

Chapter Six - 56 

less likely to get into trouble, less likely to do well in school, less likely to be called upon to 
respond. They tend to have less opportunities to correct learning mistakes, receive less 
attention from the teacher, receive less reinforcement when they do something well, ask for 
assistance less frequently, volunteer to participate less, and receive lower grades on class 
participation reports. In a very real sense, this group of students is discriminated against in 
the school environment. Consequently, by the time they complete high school, their 
learning, as measured by standardized achievement tests, is impacted negatively. In 
addition, the high communication apprehensive's peer groups often see her or him as less 
approachable, less friendly, less talkative, less outgoing, less pleasant, and less intelligent 
than the low communication apprehensive student. 

In summary, the school environment requires effective communication on the part of 
the teachers and students. Quiet students tend to fare less well in the school environment 
than talkative students. More extensive treatments of communication apprehension are 
available in other books in this series (McCroskey, 1998; Richmond, McCroskey, 1998) so 
we will not elaborate more here. Suffice it to say, communication apprehension is a very 
serious problem in the classroom. 

Personal Report of Communication Apprehension-24 (PRCA-24) 

DIRECTIONS: This instrument is composed of twenty-four statements concerning feelings 
about communicating with other people. Please indicate the degree to which each 
statement applies to you by marking whether you: 

Strongly Agree 




Strongly Disagree 






Work quickly; record your first impression. 

1. I dislike participating in group discussions. 

2. Generally, I am comfortable while participating in group discussions. 

3. I am tense and nervous while participating in group discussions. 

4. I like to get involved in group discussions. 

5. Engaging in a group discussion with new people makes me tense and nervous. 

6. I am calm and relaxed while participating in group discussions. 

7. Generally, I am nervous when I have to participate in a meeting. 

8. Usually I am calm and relaxed while participating in meetings. 

9. I am very calm and relaxed when I am called upon to express an opinion at a 

10. I am afraid to express myself at meetings. 

11. Communicating at meetings usually makes me uncomfortable. 

12. I am very relaxed when answering questions at a meeting. 

13. While participating in a conversation with a new acquaintance, I feel very 

14. I have no fear of speaking up in conversations. 

Chapter Six - 57 

15. Ordinarily I am very tense and nervous in conversations. 

16. Winile conversing witin a new acquaintance, I feel very relaxed. 

17. Ordinarily I am very calm and relaxed in conversations. 

18. I'm afraid to speak up in conversations. 

19. I have no fear of giving a speech. 

20. Certain parts of my body feel very tense and rigid while I am giving a speech. 

21. I feel relaxed while giving a speech. 

22. My thoughts become confused and jumbled when I am giving a speech. 

23. I face the prospect of giving a speech with confidence. 

24. While giving a speech, I get so nervous I forget facts I really know. 

Computing Score for PRCA-24 

SCORING: To compute context subscores begin with a score of 18 for each context and 
follow the instructions below. 

1. Group discussion--add scores for items 2, 4, & 6. Subtract scores for items 1, 3, 
& 5. Scores can range from 6 to 30. 

2. Meetings--add scores for items 8, 9, & 12. Subtract scores for items 7, 10, & 
11. Scores can range from 6 to 30. 

3. I nterpersonal--add scores for items 14, 16, & 17. Subtract scores for items 13, 
15, & 18. Scores can range from 6 to 30. 

4. Public speaking--add scores for items 19, 21, & 23. Subtract scores for items 
20, 22, & 24. Scores can range from 6 to 30. 

To compute the total score for the PRCA-24, add the four subscores. Total scores can 
range from 24 to 120. Scores above 80 = high CA; below 50 = low CA. 


McCroskey, J . C. (1982). An introduction to rlietorical communication (4**^ Ed). Englewood 

Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. 

Figure 7.1 Personal Report of Communication Apprehension-24 (PRCA-24) 

Norms for the PRCA-24 


Standard Deviation 

For Total Score 



Dyad (Interpersonal) 




Chapter Six - 58 

Receiver Apprehension 

Wheeless (1975) developed the original measure of receiver apprehension. Scott and 
Wheeless (1977) defined receiver apprehension as "the degree to which individuals are 
fearful about misinterpreting, inadequately processing, and/or being unable to adjust 
psychologically to messages" (p. 248). Receiver apprehension refers to how people feel 
about receiving communication or information from others. It seems some people are 
generally apprehensive about receiving information and communication from others. 
However, people are usually not as apprehensive about receiving information (being 
receivers) as they are about being a communication source. 

Wheeless and Scott found that students who were highly apprehensive about 
receiving information performed less well than students who were not apprehensive about 
receiving information. They found that students who were highly apprehensive about 
receiving information did poorly on objective measures of achievement and on outside class 
projects. They concluded that "receiver apprehension and student achievement . . . appear 
to be meaningfully related" (Scott & Wheeless, 1977, p. 249). 

Writing apprehension 

Writing apprehension is the fear or anxiety associated with writing situations (Daly & 
Miller, 1975). Students with extremely high writing apprehension are troubled with many 
kinds or types of writing and are likely to avoid it in most situations, even the classroom. 
Students who are fearful or afraid of writing situations do less well academically in school, 
achieve less, and avoid fields and careers that require a lot of writing. In addition, these 
students may be viewed by teachers and peers as the slow or uninterested students and 
their communication with others in the school environment may be affected in a negative 
manner. If the student is communication apprehensive and writing apprehensive, he or she 
will have difficulty both in oral and written communication classroom situations. 

Teacher Apprehension 

As suggested previously, there are many fears or anxieties students face in the 
classroom which can keep them from learning. It is not surprising, therefore, to note some 
students tend to have problems receiving communication from their teachers and/or talking 
with their teachers. Students who are fearful or anxious about receiving communication 
from their teacher and/or talking with their teacher may have "teacher apprehension (TA)." 
See Figures 7.2 and 7.3 for the two Teacher Apprehension Tests (TAT) which can be 
administered to your students. 

Chapter Six - 59 

Teacher Apprehension Test 

Directions: Tinis form is composed of statements students inave used to describe inow tiney 
feel about receiving communication from tineir teaciner after eacin statement, indicate tine 
number tinat best describes \r\ov\i you generally feel about receiving communication from 
your teacher. There are no right or wrong answers. Work quickly and circle your first 
impression. Please indicate the degree to which each statement applies to you by marking 
whether you: 

Strongly Disagree 




Strongly Agree 






1. I feel uncomfortable receiving communication from my teacher. 

2. I feel disturbed when my teacher communicates with me. 

3. I have no fear when my teacher communicates with me. 

4. I am comfortable when my teacher communicates with me. 

5. I feel uneasy when my teacher talks to me. 

6. I feel relaxed when listening to my teacher. 

7. I feel fearful when my teacher talks. 

8. I feel ruffled when my teacher talks to me. 

9. I am jumpy when my teacher talks. 



feel composed when listening to my teacher. 

am bothered when my teacher talks. 

feel satisfied when my teacher is talking and teaching. 

feel safe when my teacher communicates. 

feel nervous when listening to my teacher. 

am cheerful when my teacher is talking. 

feel happy when my teacher is communicating ideas to the class. 

feel dejected or hurt when my teacher is communicating. 

feel pleasure when my teacher talks to me. 

feel good when my instructor is teaching a lesson to us. 

feel happy when he or she is talking to us. 

SCORING: To compute your scores, add your scores for each item as indicated below: 

Step One: Add scores for items 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 17, & 20 

Step Two: Add scores for items 3, 4, 6, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, & 19 

Step Three: Add 60 points to Step. 

Step Four: Subtract the score for Step two from the score for Step Three. 

After you have recoded the previous questions, add all of the numbers together to get your 
composite Teacher Apprehension score. 

Score should be between 20 and 100. Scores of 80 and above indicate high teacher 
apprehension; Scores of 25 and below indicate low teacher apprehension; Scores between 
26 and 79 indicate moderate teacher apprehension. 

Chapter Six - 60 

Figure 7.2 Teacher Apprehension Test (Tat) (For Grades 6 + ) 

Directions : This form is designed for use with students in 
grades 5 and under. It is intended to measure how your 
students feel about receiving communication from you or 
communicating with you. Have each student circle one face as 
an indicant of how they feel when you are communicating with, 
or talking with, them. 

A Lot 

Figure 7.3 Teacher Apprehension Test (Tat) (For Grades 5 and Under) 

Students who have teacher apprehension are generally apprehensive about relating 
to teachers in the school environment. These are the students who will show visible distress 
or signs of apprehension when being approached by or communicated with by any teacher. 

Occasionally, a student may have a fear of communicating with just one teacher (e. 
g. situational apprehension about communicating with the toughest teacher in school). This 
is a perfectly normal reaction. Almost everyone can recount a time when they were afraid of 
one teacher, but that was not the same for being afraid of all teachers. 

However, the students who have a general anxiety or fear about receiving 
communication from teachers or talking with teachers are clearly at a disadvantage in the 
educational system. The one person who can help them succeed is the one person they fear 
the most. 

No one is quite sure why some students develop teacher apprehension and others 
don't. What we do know is that teacher apprehension can have far reaching impacts on 
student academic performance and communication. For example, students with teacher 
apprehension are often perceived by their instructors as unapproachable, unfriendly, 
unpleasant, and uninterested. While the student may or may not feel this way, the 
perception the teacher has is how the teacher sees the student. As you might have guessed, 
the student who is perceived in a negative light is less likely to receive communication, 
assistance, and guidance from the teacher. If a student does receive such attention. 

Chapter Six - 61 

however, they still are less likely to do well on assignments and projects than those 
students who are not afraid of the teacher. 

In summary, students who have teacher apprehension are less likely to seek 
instructor assistance, are less likely to be willing to listen to the teacher, are less likely to 
approach the teacher, are more likely to avoid the teacher, are less likely to initiate 
communication with the teacher, are more likely to avoid communication with the teacher, 
and are more likely to be dissatisfied with the classroom environment. This does not mean 
that high teacher apprehensives will fail in all they attempt in the educational environment, 
but it suggests they will not be as successful in school as their low apprehensive 

Evaluation Apprehension 

Evaluation apprehension (EA) is the fear or anxiety associated with either real or 
anticipated evaluative situations in the classroom. In this section we will focus primarily on 
evaluation apprehension during test or exam times. Most students indicate this evaluation 
component is when they feel the most fear or anxiety. About 20 % of our students have an 
abnormal fear or anxiety about test or exam situations in the classroom. These students 
have high evaluation apprehension. While some students can get their apprehension about 
taking tests under control, students with evaluation apprehension have anxiety that 
increases dramatically before, during, and after a test or exam. See Figures 7.3 and 7.4 for 
the two Evaluation Apprehension Measures (EAM), which can be administered to your 
students. Below is a discussion of the effects and outcomes of being afraid or fearful 
before, during, and after exams. 

Evaluation Apprehension {Pleasure 

Directions: This form is composed of statements students have used to describe how they 
feel in evaluation/ examination/test- like situations in their class. After each statement, 
indicate the number that best describes how you generally feel about taking a test or exam 
or being in an evaluative situation. There are no right or wrong answers. Work quickly and 
circle your first impression. Please indicate the degree to which each statement applies to 
you by marking whether you: 

Strongly Disagree 




Strongly Agree 






1. I feel apprehensive while preparing for a test. 

2. I feel tense when I am studying for a test or exam. 

3. I am calm when I am studying for a test. 

4. I feel peaceful when I am studying for a test. 

5. I feel fear and uneasiness when taking an exam or being evaluated. 

6. I feel self-assured when taking an exam. 

7. I feel fearful when preparing for a test. 

Chapter Six - 62 

8. I feel ruffled when the test is handed to me. 

9. I am jumpy and nervous while taking a test. 

10. I feel composed and in control while taking an exam. 

11. I am bothered and tense when I am being evaluated. 

12. I feel satisfied when my exam is completed. 

13. I feel safe during evaluative situations. 

14. I feel flustered and confused when I start a test. 

15. I am cheerful after I turn in my test. 

16. I feel happy about how I did in evaluation situations. 

17. I feel dejected and humiliated an hour before an exam. 

18. I feel pleased and comfortable while taking a test. 

19. I feel confident while taking a test. 

20. I feel unhappy throughout an exam period. 

SCORING: To compute your scores, add your scores for each item as indicated below: 

Step One: Add scores for items 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 17, & 20 
Step Two: Add scores for items 3, 4, 6, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, & 19 
Step Three: Add 60 points to Step. 
Step Four: Subtract the score for Step two from the score for Step Three. 

After you have recoded the previous questions, add all of the numbers together to get your 
composite EAM score. Your score should be between 20 and 100. Scores of 80 and above 
indicate high test or evaluation apprehension; Scores of 25 and below indicate low test or 
evaluation apprehension; Scores between 26 and 79 indicate moderate test or evaluation 

Figure 7.4 Evaluation Apprehension {Pleasure (EAI^l) (For Grades 6 + ) 

Students with apprehension about taking tests or exams often do poorly in formal 
test situations. Their anxiety gets so high it overrides the ability to process and recall 
information that is needed to do well on a test. Students with high EA often block on 
information they knew well before the test time. 

Directions: This form is designed for use with students in 
grades 5 and under. It is intended to measure how your 
students feel about tests, exams, and evaluative situations. 
Have each student circle one face as an indicant of how they 
feel when you are communicating with, or talking with, them. 

A Lot 

Chapter Six - 63 

Figure 7.5 Evaluation Apprehension {Pleasure (For Grades 5 and Under) 

In addition, if exams and tests are tine only evaluation tools a teacher has available 
to her or him in order to judge a student, they often receive the lower, less acceptable 
grades or scores. Before, during, and after a test, their systems are over activated and their 
anxiety is so high they simply do not function well. They may become physically ill before, 
during, or after an exam. They may not be able to talk with you about their feelings before, 
during, or after an exam. 

In conclusion, students with high evaluation apprehension will have high anxiety 
before, during, and after exams. In extreme cases, the students with evaluation 
apprehension may miss class the day an exam is scheduled. They simply cannot face 
another formal testing situation. They may also be perceived by their teachers as 
unintelligent, slow, uninterested, and uneducated, when in fact, they know as much as the 
other students, they simply cannot recall it at test time. 

Classroom Anxiety 

While many of the fears or anxieties discussed above are debilitating to student 
performance, classroom anxiety can totally deter a student from succeeding in the 
classroom. Classroom anxiety is the anxiety associated with the classroom environment. It 
is often referred to as "school phobia." Students with classroom anxiety are fearful, uneasy, 
insecure, and unhappy about the classroom situation. They are not at ease, calm, peaceful, 
and don't feel safe in the classroom. Their fear is so overwhelming and stifling that they are 
barely functional while they are in a classroom setting. See Figures 7.6 and 7.7 for the two 
measures of classroom anxiety that you can administer to your class at different times. 

Classroom Anxiety Measure 

Directions: This form is composed of statements students have used to describe how they 
feel in their classroom. After each statement, indicate the number that best describes how 
you generally feel while attending class. There are no right or wrong answers. Work quickly 
and circle your first impression. Please indicate the degree to which each statement applies 
to you by marking whether you: 

Strongly Disagree 




Strongly Agree 






1. I feel apprehensive. 

2. I feel disturbed. 

3. I am peaceful. 

11. I am insecure. 

12. I feel satisfied. 

13. I feel safe. 

Chapter Six - 64 


feel relaxed, 
feel uneasy, 
feel self-assured, 
feel fearful, 
feel ruffled, 
am jumpy. 

10. I feel composed. 


feel flustered, 
am cheerful, 
feel happy, 
feel dejected, 
feel pleased, 
feel good, 
feel unhappy. 

SCORING: To compute your scores, add your scores for each item as indicated below: 

Step One: Add scores for items 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 17, & 20 
Step Two: Add scores for items 3, 4, 6, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, & 19 
Step Three: Add 60 points to Step. 
Step Four: Subtract the score for Step two from the score for Step Three. 

After you have recoded the previous questions, add all of the numbers together to get your 
composite Classroom Anxiety score. 

Score should be between 20 and 100. Scores of 80 and above indicate high classroom 
anxiety; Scores of 25 and below indicate low classroom anxiety; Scores between 26 and 79 
indicate moderate classroom anxiety. 

Figure 7.6 Classroom Anxiety {Pleasure (CAJVI) (For Grades 6 + ) 

Children with classroom anxiety are often "basket cases." They do not 
voluntarily communicate with us, they do not ask for assistance, they do not answer 
questions, they do not participate in class discussions, they do not understand or hear 
questions, they do not perform well on tests, and they do not make friends easily. Their 
anxiety about school and their classroom is so high that it interferes with everything. Since 
classroom anxiety permeates all requirements we have of our students, below we have 
discussed probable causes of student/classroom anxiety and communication strategies for 
reducing classroom anxiety. 

Chapter Six - 65 

Directions : This form is designed for use with students in 
grades 5 and under. It is intended to measure how your 
students feel while attending class. Have each student 
circle one face as an indicant of how they feel when you are 
communicating with, or talking with, them. 

A Lot 

A Lot 

Figure 7.7 Classroom Anxiety {Pleasure (For Grades 5 And Under) 

Probable Causes of Classroom Anxiety 

Students can develop classroom anxiety only if a number of the variables discussed 
below are present. Usually, a student does not become anxious because of one bad 
situation; however, if the situation is traumatic enough they may become anxious about 

Students might suffer some degree of classroom anxiety if our objectives, goals, and 
intentions are too ambiguous, unclear, or disorganized. All students need clear objectives, 
goals, and intentions in order to perform; otherwise, they feel insecure about assignments 
and projects. 

Students might suffer some degree of classroom anxiety if they have only failed in 
school, never succeeded. The past history of the student, past reinforcements, and past 
failures can all contribute to a student feeling apprehension about the classroom situation. 
For example, if a student failed English three times by the time they take it a fourth time, 
they are anxious, insecure, and apprehensive. 

Students might suffer some degree of classroom anxiety if they are apprehensive 
about other things in the classroom such as testing, evaluation, communication, the 
teacher, or writing. If a student is generally anxious about a number of the classroom 
related activities, then he or she may become more anxious about the general classroom 

Students might suffer some degree of classroom anxiety if they experience unusual 
parental pressure to succeed. Many parents make classroom and school success the primary 

Chapter Six - 66 

concern of their child. They impress upon the child that if they don't do well in school, they 
cannot succeed in other endeavors. Since so much is riding upon classroom success, the 
child becomes anxious about classroom success. 

Students might suffer some degree of classroom anxiety if the classroom 
expectations and standards are set too high. Often we will establish expectations and 
standards that seem reasonable to us but are unreasonable for the students. We don't 
intentionally establish expectations and standards that are too high for our students to 
meet, it just happens because they seem easier to us than they do to the students. 

Students will suffer from classroom anxiety if the teacher uses extreme criticism or 
negative communication. Students don't succeed or achieve much when most of the 
teacher's communication is extreme criticism, negative, or humiliating in nature. Students 
will often withdraw from or avoid the classroom where the teacher's feedback and 
communication are of a negative type. When students avoid or withdraw from a classroom, 
they are not learning the content either. Hence, we need to avoid the use of extreme 
criticism, negative, or humiliating communication as an instructional practice. 

Any or all of the above factors lead to reduced teacher/student affect, reduced 
teacher/student communication, and heightened classroom anxiety. The learning of content 
is also negatively impacted by students' anxieties and fears. 

Communication Strategies For Reducing Classroom Anxiety 

There are a number of very effective communication strategies which can reduce 
classroom anxiety. Many of these strategies will also assist the students in acquiring the 
content. When our students' classroom anxiety level is low they are more capable and able 
to concentrate, process information, and recall information. 

FUN, FUN, FUN. We should facilitate enjoyment in our classrooms. Learning must be 
made to be an enjoyable process. We attempt to lessen classroom anxiety by attempting to 
get our students to enjoy learning by exchanging fun ideas, telling interesting stories that 
relate to content, telling appropriate, funny jokes, saying funny things, and generally 
attempting to make the classroom an environment where learning is fun. 

POSITIVE, POSITIVE, POSITIVE. Our communication with our students should be as 
positive and as reinforcing as possible. We should avoid the use of negative criticism and 
apply the use of reinforcing statements, praise, and reward. However, let's keep in mind, 
there is nothing harmful about informing students that they are wrong, incorrect, out of 
line, or need guidance. In fact, it is our duty to give directions and academic guidance 
without harming a student. Students of all ages and levels perform better and learn more 

Chapter Six - 67 

when the classroom environment is one in which they are praised, not admonished for their 

SIIVIILARITY, SIIVIILARITY, SIIV1II_ARITY. We can reduce classroom anxiety by 
communicating about our similarities and likenesses to our students. This does not mean we 
become one of our students. However, if we can build some similarity, then communication 
will be more effective, and as communication becomes more effective, our similarities will 
increase. We should avoid being perceived as too different or too dissimilar from our 
students. High levels of dissimilarity will make students apprehensive because they don't 
know what or how to communicate with us. 

INPUT, INPUT, INPUT. On some assignments, projects, or issues, we could negotiate 
and compromise with our students instead of always assuming control. Often in our own 
classrooms we can discuss some procedures or issues with our students and come to some 
common agreement about the range of acceptable or unacceptable solutions. Allowing 
students to have input on some classroom issues may reduce the likelihood of classroom 
anxiety emerging. 

SOLIDARITY, SOLIDARITY, SOLIDARITY. We should build affinity and solidarity 
between ourselves and our students. As affinity and solidarity increase so does effective 
teacher/student communication. As affinity and solidarity increase, classroom apprehension 
will decrease. When affinity and solidarity are present, the students know they can 
communicate honestly with us without fear of reprisals, reproaches or reprimands. 

FEEDBACK, FEEDBACK, FEEDBACK. We should acknowledge and use student ideas 
and suggestions in our teaching and delivery of content. According to Flanders (1970) when 
we use students' ideas, we are showing that we accept our students. Flanders suggests this 
type of feedback can be divided into the following for effective use: 

Acknowledging the pupil's idea by repeating the nouns and logical contentions 
he or she has expressed; Modifying, rephrasing, or conceptualizing it in the 
teacher's own words; Applying the idea by using it to reach an inference or to 
take the next step in a logical analysis of a problem; Comparing the ideas by 
drawing a relationship between the pupil's idea and one expressed earlier by 
either a pupil or a teacher. Summarizing what was said by a pupil or a group 
of pupils, (p. 48). 

CLARITY, CLARITY, CLARITY. As the content becomes more complex, confusing, or 
ambiguous, we need to become more clear and concise. Brophy and Evertson (1976) 

Chapter Six - 68 

suggest that communication clarity and student acinievement are related. They stated that, 
"in general, it seems reasonable to suppose that teacher clarity becomes increasingly 
important as the curriculum becomes more complex" (p. 82). If we increase our clarity as a 
curriculum or lesson becomes more difficult for our students to understand, then classroom 
anxiety should be reduced. Communicating optimal testing conditions can consistently and 
considerably improve and positively impact the performance of the highly anxious student. 

CLIMATE, CLIMATE, CLIMATE. A supportive classroom communication climate will 
reduce the likelihood that classroom anxiety will emerge. Hurt, Scott, and McCroskey (1978) 
lend support to this idea by stating: 

It is crucial, then, that teachers communicate with their students as 
supportively as possible -- regardless of whether their students are 
performing at a standard that is less than ideal. By the same token, it is 
crucial that teachers attempt to create an environment where students also 
engage in these behaviors, supporting their classmates or communicating 
their criticisms in a supportive manner, (p. 186) 


By employing many of the above communication strategies we can reduce the 
likelihood our students will suffer from classroom anxiety. If we can communicate effectively 
with our students, we have already taken a step in reducing or preventing classroom fears 
and anxieties. 

References and Recommended Readings 

Bassett, L. (2000). Attacking anxiety and depression: A self-tielp, self- awareness program 
for stress, anxiety and depression. Oak Harbor, OH: Midwest Center for Stress and 

Bourhis, J., Allen, M., & Bauman, I. (2006). Communication apprehension: Issues to 
consider in the classroom. In B. M. Gayle, R. W. Preiss, N. Burrell, & M. Allen (Eds.), 
Classroom communication and instructional processes: Advances through meta- 
analysis (pp. 211-227). Mahwah, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum. 

Brophy, J. E., & Evertson, C. M. (1976). Learning from teaching: A developmental 
perspective. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 

Daly, J . A., & Miller, M. D. (1975). The empirical development of an instrument to measure 
writing apprehension. Research in the Teaching of English, 9, 242-249. 

Chapter Six - 69 

Flanders, N. A. (1970). Analyzing teacher behavior. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley. 

Hill, K. (1980). Motivation, evaluation, and educational testing policy. In L. J . Fyans (Eds.), 

Achievement motivation: Recent trends in theory and research, (pp. 34-95). New 

York: Plenum Press. 
Hill, K. (1984). Debilitating motivation and testing: A major educational problem, possible 

solutions, and policy applications. In R. Ames and C. Ames (Eds.), Research on 

motivation in education, Vol. 1: Student motivation, (pp. 245-272). New York: 

Academic Press. 
Hurt, H. T., Scott, M. D., & McCroskey, J. C. (1978). Communication in the classroom. 

Reading, MA: Addison Wesley. 
McCroskey, J . C. (1998). An introduction to communication in the classroom (2"^ Ed.). 

Acton, MA: Tapestry Press. 
McCroskey, J. C, & Richmond, V. P. (1991). Quiet children and the classroom teacher. 

Bloomington, IN: ERIC and Annandale, VA: SCA. 

McCroskey, J. C, Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, L. L. (2006). An introduction to 

communication in the classroom: The role of communication in teaching and training. 

Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 
Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (1998). Communication: Apprehension, avoidance, and 

effectiveness. (5th Ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 
Scott, M. D., & Wheeless, L. R. (1977). The relationship of three types of communication 

apprehension to classroom achievement. The Southern Speech Communication 

Journal, 42, 246-255. 
Spielberger, C. D. (1966). Anxiety and behavior. New York: Academic Press. 
Stipek, D. J. (1993). Motivation to learn: From theory to practice. (2nd. Ed.). Boston: Allyn 

and Bacon. 
Wheeless, L. R. (1975). An investigation of receiver apprehension and social context 

dimensions of communication apprehension. Speech Teacher, 24, 261-268. 
Wheeless, L. R., & Scott, M. D. (1976). The nature, measurement, and potential effects of 

receiver apprehension. Paper presented at the International Communication 

Association Convention, Portland, Oregon. 
Wrench, J. S., McCroskey, J. C, & Richmond, V. P. (2008). Human communication in 

everyday life: Explanations and applications. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. 

Chapter Six - 70 


Chapter Seven Objectives 

1. Define self-concept. 

2. Review tine cinaracteristics of self. Identify why these make it difficult to change self- 

3. Discuss the three dimensions of self-concept. Give examples of each dimension. 

4. List and discuss the ways in which self-concept develops. 

5. Discuss the six conditions necessary for positive self-concept. How can teachers help 
instill these in students? 

6. Describe the influence of student self-concept upon academic achievement. 

7. Distinguish between children with negative self-concepts and children with positive 
self-concepts. Be able to generate and explain the 2x2 Model of Self-concept/IQ and 

8. Delineate the "Poker Chip" theory of self-concept. Relate it to the classroom 

9. List and discuss communication strategies for enhancing students' self-concept. 

Many of our children spend seven or eight hours a day for 180 to 200 days a year in 
the school environment. By the time our children graduate from high school they will have 
spent more than 24,000 hours in school. Most of that time is spent in the classroom 
environment. There is no other communication environment that accommodates our 
children for such long periods of time in their formative years. There is no other 
communication environment that has greater potential for shaping, molding, sculpting, and 
building our children's view of themselves during their formative years. The communication 
children have in the classroom is perhaps the most significant predictor of whether or not 
the children will believe in themselves as students and excel to the best of their abilities. 

Many teachers would like to suggest that their content area is the most significant 
predictor of students' achievement and excellence. However, the majority of teachers know 
their individual affective and effective communication with their students about the content, 
themselves as students, their progress, and their future potential determine student 
achievement and excellence. While a primary focus of education must be on content-area 
communication, more and more school systems are focusing on effective and affective 

Chapter Seven - 71 

communication between teaciner and student as a means of promoting student acinievement 
and excellence. 

In order to promote student achievement and excellence, we must communicate in a 
healthy, positive manner with our students so they can develop and maintain healthy, 
realistic self-concepts. Students with healthy self-concepts will learn more content, perform 
better on tests, have fewer personal needs, require less teacher direction, pursue more 
content on their own, have better communication relationships with teachers, peers, and 
administrators, and feel more positive about the educational system than students with 
unhealthy self-concepts. For decades educational administrators, pedagogical managers, 
researchers, and scholars have studied the impacts of student self-concept on academic 
achievement and excellence and yet very little effort is still being exerted on the part of 
many educational systems to improve healthy, realistic student self-concept. In this 
chapter, we will review student self-concept, characteristics of the self, development of 
self-concept, dimensions of self-concept, self-concept and academic achievement, and 
communication methods for changing or improving student self-concept. 

Student Self-Concept: Some Definitions 

In this chapter, we will refer to the terms self-concept, self-esteem, self-worth, and 
self-image as having the same meaning. Some texts distinguish among some of these 
terms (McCroskey, 1998), however, for ease of reading and understandability of material 
the above terms will be taken here to be synonymous. 

Student self-concept is a student's complete and total view of her or his cognitive, 
behavioral, emotional, and psychological capabilities and abilities as a student. Student 
self-concept is the student's view of themselves in terms of overall self-worth in the 
classroom. Student self-concept is a student's assessment, evaluation, and valuation of 
her/himself in the classroom environment. Student self-concept is a student's overall 
self-image of themselves in the classroom. Student self-concept is the student's 
perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, and values about themselves and how others perceive them 
in the school environment. 

We are not suggesting self-concept is analogous to conceit, narcissism, egocentric 
behavior, being an egotist, vain, or having a high or exaggerated opinion of oneself. 
Self-concept is simply a student's realistic view or perception of her/himself in the 
classroom environment. The perception a student has of her or himself as a student is 
generally stable, consistent over time, and difficult to change. Self-concept is difficult to 
change because it is a part of the person. Next we will discuss the characteristics of the self. 

Chapter Seven - 72 

Characteristics of the Self 

In a classic book on self-concept, Purkey (1970) set forth the following composite 
definition of self. He stated the self is "a complex and dynamic system of beliefs which an 
individual holds true about himself (or herself), each belief with a corresponding value" (p. 
7). The definition of self has two primary characteristics: the self is organized and the self is 
dynamic. These characteristics will be discussed below. 

Self is Organized 

Purkey (1970) suggested the "self has a generally stable quality which is 
characterized by harmony and orderliness" (p. 7). For example, our students have 
perceptions or beliefs about themselves that have some order to them and are relatively 
stable across time. I n addition, many of these closely held beliefs are difficult to change. 

Each belief or concept has "its own generally negative or positive value" (p. 9). For 
example, most students make some evaluation of themselves as a student. Their 
evaluations are usually negative or positive. Often they will evaluate themselves in various 
subject areas as good or bad. 

Another quality of the organized self is that "success and failure are generalized 
throughout the system" (p. 9). When one ability is important and highly valued and we fail 
at this ability, then our failure will lower our self-evaluation of other, maybe unrelated, 
abilities. On the other hand, when one ability is important and highly valued and we achieve 
at this ability, then our achievement might raise our self-evaluation of other, maybe 
unrelated, abilities. In essence, if a student succeeds in one area of school, then they might 
think they can succeed in other areas of school. For example, if a student thinks they are 
good at English and English is highly valued to her or him, repeated failure in English will 
lower the student's self-concept in other (perhaps unrelated) subject matter areas. 

Self is Unique 

Like fingerprints, no two people ever hold identical sets of beliefs about themselves. 
This uniqueness of the self, which makes for an infinite variety of personalities, helps to 
explain problems of communication" (p. 9-10). Because of this uniqueness, differences 
occur in how students see themselves, the classroom, and us. For instance, a 
Euro-American teacher in Oklahoma might view the classroom differently from a Hispanic 
student in Southern California. 

Chapter Seven - 73 

Self is dynamic 

Purkey (1970) states that "each one of us is constantly striving to maintain, protect, 
and enhance the self of which he (or she) is aware" (p. 10). The self is dynamic in the sense 
that each person is constantly attempting to maintain balance between her/his beliefs and 
her/his behavior. The self is the vantage point from which students view the world. Purkey 
goes on to state: 

Things are significant or insignificant, important or unimportant, attractive or 
unattractive, valuable or worthless, in terms of their relationship to oneself. 
We evaluate the world and its meaning in terms of how we see ourselves. 
Many students do poorly in school simply because what the school is doing 
seem irrelevant to himself (or herself) and his (or her) world, (p. 10) 

With the self as the vantage point, it is often difficult to change a student's perception of her 
or himself. If the student sees her or himself as a poor student, it may take a large number 
of successes in school before you can convince them otherwise. Changing a student's view 
of her or himself does not happen overnight. However, even our best students can begin to 
doubt their abilities if a teacher gives them many unsuccessful or failure experiences. When 
a poor student experiences failure, he or she simply accepts it because they expected to do 
poorly anyway, no matter how hard they worked. 

In general, the self resists change and attempts to strive for consistency. People feel 
uncomfortable with themselves when they are forced to change. This is why it is so difficult 
to change self-image. Occasionally people will shift their self-image. Situations like the first 
day of school, graduation, marriage, a new job, new friends, or retirement might cause a 
shift, but overall our self is resistant to permanent change. 

Purkey states: 

However, the self will change if conditions are favorable. If the child sees the 
educative process as meaningful and self-enhancing, and if the degree of 
threat provided by the school experience is not overpowering, then he (or 
she) is likely to grow in self-esteem and in academic achievement. Very few 
students want to be failures at learning, just as very few teachers want to be 
failures at teaching, (p. 12) 

Chapter Seven - 74 

In conclusion, within the self is some personal, internal motivation to engage in some 
activity. This can be advantageous for us. Our students come to school with some personal, 
internal motivation. It may or may not be to engage in school related activities. We have to 
be able to engage them in experiences that will get them motivated in the direction desired 
by the school system. If we can tap into a student's internal motivation system, then we can 
turn her or him into a "a truly dedicated student with some self-assurance" so they can 
succeed in the school process. 

The characteristics of self are highly related to student self-concept formation. It is 
these very characteristics which make it difficult to alter or change a student's self-image. 
When we talk about changing self-concept, we are talking about changing the way a person 
views her or himself. This is no easy task. It is not easy because these perceptions of self 
are formed early and often solidified early in life. Before we begin to discuss methods for 
altering self-concept and building a more realistic view, we must review the development of 

Development of Student Self-Concept 

The verbal and nonverbal communication the student receives from teachers, school 
officials, peers, parents, and other significant persons may have a greater, more far 
reaching impact on realistic student self-concept than other variables. While many of our 
students enter our classrooms with some degree of a healthy or unhealthy self-concept, it is 
we (teachers) who probably have the greatest impact on student self-concept. It is teacher 
communication with the student that tells the student how he or she is performing in the 
classroom. While our students listen to their peer group and parents, we still have a major 
impact on their self-concept because we spend more time with them than any other group 
throughout their educational careers. Our verbal and our nonverbal communication with our 
students are some of the primary determinants of whether or not a student has a healthy 
self-image or an unhealthy self-image of her or himself in the classroom. All other 
explanations are peripheral to the development of student self-concept. In relation to 
self-concept development and teacher impact, Haim Ginott stated the following: 

I've come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the 
classroom. ..As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child's life 
miserable or joyous... In all situations, it is my response that decides whether 
a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or 

Chapter Seven - 75 

With the understanding that communication is the l<ey component in self-concept 
formation, we will move to discuss other factors that impact student self-concept 
development. Keep in mind that the other factors are all related to the communication in 
the classroom. 

Many students enter our academic halls with a fairly healthy, positive view of 
themselves and then in a few short years they leave our academic halls with a less than 
healthy, perhaps negative view of themselves. How does this transformation happen? 
Again, it goes back to the communication the student encounters. He or she comes in 
bright, alert, expectant, energetic, and willing to learn. Then they begin encountering 
persons who tell them in verbal or nonverbal ways that they aren't very good at what they 
are doing. Some persons tell them they aren't very good persons. After several days, 
months, or years of this, the student has developed a feeling about her or himself as a 
student. It is this accumulation of data about oneself and one's performance from many 
teachers, school personnel, and others that confirms a student's self-concept. 

Parents and other significant others have a major impact on a student's self-concept 
development. The communication given by significant others often influences a student's 
self-regard confirmation. Parents, grandparents, and teachers often feel they have no 
impact on a student after the first few grades are completed. This is completely untrue. 
Many times students still look to their parents, grandparents, and teachers for assurance 
and encouragement. If these significant others don't give guidance, assurance, or 
encouragement, the student may begin to feel unsure of him or herself. Students feel that if 
the people who are supposed to love and care about their needs, successes, and 
achievements think they are doing poorly, then perhaps they are. After extensive periods of 
less than positive communication from significant others, a student's self-esteem will be 
lowered. Even grown adults still place value upon what their parents think of them and what 
they do. So why shouldn't our students do the same? 

As a student's positive or negative experiences multiply so does the perception of 
self develop. School is filled with many positive and many negative opportunities. Not all 
students can succeed in all academic challenges. However, given proper instruction, proper 
teacher/student communication, and a good classroom environment, all students should be 
able to succeed in most academic challenges. Public school was never designed for an elite 
few to do well. It was designed so all students could have an equal opportunity to learn, 
process information, perform, and achieve. However, many, many students never have a 
number of positive experiences, they have negative experiences that continue to multiply. 

Chapter Seven - 76 

(See Figure 8.1 for an illustration of this idea.) When failures outnumber successes, a 
student's healthy self-concept may be in jeopardy. Often as failures mount, healthy 
self-concept decreases. 

Stereotyping of a student can significantly heighten the likelihood that a healthy or 
unhealthy self-concept will follow. Often students become negatively stereotyped in their 
early years in school and this stereotype follows them throughout their academic careers. 
There have even been reported incidents of an entire group or family of children who were 
all perceived in a negative light by teachers and administrators. What chance does a child 
have to succeed if some negative reputation or stereotype precedes her or him? 








Asking Ouestions 


Helping Teacher 

Home Economics 


Social Science 



Foreign Language 

Physical Education 


Multicultural Studies 



Relating to Others 



Playing with Others 

Lab Work 


Working with Others 

Being Liked 


Selected Fan Clubs 



Computer Science 



Extracurricular Activities 

Answering Ouestions 


The above are several areas 


here a student can succeed 

or fail. When the failures 

outweigh the successes, 


e student will have a 

lowered student self-image. 

Figure 8.1 Potential Areas Where Students Can Succeed or Fail 

Above are several areas where a student can succeed or fail. When the failures outweigh 
the successes, the student will have a lowered student self-image. 

All too often in classrooms, hallways, cafeterias, and school offices we hear killer 
statements made to or about our students. Killer statements are usually verbal message 
put-downs or negative statements made to a student or made about a student. They are 
usually generated by teachers and other school personnel. Often these statements may 
even be a part of a teacher's communication repertoire in the classroom. Many times these 
statements occur from frustration, tension, or stress in the classroom environment. Killer 

Chapter Seven - 77 

statements are hurtful comments that usually hit at the core of a student's self-esteem. 
Some examples we have heard used by teachers are: "You're so dumb, a door knob looks 
bright." "You have a brain the size of a pea." "Where did you get such a stupid idea?" 
"Your parents must have had one good child, but it sure isn't you." "You're just like your 
older brother, a failure." I think we can see from these examples that killer statements do 
not belong in our school setting. These types of statements can hurt any student of any age 
and damage their student self-concept. 

Lastly, students will acquire some of the self-concept about whom and what they are 
by listening, watching, and modeling the behaviors and attitudes of the adults in their 
surroundings. For example, students often watch and model the nonverbal behaviors and 
spoken attitudes of their teachers. Students consider their teachers to be role models, so 
they model them. If we are not positive about ourselves, our profession, our school, our 
state, and the general state of education, the students may develop some of the same 
behaviors we display. Even the more mature students will begin to model us and speak like 
us. If we have a low self-concept, we are likely to have an entire room of nonconfident, 
insecure, timid students. If we have a healthy self-concept then we are likely to have an 
entire room of confident, secure, self-assured students. 

In conclusion, all of the factors which contribute to the development of student 
self-concept may or may not be present in each student's environment. No one is sure 
exactly what variables or combinations of variables impact every student. But we do know 
each student is unique and different and their self-concept is influenced in unique and 
different ways. We also know that if a student receives much negative communication over 
long periods of time, her or his likelihood of having a lowered self-concept has been 
increased. To summarize, we don't know all the reasons why some students have higher or 
lower (realistic or unrealistic) self-concepts than others, but we do know that 
communication employed by significant others has a major impact on a student's 
perceptions of her or himself. 

Dimensions of Student Self-Concept 

Student self-concept is a multidimensional construct; there are different dimensions 
or ways in which students view themselves. There are three primary dimensions. These 
dimensions are behavioral self, identity self, and judging self. 
Behavioral Self 

This dimension of student self-concept refers to the behavior of the student. It is 
often viewed as how some student acts or what they do. The behavioral self is usually 

Chapter Seven - 78 

concerned with some action, movement, beinavior, or student conduct. Tine following are 
examples of the behavioral self: Students play, act, sit still, stand up, walk around, learn, 
move, motion, gesture, toss a ball, walk, wave arms, listen, recite, change posture, react to 
another's movements, write, scribble, draw, perform, balance self, answer, talk, request, 
demonstrate, organize, present, and run. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the 
behaviors by which students are judged or make judgments about themselves. 

Identity Self 

This dimension of student self-concept refers to the identity of the student. It is often 
viewed as how some student views or sees what or who they are in the school system. The 
identity self is usually concerned with being closely associated with some identity role. The 
following are examples of the identity self: Students see themselves as friends, helpers, 
sports persons, the class clown, the perfect student, the dumb student, the new student, 
the transfer student, the minority, the disabled person, the slow student, the most popular 
student, the least popular student, the best liked, least liked, most likely to succeed, least 
likely to succeed, most beautiful, least beautiful, richest, poorest, high class, low class, best 
dressed, worst dressed, student body president, biggest jerk in the school, trouble maker, 
quiet student, noisy student or the nobody. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the 
identities by which students are judged or make judgments about themselves. 

J udging Self 

This dimension of student self-concept refers to the evaluations, judgments, or 
opinions students make about themselves. It is often viewed as how a student judges or 
evaluates what they do and who they are. The following are examples of judgmental 
statements students might make about themselves: I am a good student. I am a lousy 
student. I am an exceptional basketball player. I am a poor basketball player. I am a good 
student body president. I am a poor student body president. I am the biggest failure in 
school. I am the most intelligent student in school. I am the dumbest student in school. I 
am the fattest student in school. The judging self always has some evaluative term or 
adjective attached to the student's description of what they do or who they are. These 
statements will tell us how the student truly sees her or himself. 

If we listen to our students talking to others and talking to us, they will often give us 
hints through their communication about how they feel about themselves. We can use this 
information to help us adjust our communication so we confirm the positive feelings they 
have and not reinforce the negative feelings they have about themselves. If students 

Chapter Seven - 79 

generate too many negative statements about themselves, eventually they will be what 
they say they are. 

Self-Concept and Academic Achievement 

There are several schools of thought on the relationship between self-concept and 
student achievement. We have elected to support the school of thought which suggests 
when self-concept is poor (not healthy, strong, or realistic) then student achievement may 
be adversely affected. The reasoning for this is that self-concept is a strong mediating, 
motivating variable for overall achievement in all levels of school. A student's self-concept, 
self-confidence, and self-image are so integral to the student's evaluation system of her or 
himself that this self-concept variable will impact a student's potential for academic success. 
The student who does poorly in some academic area may or may not have her or his 
self-esteem impacted. If that student has a strong, healthy self-concept, they will be able to 
overcome an academic disappointment and work to improve that area. However, the 
student with low self-concept is less likely to be able to overcome an academic 
disappointment and probably will not be able to improve that area. 

Children enter our classes with a negative or positive predisposition toward school, 
academics, achievement, and success. In our schools their predisposition is often reinforced 
and the children live up to our expectations. In our schools their predisposition is often 
discouraged and the children change their attitudes about school, academics, achievement, 
and success. No one seems to be able to pinpoint where a student's predispositions change 
in school but we do know that a teacher (one good or one bad teacher) can have a 
significant impact on the self-image of a child. We also know that self-image has a 
significant impact on academic achievement. Let's look at a profound description of children 
and their self-image as they enter school as provided by Purkey (1970): 

It is evident that children come to school with all sorts of ideas about 
themselves and their abilities. They have formed pictures of their value as 
human beings and of their ability to cope successfully with their 
environment. ..the child's self-image is with him (or her) wherever he (or she) 
goes, influencing whatever he (or she) does. Negative self-esteem, however, 
is often overlooked because we fail to take the time and effort it requires to 
be sensitive to how children see themselves and their abilities, (p. 37) 

Chapter Seven - 80 

Unfortunately, many of our children enter our classrooms with the feeling that they are 
"useless," "worthless," or "have no value." It takes time, effort, caring, and effective 
teacher communication to get these children to perceive themselves differently. Perhaps 
what is more puzzling is that many children come to school with the feeling that they are 
"useful," "valuable," or "have value," and somewhere in the process of education they begin 
to perceive themselves differently and their positive self-image moves to a negative 
self-image. Whether children come with a negative self-concept or develop a negative 
self-concept in school, it is clear that self-concept can impact academic achievement and 
even lead to antisocial student behaviors. 

Effects of Self-Concept on Achievement 

Through effective communication with our students we may be able to provide an 
environment where even the student with the lowest self-esteem can learn and thrive. This 
must be our goal. Otherwise we will have numbers of students who are failing in many 
aspects offered by our educational systems. 

Every year there are more and more reports linking low student self-concept with 
poor academic performance, increased absenteeism from school, increased frustration with 
school, increased antisocial behaviors in the school environment, and more failures. It 
seems more of our students are having self-concept, self- identification problems than 
previously reported. Of course if students don't see themselves in a positive light it is 
difficult to view other things in a positive light, such as school. Since school is such a 
significant portion of their life, if they don't get their self-concepts built up in school, then 
they may never have another opportunity to have their self-concepts built up. 

Clearly children's self-concepts impact the way they view themselves, us, and the 
school system. Children with poor self-concepts are not as likely to learn to read, write, 
spell, speak, relate, and manage mathematics, science and so on as well as students who 
have high self- concepts. Children with poor self-concepts are not as likely to be able to 
discern appropriate positive student behaviors in the classroom to assist in the achievement 
process as well as students who have high self-concepts. Children will poor self-concepts 
are not as likely to willingly engage in the interactive instructional process as students who 
have high self-concepts. Children with poor self-concepts are not as likely to understand 
and grasp new curriculums and instructional strategies as well as students who have high 
self-concepts. Children with poor self-concepts are not as likely to acquire new concepts and 
material on their own as students who have high self-concepts. Children with poor 
self-concepts are more likely to be misbehavior problems and present antisocial behaviors 

Chapter Seven - 81 

than students with high self-concepts. It is not surprising then that students with low 
self-concepts fare less well in school than students with high self-concepts. In addition, 
teachers often like to interact with, work with, and encourage the higher self-concept 
students more than the low self-concept students. It is more rewarding to work with a high 
self-concept, self-assured student than it is to work with a low self-concept student. 

In conclusion, Purkey (1970) sums up the relationship between self-concept and 
student academic achievement by stating: 

Overall, the research evidence clearly shows a persistent and significant 
relationship between the self-concept and academic achievement. Judging by 
the preponderance of available research, it seems reasonable to assume that 
unsuccessful students, whether underachievers, nonachievers, or poor 
readers, are likely to hold attitudes about themselves and their abilities which 
are pervasively negative. They tend to see themselves as less able, less 
adequate, and less self-reliant than their more successful peers, 
(pp. 15 &22) 

It is clear that students' negative self- perceptions will impact their academic achievement, 
their learning, their socialization in school, their communication with others, and their 

Figure 8.2 illustrates the impact that student self-concept and student abilities have 
on academic achievement. As we can see from Figure 8.2, there are four resultant levels of 
academic achievement based on self-concept and ability. 



Student Se 


High Achievers or 
Over Achievers 



Moderate to Good 


Figure 8.2 Model Of Student Self-Concept Ability Level And Achievement 

Chapter Seven - 82 

Box 1 suggests the student with a high or healthy self-concept and high ability will 
be a high achiever or overachiever. The reason for this is that the student in Box 1 has high 
self-confidence because of the healthy self-concept and, combined with high ability, they 
can master almost any subject matter or content area. This combination of confidence and 
ability allows this student to be able to approach most academic and social arenas in school 
with self-assurance, confidence, skill, and competence. Other descriptive terms for this 
student might include the following: a go-getter; self-starter; an initiator; or a leader. These 
students will experience high achievement in the school system and many academic and 
personal rewards. They accomplish, succeed, and perform in many arenas. They rarely fail 
or fall down in any area of school. Of course these students are only a very small proportion 
of the student population. They are generally well-liked, respected, and receive much 
positive communication from their teachers. 

Box 2 shows a student with a healthy or high self-concept and a low ability level. 
This student is still likely to have moderate to good achievement because of their high 
self-concept which gives them self-assurance and self-confidence. They are confident but 
have less ability than the students in Box 1, but they know that if they strive, work hard, 
and study, they can master many subjects and succeed in school. These students might 
also be called: I think I cans; the try, try agains 'till I get it right; the pluggers who plug 
away until they get it right; the stick to it students; the plodders who plod along until they 
get it right; or hard workers. These students will also experience good levels of achievement 
in the school system and many academic and personal rewards. They have high aspirations. 
They work hard, try hard, attempt to do things well, talk to teachers about how to improve, 
have high need to work and succeed and usually do succeed because of their dedication, 
determination, and confidence. While their ability is not as high as Box 1 (and they are well 
aware of their limited abilities), they succeed because they are driven to succeed by a 
strong, healthy self-concept. These students usually comprise a larger proportion of the 
student population than Box 1. They, too, are generally well-liked, respected for their 
tenacity, and receive much positive communication from their teachers. 

Box 3 shows a student with an unhealthy or low self-concept and a high ability level. 
This student is not likely to achieve up to their ability level because they lack confidence and 
self-assurance. They are less confident in themselves than Boxes 1 or 2 because of their low 
self-concept or low perceptions of themselves. Their self-concept holds them back from 
achieving up to their ability level. These students are often seen as underachievers. These 
students might also be called: the low achievers; I can't students; or the frustrated ones. 
These students have the ability but their low self-concept is holding them back from 

Chapter Seven - 83 

academic achievement. Often teaciners will say to this group of students "you should be 
doing better than you are, what's the matter?" This group has been defeated by their 
self-image and is easily discouraged in the classroom. Even when they do perform well in 
the classroom and get reinforced for it, they think it was luck, chance, or the instructor had 
pity on them. It takes a lot of teacher reinforcement to show them that they have the ability 
to do well. They give up easily, don't attempt new projects, and often become frustrated 
with school, which might lead to misbehavior problems. These students usually comprise 
the same proportion of the student population as Box 2. 

Box 4 shows a student with an unhealthy or low self-concept and a low ability level. 
This student is not likely to achieve much in school. In fact they may become the mental 
and/or physical dropouts. They are not confident in themselves, have a very low opinion of 
themselves, and have low ability. These students are often viewed as nonachievers. These 
students might also be referred to as: the dropouts; the deadbeats; the lost ones; the lost 
souls; or I don't care group. These students are held back because they have low 
self-concepts and low ability. They are truly less in tune with school, less likely to attend 
school, and are often the mental dropouts. Many times these students will stay in school for 
social or legal reasons. They are often absent from school and have to be forced to attend 
school. They will often join antisocial groups and be susceptible to influence from the 
antisocial groups. School is not relevant so they find some group that is. These students do 
not enjoy the rewards that the school has to offer. In fact, teachers usually wonder why 
these students are in their classes. These students usually comprise the same proportion of 
the student population as Box 1. 

In conclusion, it is clear student self-concept has an impact on student achievement, 
success, and learning. The students with the lower self-concepts are more likely to achieve 
less, learn less, and be frustrated more with school than students with the higher 
self-concepts. So then what do we do? First, we must nurture and make sure the students 
with the higher self-concepts in Boxes 1 and 2 continue to flourish in our systems. We don't 
want to assume that because they are self- motivated they can be ignored. At the same time 
we cannot spend all our time nurturing them while neglecting others. Second, we need to 
build or increase the self-esteem of students in Boxes 3 and 4. We must do this without 
neglecting the others in our classes. As suggested earlier, our jobs are not easy, but then 
again no one promised us teaching was easy. Before we move to communication strategies 
for enhancing students, self- concepts, we will review one of the primary explanations of 
learning and self-concept. 

Chapter Seven - 84 

Poker Chip Theory of Learning 

The "poker chip theory of learning" was advanced to explain the relationship 
between self-concept and student achievement and learning. Canfield and Wells (1976) 
advanced the idea that "we see all learning as the result of a risk-taking situation somewhat 
akin to a poker game (or any other gambling situation, for that matter)" (p. 7). They 
continue by suggesting that in any potential learning situation in the classroom students are 
asked to take risks, such as: giving a speech; reciting a poem; answering a question orally 
in class; writing her or his name; asking the teacher a question; doing a math problem at 
the board, writing a paper on Shakespeare; doing a computer program; or doing some 
artwork. In each situation the student is risking approval, failure, success, disapproval, 
rejection, humiliation, judgment, and perhaps even punishment. They state that at a 
"deeper level the student is risking his or her self-concept" (p. 7). 

To make the analogy more understandable, we must assign the following 
representations: the school or educational organization is the house; the teacher is the 
dealer; the student is the player; and the student's self-concept is her or his stack of poker 
chips. Some students start the education game with more chips than other students. The 
students who come into our classes with the higher number of chips have a great advantage 
over the students who don't have as many chips. For example, the student who comes into 
our class with one hundred chips can lose many chips, take many risks before they can no 
longer play the game. However, the student who comes into our class with twenty chips 
can't play the education game as long or be as risky before their chips are all gone. 
Students with high self-concepts have a lot of chips and can play the game of education a 
long, long time before their chips are depleted. Students with low self-concepts have few 
chips and can't play the game of education as long before their chips are depleted. 

The school (the house) sets the rules of the game. The teacher (the dealer) deals a 
good hand or a bad hand to the students. The students play the game and many students 
gain higher self-concepts, while many have their self-concepts lowered. Often this happens 
because either the school or the teacher deals a "bad" or "dirty" hand. He or she builds the 
chips for the students who seem most worthy, most promising, and most productive. He or 
she lowers the number of chips for the students who seem least worthy, least promising, 
and least productive. In most cases those students with high self-concepts can play the 
game longer and take more risks than those students with low self-concepts. Hence, the 
winners in the game are usually the students who enter our classes with more chips. The 
losers are usually the students who enter our classes with fewer chips. The students who 
played well in the past and earned many chips will be able to play more in the future. The 

Chapter Seven - 85 

students who did not play well in the past and did not earn as many chips will not be able to 
play more in the future. This is why we have children in Boxes 3 and 4 of Figure 8.2. 

Earlier we suggested the teacher has control of the deck and he or she can deal a 
good or a bad hand. We are not suggesting teachers intentionally deal a bad hand to some 
students (although we know some who do). We are suggesting that a teacher through her 
or his communication and reactions to students often deal an unintentionally "crooked" 
hand to many students with low self-concepts. We unintentionally reinforce students with 
high self-concepts more thus building up their stack of chips, while not building or even 
lowering the chips of the low self-concept students. How does this happen? It happens 
primarily by teachers unintentionally being more responsive and communicative with the 
higher self-concept students and being less responsive and communicative with the lower 
self-concept students. Teachers often call on the brighter students (or those with higher 
self-concepts) more often; give prompts to the brighter students more often; give harder 
questions to the brighter students; help brighter students formulate answers; like, respect, 
talk with brighter students more often; give emotional and social support to the brighter 
students; spend more time with the brighter students; integrate the brighter students into 
school activities more often; are more accepting of brighter students' ideas; spend more 
time with the brighter students; and generally are more nonverbally and verbally responsive 
to the brighter students. The less than bright students (or those with lower self-concepts) 
are often left to themselves in the classroom and school environment. As the brighter 
students' self-concepts increase, the less than bright students' self-concepts decrease. What 
can we do to nurture those students whose self-concepts need nurturing while building the 
self-concepts of those students who have lower self-images? The next section hopefully 
should answer the above question. 

Communication Strategies For 
Nurturing and Building Realistic Student Self-Concept 

There are many, many strategies for nurturing and building realistic student 
self-concept. We will review some of the primary strategies. However, we must keep in 
mind none of these strategies will be useful if we don't believe they can work. They will not 
be useful if we aren't willing to acknowledge that we are the primary force in changing, 
molding, nurturing a child's self-image in the school system. 

We must establish a positive, affective, cooperative classroom environments in which 
children feel they can contribute ideas which will be integrated into the content or 
classroom, ask and answer questions, and give examples relating to the content without 

Chapter Seven - 86 

fear of punishment or negative evaluations. In this same vein, we must show a willingness 
to listen, listen, listen to our students. Often we use our vocal communication tool (the 
mouth) too much when in fact we should be using our receiving communication tools (our 
ears) more. 

Our pedagogical approach must be student oriented. Our students must take priority 
each and every day. Each student must receive equal amounts of attention, communication, 
instruction, and time from us. No one student should receive more of the above than the 
other students. 

We establish the tone for the classroom. We have to eliminate all killer statements 
from our speech and not allow students to use killer statements on one another. Killer 
statements can keep lower self-concept students from interacting, exchanging ideas, or 
participating in class projects. Even our more secure students might be hesitant to interact 
or exchange communication if they are likely to receive a killer statement for their efforts. 
We need to always ask ourselves before we toss an unkind, hurtful word or statement at a 
student, "would we want our own children treated like this?" We need to stop killing 
students with our verbal communication. Instead we need to nurture students through our 

Through our verbal and nonverbal communication behavior patterns we must 
communicate praise, reinforcement, and encouragement to each and every student for her 
or his efforts. This could be accomplished in a variety of ways. For example, we could use 
"happy" or "positive" stickers on projects or papers to show support. We could smile at each 
student once a day. We could give a nod to each student as they enter or leave our 
classrooms. We need to acknowledge their contributions and give encouragement and 
guidance for future contributions. 

We need to assist students in cognitively restructuring their views of themselves and 
their ideas. We should not let our students "put themselves down" and we should never 
reinforce them when they do so. When students constantly say they are "dumb" or "stupid" 
we need to have them restructure their thoughts so they stop thinking and saying they are 
dumb or stupid. If they say it long enough and often enough, they may begin to believe it. 

We must focus on their accomplishments more often, and focus less on their failures. 
We should communicate with them about their accomplishments, achievements, and 
recognitions. We should avoid "over focusing" or "overemphasizing" their failures and 
weaknesses. Most of our students are very aware of their shortcomings and will focus on 
them even when we don't. We must communicate their achievements to them so they want 

Chapter Seven - 87 

to continue to achieve in some area of scinool. If we fail to communicate any achievements 
to them, they may quit attempting to achieve at school. 

We must communicate a sense of belongingness and connectedness to each and 
every student. This can be accomplished by making sure each and every student has the 
opportunity to join some prosocial club or group in our school. Many schools are already 
eliminating the "cut policy." We should attempt to incorporate more groups where there are 
"no cut policies" and all who want to belong or be connected to the group can be. It is 
better to have our students belonging to prosocial school groups than looking for antisocial 
street groups for a sense of belongingness. 

We need to build affinity with our students. As affinity between teacher and student 
increases, so does effective communication. As effective communication increases, the 
likelihood of conflict, disagreement, and classroom problems decrease. As affinity and 
effective communication increase, so does the likelihood that students will believe us when 
we say they are "good" students. Even the students who have never heard the word "good" 
before their name will believe it and they will start acting and communicating like good 

In summary, many students come to our schools feeling worthy, valuable, good, and 
strong. Many students leave our schools feeling unworthy, bad, and weak. This should not 
happen. Low student self-esteem is becoming a chronic problem, if not an epidemic, within 
our educational system. Teachers can increase student self-esteem through effective and 
affective communication. We must communicate respect, liking, affinity, helpfulness, and 
caring in order for our students to survive this debilitating disease. 

References and Recommended Readings 

Canfield, J., & Wells, H. C. (1976). 100 ways to enhance self-concept in the classroom. 

Englewood Cliffs, NJ : Prentice Hall. 
Canter, L. & Canter, M. (1993). Succeeding with difficult students: New strategies for 

reaching your most challenging students. Santa Monica, CA: Lee Canter and 

Chavez, L. (Feb. 21, 1996). Self-esteem's dark side emerges. USA Today, Wednesday, page 

Coopersmith, S. (1967). The antecedents of self-esteem. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman and 


Chapter Seven - 88 

Covington, M. (1984). The self-worth theory of achievement motivation: Findings and 

implications. The Elementary School Journal, 85, 5-20. 
Ginott, H. (1965). Between parent and child: New solutions to old problems. New York: 

Ginott, H. (1972). Teacher and child. New York: Macmillan. 
McCroskey, J . C. (1998). An introduction to communication in the classroom (2"^ Ed.). 

Acton, MA: Tapestry Press. 
McCroskey, J . C, Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, L. L. (2006). An introduction to 

communication in the classroom: The role of communication in teaching and training. 

Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 
McCroskey, J. C, & Richmond, V. P. (1996). Fundamentals of human communication: An 

interpersonal perspective. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 
Purkey, W. W. (1970). Self concept and school achievement. Englewood Cliffs, NJ : Prentice 

Purkey, W. W. (1978). Inviting school success: A self-concept approach to teaching and 

learning. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. 
Silvernail, D. L. (1981). Developing positive student self-concept. Washington, DC: A 

National Education Association Publication. 
Simon, M. (1975). Chasing killer statements from the classroom. Learning, 

August/September, 79-82. 
Urbanska, W. (1991). Self-esteem: The hope of the future. New Woman, March, 52-58. 
Wrench, J. S., McCroskey, J. C, & Richmond, V. P. (2008). Human communication in 

everyday life: Explanations and applications. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. 

Chapter Seven - 89 


Chapter Eight Objectives 

1. Review the importance/functions of feedback in tine classroom. 

2. Distinguisin between formative and summative feedbacl< and give examples of each. 

3. Provide two guidelines for giving and two guidelines for receiving feedback. 

Instructional assessment is a process that includes a variety of activities and 
decisions. It includes both descriptive and judgmental feedback from teachers to students, 
as well as from students to teachers. It can occur at various times in the learning process, 
from preassessment determinations of where students are at the beginning of a course of 
study, through various kinds of communication related to how they are doing (and how the 
instructor is doing!) during the course of study, to an evaluation of how everyone did at the 
end of the course of study. 

Defining the Assessment Process 

Assessm ent 

Assessment is an umbrella term that refers to the entire process of collecting 
information and making judgments about instructional outcomes. It helps teachers decide 
what is working and what is not. Preassessment provides insight into what students already 
know, and don't know, before beginning instruction. Preassessment might be formal, such 
as a pretest of course- related knowledge and/or skills, informal, such as observation of 
attitudes and anxieties about the area of study that students express, or a combination of 
the two. It is intended to allow teachers to better tailor instructional objectives and 
strategies to individual students or to a particular group of students. Formative assessment 
occurs during the process of instruction, providing periodic information on what students 
have learned and what remains to be learned. Formative assessment can also tap students' 
affective responses to the instructional process -- what makes them happy or excited or 
comfortable and what does not. Given this kind of information, which can also be solicited in 
either formal or informal ways, teachers can make procedural adjustments that maximize 
the likelihood of achieving cognitive, psychomotor, and affective objectives before the unit, 
course, or the year is over. Summative assessment occurs at the end of a course of study. 
In mastery learning, it is the certification that an objective or objectives have been 

Chapter Eight -90 

mastered. In traditional systems, it includes the determination of grades. In instructional 
planning terms, it is a look back over the whole process and asking "how did I do?" 


Measurement refers to decisions about how the achievement of objectives will be 
operationalized or quantified. In writing complete instructional objectives, a process which 
has been discussed in a previous chapter, it is the part of the statement that specifies the 
evidence that will be used to determine whether or not the goal has been accomplished. 
Testing is one kind of measurement, and usually refers to students' opportunity to respond 
to an identical set of questions under controlled conditions. Effective assessment measures 
should be both valid and reliable. 

A valid measure is one that reflects what it claims to reflect. For a test to be a valid 
measure of students' mastery of a set of objectives, it should include representative 
questions for all the objectives, not be concentrated on one or two of them. A valid measure 
of whether or not students have been successful at learning how to play the piano would by 
necessity include their demonstration of performance skills, since even correctly answering 
100 percent of a set of questions about how to play the piano will not be a valid indicator 
that a student can actually do it. Determining the validity of measures of affective outcomes 
is sometimes less clear-cut than measuring objectives in the other learning domains; 
however, if one of a teacher's goals is to increase students' joy of reading, it is important to 
think about whether their checking out more books from the library is a valid reflection of 
their enjoying reading books or if it in fact reflects their getting points toward their grade for 
each book read. 

A reliable measure is one which is accurate and consistent. Three typical ways of 
assessing the reliability of paper-and- pencil tests are the test-retest method, the equivalent 
forms method, and the split-half method. In the first instance, if giving the same test to the 
same group of students within a short period of time results in similar scores, the test is 
judged to be reliable. In the second instance, if two equivalent forms of a test are 
developed, covering the same material, reliability can be determined by comparing the 
scores on the two forms. In the third instance, the scores for even-numbered and 
odd-numbered items on longer tests can be compared to one another to indicate whether 
they provide a consistent profile of student mastery. Assessing the rating reliability on essay 
tests, project reports, and performances is more challenging. Teachers might occasionally 
want to put aside a set of graded papers and reread them at a later time (without referring 
to the previously recorded grade) to see whether their judgments are consistent. They 

Chapter Eight -91 

might also consider comparing tineir assessments witin tinose of otiner raters, including 
students, to see whether there is inter- rater agreement as to whether or not the assignment 
met its objectives. 


Evaluation is a judgment of merit or worth, often communicated via grading. 
Assessment is not necessarily evaluative, nor does it necessarily have to lead to an ultimate 
grade. Even when a test or assignment is evaluated as to its relative worth (that is, 
students are given a report of how well they did), the evaluative information should be 
accompanied by descriptive information which tells students what they did, or are doing, 
well and not so well, and how they can do better. In addition, it is often appropriate to 
provide descriptive feedback without tacking on an evaluative assessment. The next two 
sections of this chapter will deal with these two kinds of information provided by 
assessment-based feedback. 

Evaluative Feedback 

Bases for Evaluation 

There are two general bases for evaluating student learning: norm- referenced 
evaluation and criterion- referenced evaluation. Norm- referenced evaluation is very familiar 
as the "bell-shaped curve." It is designed to rate a student's performance in relation to the 
performance of the other students. Students are rank ordered, and grade cutoffs are based 
on how well the normative group did as a whole. Often the normative group to which a 
student is compared is his or her own class, although it may be an aggregate of several 
groups of students who have completed the same task. The individual student is judged in 
terms of a relative standard; her or his grade reflects that he or she did better than 80 % of 
the students in the normative group but does not indicate if that means that 40 %, 60 %, or 
80 % -- or any other percent -- of the test questions were answered correctly. 
Norm- referenced evaluation tends to be criticized for unduly punishing moderate and 
high-ability students in high-ability classes and unduly rewarding moderate and low-ability 
students in low-ability classes. It is the most defensible when the normative group is very 
large and varied so that the probability of a representative distribution of students is likely. 
Criterion- referenced evaluation is based on absolute, objective performance standards or 
criteria. Its intent is to indicate whether or not a student has mastered a behavior specified 
in a formal instructional objective. All students have the opportunity of doing well--or of 

Chapter Eight -92 

failing to do well. The key to effective criterion- referenced evaluation is to be sure the 
measurement of achievement is both reliable and valid. When teachers are required to 
translate criterion- referenced evaluation systems into a graduated scale of grades, they 
must specify criteria for different levels of mastery. 

Although the distinction between norm- referenced and criterion- referenced 
evaluation seems to be straightforward, it is common for teachers to assign grades without 
a clear picture of what they communicate. While they may not subscribe to the idea of 
grading on a norm- referenced curve, they may also feel uncomfortable when there are "too 
many" high grades, or "too many" low grades, assuming that tests must be too easy (or 
hard) or subjective grading standards too lenient (or stringent) when that occurs. In 
addition, they feel they have a sense of which students need to be challenged to work 
harder and which need to be reinforced for working hard and use grades as a means of 
doing so. Thus, judgments of "effort" or "improvement" are considered in modifying the 
nom or criterion- referenced evaluations before they are communicated to students as 

Such hybridizing, of course, serves to muddy the ability of anyone -- students, 
parents, potential employers, teachers at the next level, and so forth -- to interpret what a 
particular grade means. If Tika "tried hard" but did not master any of the course objectives 
will the next teacher know that's what his "C" means? If Dalia mastered every objective but 
skipped class a lot, how will anyone know that her "C" means something entirely different? 
Similarly, if Fernando did worse than 97 % of her classmates but showed improvement 
should her grade be raised at least to a "D" to encourage her? Meanwhile, should Brad, who 
ranked dead-center in the class but could have tried harder, have his grade lowered to a "D" 
to tell him his work is below par for his potential? If so, how are we going to communicate 
what messages these grades really carry? 

A Brief History of Grades 

Milton, Pollio and Eison (1986) present an interesting chronicle of the history of 
grades. While the emphasis of their book is on college grades, the trends they illustrate 
have been characteristic across educational levels and provide some insight into the 
quandaries associated with evaluative feedback as a part of instructional assessment. 

The first grades were recorded in this country in 1783 at Yale, where four descriptive 
adjectives were used: Optime, Second Optime, I nferiores, and Pejores. These terms 
translate roughly into the designations of an earlier English system which evaluated 
students as Honor Men, Pass Men, Charity Passes, and Unmentionables. The standard by 

Chapter Eight -93 

which students were classified into these ranl<s is not clear, but it appears that they were 
intended as designations of academic mastery. In the early 1800s, however, the College of 
William and Mary reflected a different perspective on evaluation criteria in sending all 
parents of students a report in which their student's name appeared in one of four lists 
related primarily to their perceived industriousness (this was obviously before the days of 
academic privacy laws!): 

1. The first in their respective classes, orderly and attentive and have made the 
most flattering improvement. 

2. Orderly, correct and attentive and their improvement has been respectable. 

3. They have made very little improvement and as we apprehend from want of 


4. They have learnt little or nothing and we believe on account of escapade and 

idleness. (Milton, Pollio & Eison, 1986, p. 4) 

By the 1830s numerical scales became popular. Some schools used a 4-point scale, 
some a 9-point scale, some a 20-point scale, and some a 100-point scale. In 1850 the 
University of Michigan adopted a pass/fail system; however, by 1860 a "conditioned" level 
had been added and in 1864 a 100-point scale was incorporated, with a minimum of 50 
required for a pass. Meanwhile, other schools which were using three-level evaluations 
(Passed, Passed With Distinction, and Failed) added plus and minus signs so that students 
who "Passed With Distinction" could be distinguished from those who merely "Passed With 
Distinction --." There appeared to be an ongoing inclination toward making finer and finer 
distinctions among students' relative degrees of success. 

At the end of the nineteenth century, the 100-point scale had become quite popular, 
with the numerical scores translated into letter symbols to separate students into five 
achievement groups. Shortly after the turn of the century, the curve came into being at the 
University of Missouri, as a response to an uproar over a professor who had failed an entire 
class. The top 3 % of students in a class were thenceforth to be labeled excellent (A), the 
next 22 % judged superior (B), the middle 50 % to be assessed as medium (C), the next 22 
% rated inferior (D), and the bottom 3 % to fail (F). By the end of World War I the curve 
had caught on, coupled with an era of "objectivity" in testing -- true/false and 
multiple-choice tests were the hot trends in a new climate of "scientific" evaluation. 

Norm- referenced curves, using a 5-point A - F scale, remained the predominant 
grading philosophy until the 1960s, when a wave of educational humanism led to adoptions 

Chapter Eight -94 

of pass/fail and self- referenced evaluations. This, in turn, led to criticisms of grade inflation 
and -- once again -- a reactionary trend toward 13-point scales incorporating a full range of 
plus and minus designations on top of the traditional A - F scale. School faculties spent a 
great deal of time discussing whether and how plus and minus grades should be calculated 
into grade point averages, and whether honors or advanced placement classes should count 
differently than other classes. For example, in one of the authors' first year of teaching high 
school, the big decision of the year -- made after excruciating deliberation -- was to award 
an extra honor point for each grade earned in an honors-level class. Thus, an "A" would be 
calculated as five points rather than four, a "B" as four points rather than three, and so 
forth. The theory was that this would allow honors teachers to separate the most-honorable 
students from the merely- honorable and barely- honorable students, and to try to motivate 
honors students with grades without the danger that some special education student would 
end up as valedictorian (we swear this was the precise rationale for the system!). 

In the end, it becomes apparent that interpreting the messages communicated by 
grades is a complex process. Milton and his colleagues report the findings of one of their 
own studies in which experienced faculty members were asked: "Imagine that an intelligent 
well-informed adult (not connected to higher education) asks you: 'Student X received a B 
in your course. What does that B mean?'" More than 70 % of the respondents gave 
straightforward responses to the question without equivocating. Later in the questionnaire 
the same faculty were asked: "I magine that your son or daughter is in college. A final grade 
of C is received in a very important course. How do you interpret this grade to yourself? 
that is, what does it tell you about your child?" Only 14 % of the respondents said, in this 
case, that the grade meant "average." The rest were uncertain and wanted to know more 
specific details about the grade. The moral, we think, is that teachers may well have a clear 
idea of what their grading systems communicate but that does not mean that shared 
meaning is inevitable. 

Descriptive Feedbacic 

Feedback To Students. As we have seen, evaluative feedback -- which is 
communicated in the form of some sort of grading system -- is likely to require a descriptive 
explanation so that its intended meaning can be interpreted. Without descriptive feedback, 
a student will not know why a paper earned a "C" rather than an "A" and will be left 
guessing as to how to improve on the next paper. Without descriptive feedback, a parent 
will not know whether her child is being evaluated on a norm- referenced or 
criterion- referenced basis, or what kind of hybridization entered into the final grade. In 

Chapter Eight -95 

addition, tinere are many instances tinrouginout a course of study winen formative feedbacl< is 
appropriate, in winicin case a clear description of winat tine student inas mastered and winat 
remains to be mastered is essential, along with some helpful direction in correcting 

Many teachers, the authors included, have expressed frustration at having spent 
hours writing descriptive comments on student papers only to have many students check 
the grade and toss the paper in the waste basket by the door. Often this is because 
students see the assignment of a grade as a summative exercise, and do not perceive the 
comments on one paper as formative feedback for the next paper. For this reason, it is 
advisable to provide opportunities for students to obtain descriptive feedback during the 
process of completing a particular assignment, without being accompanied by an evaluation. 
Comments on draft copies of assignments or during the developmental stages of projects 
are more likely to be perceived as having immediately applicable relevance. 

Providing descriptive feedback can be time consuming, although teachers should 
remember that it does not always mean taking home twice as many stacks of papers so 
that each can be read twice. Sometimes problems that many students are having can be 
assessed by simply moving around the classroom as students work, or by looking at a 
sample of eight or ten students' in progress work. These problems can then be brought to 
the attention of the class as a whole, as the subject of corrective instruction lessons. Often 
students can give one another descriptive feedback by working in dyads or small groups, or 
teachers can pair students who are having problems with those who have mastered a task. 

Some teachers program a number of precoded comments into a computer so that 
they can generate personalized feedback for each student by drawing from the coded menu. 
This allows them to return fully developed explanations of what the student might do to 
improve her or his performance without having to write the same comments over and over 
on various papers. Some very individualized notes might still be helpful, but any of us who 
have written comments in student lab notebooks, on critique forms for class presentations, 
on essays, or in letters to parents which accompany report cards know that progress toward 
common objectives usually elicits a relatively predictable need for advice. 

Many times it is helpful to separate the descriptive and evaluative components of 
feedback on graded work. For example, scheduling student conferences a day or so after a 
set of papers or tests has been returned will usually result in a calmer, more objective 
discussion than will "buttonhole" conferences on the way out of class -- initiated by the 
teacher or the student -- while emotions over a disappointing grade are running high. It is 
logistically difficult in most classes to talk individually with all students after every 

Chapter Eight -96 

assessment opportunity. In elementary and secondary classes, the ability to schedule 
conferences outside of class time in usually limited; however, opportunities for individual 
discussions can often be found when the class as a whole is involved in an activity that 
demands minimal teacher supervision. The students' attitude toward such discussions will 
be far more positive if they are not reserved only for bad news! 

Feedback from Students. Descriptive feedback can also be directed from the 
student to the teacher. This kind of feedback allows teachers to make changes in classroom 
atmosphere, instructional strategies, and so forth based on student input. Research has 
shown that students are very appropriate sources to solicit information regarding 
student-instructor relationships; their views on the workload and assignments; what they 
are learning in the course; the perceived fairness of grading; and the instructor's ability to 
communicate clearly. Sometimes there is truly nothing the teacher can do to accommodate 
a student's wishes, but responding to the concern with an expression of empathy and an 
explanation of why an idea cannot be incorporated in the classroom shows that the 
feedback is being considered seriously and is likely to result in affective payoffs. Many times 
student feedback does suggest things a teacher can do (or do more of) to better 
accommodate the needs and preferences of the particular class. When that is the case, the 
instructional process is likely to be enhanced. 

Feedback from students can be solicited formally or informally. Feedback forms can 
be devised for periodic use, or students can simply be requested to "write down what you 
liked most about this unit and what you would have liked to be done differently." One way 
to do this is a Start-Stop-Continue sheet. Have students fold a piece of paper into thirds and 
write the words "stop," "start," and "continue" one per each section on the page. Then have 
your students write down (anonymously) things that they would like you to stop doing, 
things they would like you to start doing, and things they would like you to continue doing. 
Other teachers place a feedback item at the end of each test so students can "grade" the 
test. Some develop a routine in which students can drop off a note in a designated place at 
the end of any day or class period to request content or process clarification that can be 
made at the start of the next day/class, to comment on anything they liked or didn't like 
that day, or just to tell the teacher something they want to share in private. This technique 
usually takes some prompting to get it started; making a point of responding to the 
feedback and reinforcing students for providing it helps. 

The information from formative evaluations of student progress toward mastering 
objectives also serves as feedback to the teacher. A formative "test," that is not graded, will 
provide information on where corrective instruction is needed, as well as telling students 

Chapter Eight -97 

how they are doing. Similarly, the process of reviewing any student work while it is in 
progress will result not only in an opportunity to give students descriptive feedback but also 
give the teacher an indication of how things are going. Students can be asked to describe 
how they think they are doing rather than the teacher's initiating descriptive feedback. Their 
perceptions can be an enlightening means of assessing how they have decoded the 
teacher's directions or advice. 

If you have your students write an evaluation of the class, or in the Stop-Start- 
Continue exercise, you must debrief your students once you have examined what they have 
written. Students want to know that their teachers are taking their opinions and ideas 
seriously. If your students want you to stop giving homework, this is an unrealistic 
expectation that requires an explanation for why the homework is so important. If you 
cannot stop or start something that your students would like you to, explain to them why 
you cannot do so. Just be careful to avoid the infamous "Because I'm the teacher and you're 
the student!" 

Assessment and Affect 

Being evaluated makes people feel vulnerable. Any adult who was in the position of 
having to take a test to renew a driver's license or to obtain a license after having moved to 
a different state knows how much anxiety accompanies the possibility of failure. No matter 
how much one rationally tells oneself that marginally literate sixteen-year-olds pass the test 
every day, the prospect of taking a test -- or placing the right to drive a car on the line -- is 
uncomfortable. Similarly, many teachers are wary of asking their students for feedback 
because they cannot get past the negative comments, even if there are 50 compliments for 
each criticism. 

Being in the position of having to make evaluative judgments can also be 
uncomfortable. Many teachers find themselves regularly agonizing over grades. Some 
develop a defensively callous attitude and spend a good deal of time in the teachers' lounge 
looking for reinforcement for their observations that students just don't care and are 
becoming more and more unteachable. Others try to avoid getting to know students any 
more than absolutely necessary so that they can assign grades to names rather than 

We have previously stated that evaluation should, in fact, be relatively 
dispassionate; that norm- referenced or criterion- referenced grading systems should not be 
muddied with judgments of effort or improvement. We also believe that it is essential that 
teachers recognize the influence of success and failure on self-esteem, motivation, and 

Chapter Eight -98 

attitudes toward learning. At first glance these may seem to be contradictory observations; 
however, they actually reflect two interdependent decisions that teachers make: deciding 
how students will be judged, and deciding how to communicate those judgments. 

Making J udgments 

In making the first decision, deciding how students will be judged, teachers should 
be compulsively explicit about what will constitute varying degrees of success and what will 
constitute failure. Clearly specified instructional objectives are a means of doing so, 
particularly in a mastery learning system where evaluation is limited to an assessment of 
whether or not an objective has been mastered or needs further work. In schools in which 
graduated grading scales are used, the kind of schools in which most of us work, the basis 
on which various grades will be assigned should be clear to everyone involved -- students, 
parents, administrators, and the teachers themselves. The measures used in assessment 
should themselves be assessed in terms of both their validity (in which case clearly defined 
instructional objectives again come into play) and their reliability. Having done these things, 
teachers can direct all sorts of passionate, creative energy into devising ways to help 
students excel in meeting the goals of the course of study -- but when it comes to 
evaluating how students have done, the process should be a dispassionate one of matching 
performance to performance criteria. 

While some students may be unhappy about an outcome, they will be more resentful 
of inconsistency. If they are told what they will have to be able to do and are assessed in 
terms of something else their affect for the teacher -- and probably the subject -- will be 
diminished. If some students are assessed by different criteria than other students, affect 
among students will be compromised. Teachers may be unhappy that some students did not 
do as well as they would have wished, and continue to consider ways to modify the 
instructional process, but they will be absolved from "giving" grades. 

Communicating J udgments 

The second decision teachers must make is how to communicate their judgments to 
students. We must provide more information to students about their performance than just 
their grades. Descriptive feedback can be reinforcing and encouraging. Even work that is 
honestly and fairly evaluated as below standard can be returned with positive as well as 
corrective comments. Regular formative feedback will help many students do better than 
they would have done without it, and will give them an indication of how they are doing and 
how they can do better before they are formally evaluated. J udgments about the student as 

Chapter Eight -99 

a person should be l<ept separate from judgments about the student's progress toward 
achieving learning objectives. 

Learning Orientation and Grade Orientation 

Teachers should keep in mind that students differ in terms of their individual learning 
and grade orientations, and thus they will respond differently to both evaluative and 
descriptive feedback. An individual student might be high in both learning and grade 
orientation, low in both, or high in one and not the other. Discouraging experiences with a 
particular type, or types, of students can sometimes cause teachers to make evaluation 
decisions that stray from objective- based assessment. 

Learning-oriented (LO) students are those who see school as a place to encounter 
new information, to test out ideas, and to learn personally relevant things. Grade-oriented 
(GO) students see school as a place in which they must do well to get the rewards 
associated with a good report card or transcript. 

Learning Orientation 

Hiqh Low 



High LO 
High GO 

Low LO 
High GO 


High LO 
Low GO 

Low LO 
Log Go 

Figure 8.1 Classification of Students by Learning Orientation and Grade 

Students who are high in both learning orientation and grade orientation would seem 
to be a teacher's ideal, to want to make learning personally relevant but also to perform 
well. They are, in reality, often the students with the highest test anxiety and a strong need 
to validate their intrinsic interest in learning with extrinsic indicators that tell them they are 
doing OK. High LO/High GO students are likely to be very responsive to all the feedback 

Chapter Eight -100 

they can get. Diminishing their counterproductive level of concern over evaluation through 
clear objectives, information on assessment, and opportunities to obtain formative feedback 
should help to keep their anxiety over grades from getting in the way of exploiting their 
desire to learn. 

Students who are low in both learning orientation and grade orientation often 
frustrate teachers, who were seldom Low LO/Low GOs themselves. Neither grades nor 
learning seems to motivate these students and they do not appear to be responsive to any 
kind of feedback. They are the students for whom the lower end of a normative grading 
scale seems to have been invented. We do not have a great deal of difficulty with the 
dispassionate assignment of low grades to this group. 

Students who are learning oriented but not a grade oriented are likely to be involved 
students who are a joy to teach but sometimes a challenge to evaluate. High LO/Low GO 
students may be very selective about the descriptive feedback to which they attend. They 
may be willing to talk about Guatemala for an hour, but not willing to write the four-page 
paper through which knowledge of Guatemala is to be assessed. They may be disinterested 
in working back through the objectives they missed on a formative evaluation if they think 
they've already learned what they want to learn about a topic. These students challenge us 
to look carefully at our instructional objectives and measurements. If we believe that they 
are bypassing objectives that are truly important to their learning, we need to communicate 
clearly why mastering those objectives is of value to them. If we find it difficult to do so, we 
should reevaluate our assessment priorities. High LO/Low GO students can be a good reality 
check regarding the relative emphasis placed on lower level versus higher level cognitive 
learning objectives. 

Students who are grade oriented but not learning oriented view all aspects of the 
classroom in terms of their effects on grades. They will also be selective in their attention to 
descriptive feedback, ignoring any suggestions not related to evaluation. They are more 
likely to cheat. Low LO/High GO students are the ones we want to "curve down" to punish 
them. If our instructional objectives and measurements are solid, they will learn in spite of 
themselves and our desire to change their attitude should not become a part of our 
assessing their achievement. 

In summary, feedback is an essential component of the instructional communication 
process. It tells teachers how students are interpreting their messages and responding to 
their instructional procedures. It also tells students how they are doing, and how they can 
do better. The evaluation component of instructional assessment should be regarded as a 
communicative event in which teachers strive to maximize shared interpretations of the 

Chapter Eight -101 

meaning of each grade option; inowever, opportunities for feedbacl< sinould not be limited to 
summative assessments. Ratiner, tine process of assessment sinould be an ongoing one in 
winicin teaciners worl< toward developing an interactive flow of communication that regularly 
provides and solicits formative, descriptive information about progress toward the 
achievement of instructional goals. 

Competition and Cooperation in Learning Environments 

"If you succeed, then we succeed" should be the catchphrase of schools. This is the 
foundation of a cooperative learning model. However, within the American culture, 
competition is regarded as a means of bringing out the best in people, of making them 
strive to put forth that extra effort that will distinguish them from the pack. Our society 
values competition, and reveres winners. Competition is said to build character and 
self-esteem. These outcomes of competition, however, are primarily reserved for those who 
come out on top. What about those students who 
don't ever come out on top in our schools? 

How Competition Worlcs 

Kohn (1986a, 1986b, 1987) suggests there are two types of competition: structural 
competition and intentional competition. The first refers to a situation, or an environment, 
the second to an attitude. When our classrooms are structurally competitive, they are 
characterized by what Kohn calls "mutually exclusive goal attainment" (MEGA). This means 
students are compared to one another in such a way that only one of them can be the best; 
earning the best grade or getting one of some scarce allotments of A or B grades means 
that another student has been shut out from achieving that goal. Sometimes structural 
competitions do not require any interaction between the competitors; winning is the result 
of someone's subjective judgment. This would be the case when students compete for 
admission to a college or when bowlers compete in a tournament. At other times, 
structural competitions require that one contestant make the other one fail. For example, in 
playing tennis a major part of one's strategy is to intentionally lob shots that the other 
player will miss. 

Intentional competition is an individual's internal competitiveness. Individuals who 
are intentionally competitive may compete even in situations that are structurally 
noncompetitive. Kohn uses the example of the person who arrives at a party intent on 
proving that he or she is the wittiest, most charming person there even though no one is 

Chapter Eight -102 

offering prizes for wit and cinarm, and even tinougin none of tine otiner party goers inas given 
mucin tinougint to tine matter. Psyclnoiogists iabei tinese peopie as neurotic. 

WInen intentionaiiy competitive people are placed in structurally competitive 
situations, even those which do not inherently require interaction between competitors, they 
may expend considerable effort on not only doing their best but on trying to assure others 
do not do better. In tennis, this is playing dirty. In bowling, it might lead to greasing the 
shoes of the opponent or stealing her or his ball before the tournament finals. In school, it 
might mean tearing the pages out of an encyclopedia so other students cannot find 
information they need, or sabotaging other students' chemistry experiments to win top 
honors and get admitted to medical school. 

When individuals who are not intentionally competitive are placed in structurally 
competitive situations, they are sometimes surprised to find that they have been ranked 
and rewarded -- or, more likely, punished -- when they didn't realize they were supposed to 
be trying to win. Sometimes they choose to drop out from the situation, literally or 
psychologically, because they cannot comfortably engage in the competition. Sometimes 
they find themselves unable not to compete, but find doing so unpleasant and stressful. 
Even if they win in the end, their affective response to the entire situation is negative and 
the reward is devalued. 

Intentional competitiveness is learned behavior, particularly that which is 
situation-specific. Human beings may by nature have an inborn inclination to strive for 
goals, some individuals more so than others, but the choice of whether to channel that drive 
into cooperation with or competition against others is a learned response. Forcing children 
to compete in structurally competitive environments has often been defended as a means of 
helping then learn to compete effectively in later life, of giving them a competitive 
orientation or "competitive edge." There is evidence, however, that reinforcing intentional 
competitiveness may be more detrimental than helpful to their future success. 

Since the early 1980's, researchers at the University of Texas have been studying 
the relationship between achievement and such personality traits as orientation toward 
work, preference for challenging tasks (mastery), and competitiveness. In one study, 
achievement was measured by the number of times scientists' work was cited by their 
colleagues. Another used the same measure but focused on psychologists. A third study was 
of business people, with their achievement measured by salary. A fourth analyzed 1,300 
undergraduate students (male and female), using grade point average to measure 
achievement. Three other studies measured achievement in terms of fifth and sixth-graders' 
achievement test scores, and the performance of airline pilots and airline reservation 

Chapter Eight -103 

agents. In all cases -- seven different studies with very different subjects and achievement 
measures -- an inverse relationship was found between competitiveness and achievement. 
In other words, the more intentionally competitive individuals had lower achievement levels. 
Kohn (1986a) notes that the simplest way to understand why competition does not 
promote excellence is because trying to do well and trying to beat others are two different 
things. He offers the example of the child sitting in class, waving her arm wildly to attract 
the teacher's attention, crying "Ooooh! Ooooh! Pick me! Pick me!" When called upon she 
seems confused and asks "What was the question again?" Her attention was on being 
recognized over her peers, not on the subject matter. In addition to misdirecting efforts 
from task-oriented mastery toward comparative mastery, competition depends on extrinsic 
motivators. When the extrinsic rewards of winning are not present, are removed, or are 
unattainable there is little incentive to achieve. 

How Cooperation Works 

Structural cooperation means that we have to coordinate our efforts because I can 
succeed only if you succeed. Reward is based on collective performance. A cooperative 
classroom means more than students sitting together or talking together or even sharing 
materials. It means that personal success depends on others' success and therefore that 
each student has an incentive for the other(s) to succeed (Kohn, 1986b). Johnson and 
Johnson (1987) call this "positive interdependence." Each student depends on and is 
accountable to the others. 

The Johnsons suggest several ways of encouraging positive interdependence. A 
single product may be required from a group, and a single grade awarded the group. While 
those of us schooled in competitive atmospheres are quick to ask whether students will 
accept this practice, the Johnsons note that several studies have confirmed the fact that 
students who are accustomed to structural cooperation believe that a single group grade is 
the only logical way to evaluate their efforts. Giving a group grade makes everyone 
responsible for each other. More able students help those that are less able. 

To make sure no one in the group sits back and lets the others do the work, the 
Johnsons suggest reinforcing "individual accountability" by periodically picking one student 
at random in each group to explain an answer or take a test for the group. This, of course, 
is a potentially highly destructive strategy, which could cause terror in the heart of any 
highly communication apprehensive or test anxious student. Thus, if "individual 
accountability" is important, some other way of accomplishing that objective is needed, 
such as peer evaluation. 

Chapter Eight -104 

The best size for a learning group will vary, but in most situations the recommended 
number is two or three. More complex tasks, with students who are used to working 
cooperatively, may be suitable for groups up to six -- but it takes experience to make the 
larger groups work smoothly. Sometimes, when the members of a group have mastered an 
assignment, they might look for another group to help until everyone understands the 
lesson. The Johnsons have concluded from their research that intergroup competition is not 
particularly beneficial in enhancing an individual group's cohesion or achievement, and that 
it is best to encourage cooperation between groups as well as within them. 

Working collaboratively with other students is particularly helpful for low-and 
medium-ability students, but high-ability students can also benefit. The Johnsons note that 
considerable research has shown that high achievers working in cooperative groups do at 
least as well, and often better, than their counterparts working competitively or 
independently. Their explanation: "The behavior that correlates most highly with 
achievement in groups is giving explanations, not getting them" (Kohn, 1987, p. 55). 

Many studies have shown that extrinsic motivators simply do not make us perform 
as well as we do when we find an activity intrinsically rewarding. In addition, several studies 
have indicated that people with high achievement motivation do not perform well unless 
extrinsic motivation has been minimized. Cooperative learning is based on the principle that 
the motivation to accomplish a task is enhanced when we are reasonably sure that we will 
ultimately be successful at it, and that the sum of a group is greater than its parts. 
Structurally cooperative classrooms are intended to maximize the achievement of more 
students and to encourage them to work for results rather than the satisfaction of feeling 
they are better than someone else. 

Cooperative vs. Competitive Outcomes 

More than 20 of the Johnsons' studies, and hundreds conducted by others over the 
years, have matched cooperative learning against competitive and individualized learning 
models (C. Ames & R. Ames, 1990; Covington & Omelich, 1984c). In studies of student 
achievement, the overwhelming conclusion has been that the cooperative approach is at 
least as effective as -- and very often superior to -- other models, regardless of age group, 
ability, subject matter, or task. In addition, in 35 of their own 37 studies on interpersonal 
attraction, the Johnsons found convincing evidence that students liked one another more 
when they worked cooperatively in the classroom -- findings, they say, that cut across their 
meta-analysis of 98 similar studies. These findings were particularly striking in terms of 
students' acceptance of disabled peers, and those from different racial and ethnic 

Chapter Eight -105 

backgrounds. Students who work together have a higher regard for school, for the subject 
matter (including the way girls feel about science), and for their teachers. Their 
self-confidence is enhanced. 

Evidence from outside the classroom supports these conclusions. A study compared 
two groups of interviewers in an employment agency. One group was made up of intensely 
competitive interviewers who were extremely concerned about personal productivity and 
personal achievement. As a result, they were intently suspicious and hostile toward one 
another and often hoarded job notices instead of posting them so that others could not steal 
the leads. The other group worked cooperatively; they were apparently less concerned with 
individual success and advancement and routinely shared information and lead. Members of 
the second group ended up filling significantly more jobs. They also enjoyed their social 
cohesiveness and, thus, their jobs more. 

While intentional competitiveness was the destructive factor in that study, structural 
competitiveness has been shown to yield similar results. In one study, young girls were 
asked to make "silly" collages, some competing for prizes and some not. All the collages 
were judged independently by seven artists, who rated those made by the competing girls 
as significantly less creative than those by the noncompeting girls. Competitive situations 
have been shown to be a distinct cause of anxiety. Anticipation of failure, especially when it 
is combined with memories of previous failures, can create a disabling level of arousal -- 
one that directs attention toward the fear rather than the task. Competitive stress tends to 
make many people want to avoid failure more than it makes them want to maximize 
success; thus, a "safe road" is perceived as preferable to attempting anything too 
adventurous or creative. A student who, structurally or intentionally, is driven by preserving 
a superior grade point average will avoid exploring courses in which he or she may not 
succeed. An Olympic skater who has the lead going into the final competition will 
downgrade triple axles to doubles to avoid losing points with a fall. 

A different kind of anxiety that has been associated with competitiveness relates to a 
fear of winning rather than a fear of losing. I n this situation, individuals might choose not to 
compete, or intentionally do worse at an activity than they might do in a noncompetitive 
situation, because they feel guilty for doing better than others, or have a particular fear that 
those they beat will become hostile toward them. It is common for teachers to see evidence 
of this in the classroom, when able students slack off because they want to lose their "nerd" 
identity to fit in with their peers. 

Other research has found that competition can cause people to feel they are not the 
source of, or in control of, what happens to them. They thus move toward an external locus 

Chapter Eight -106 

of control and are more likely to attribute what happens in their lives to fate than to its 
being related to their own behaviors. A 1981 study of 800 high school students found a 
strong correlation between positive attitude toward competitive situations and dependence 
on evaluation and performance- based assessments of personal worth. Far from having 
higher self-esteem, the way the competitive students viewed themselves was inordinately 
dependent on how well they did at certain tasks and on what others thought of them. 

Studies of the interpersonal/relational effects of competition have shown that 
children in competitive situations experience more feelings of envy than those in 
cooperative environments. A study of first graders found that students rated high in 
competitiveness by their teachers expressed less empathy for same-aged children who were 
pictured as happy, sad, angry, or fearful. Competitiveness also contributes to distrust 
among students. It has been suggested that this distrust and its coincidental hostility are 
factors in increasing the incidence of aggressive acts between students. On the other 

hand, studies of the interpersonal/relational effects of cooperative learning have concluded 
that students perceive they are receiving encouragement and support from their peers in 
cooperative groups, that they show more sensitivity to the needs of others and are more 
pleasant to one another, and that communication among students are not only more 
frequent but rated as more effective (students say they have less trouble communicating 
with and understanding one another). In one study, fifth and sixth-graders who participated 
in cooperative groups were much less upset by interpersonal conflict and arguing than those 
who had not. In general, low, medium, and high-ability students perform better on 
comprehension tests when they have learned cooperatively; they also express greater 
feelings of peer acceptance and support and a greater willingness to value opposing points 
of view. 

Kohn (1987) observes that the idea that children ought to compete in school so they 
get used to losing is based on a highly flawed assumption that depriving children is the best 
way to prepare them for the rude shocks of life. This hypothesis cannot be empirically 
confirmed or refuted, but its converse is far more humane: it is our unconditional 
acceptance in our early years, and a sense of security, that helps us manage problems we 
face later. Even if we grant some usefulness to learning to experience failure, it is not 
necessary that it involve losing in competition. One can fall short of one's own expectations 
and develop the virtues of discipline and tenacity without the necessity of getting the 
messages of inferiority that come from being judged primarily in terms of not how well we 
do but how well other people do. 

Chapter Eight -107 

What then can we do? We can help children recognize and build their competencies 
and strengths. We can help children learn individual accountability and group accountability. 
We can help children learn that competition doesn't have to mean hurting or beating up 
another child. We can help children learn that diversely but equally matched teammates are 
good partners for learning. We can show children that through cooperative learning there is 
increased student motivation and learning. We can show children that communicating and 
interacting with classmates can be a positive, not a negative experience. Lastly, we can 
communicate to children that assistance, cooperation, and caring, either formally or 
informally, can assist in learning and effective communication in the classroom environment 
for all involved. 

References and Recommended Readings 

Ames, C. (1981). Competitive versus cooperative reward structure: The influence of 

individual and group performance factors on achievement attributions and affect. 

American Educational Research Journal, 18, 273-288. 
Ames, C. (1984). Competitive, cooperative, and individualistic goal structures: A cognitive- 
motivational analysis. In R. Ames and C. Ames (Eds.), Research on motivation in 

education: Vol. 1, Student motivation. (Pp. 177-207). New York: Academic Press. 
Ames, C, & Ames, R. (1978). Thrill of victory and agony of defeat: Children's self and 

interpersonal evaluations in competitive and noncompetitive learning environments. 

Journal of Research and Development in Education, 12, 79-81. 
Ames, C, & Ames, R. (1981). Competitive versus individualistic goal structures: The 

salience of past performance information for causal attributions and affect, y ourna/ of 

Educational Psychology, 73, 411-418. 
Ames, C, & Ames, R. (1984). Goal structures and motivation. Elementary School Journal, 

85, 39-52. 
Ames, C, & Ames, R. (1990). Motivation and effective teaching. In L. Friedman (Ed.). Good 

instruction: What teachers can do in the classroom. North Central Regional Education 

Braskamp, L.A., Brandenberg, D.C. & Ory, J .C. (1984). Evaluating teaching effectiveness. 

Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. 
Brophy, J. (1987c). Synthesis of research on strategies for motivating students to learn. 

Educational Leadership, 45, 40-48. 

Chapter Eight -108 

Covington, M., & Omelich, C. (1984c). Task-oriented versus competitive learning structures: 

jviotivational and performance consequences. Journal of Educational Psychology, 7, 

Gronlund, N. (1985). Measurement and evaluation in teaching. New Yorl<: JVlacmillan. 
Joinnson, D.W. & Joinnson, R.T. (1987). Learning together and alone: Cooperative, 

competitive and individualistic learning. Englewood Cliffs, NJ : Prentice- Hall. 
Kibler, R.J., Cegala, D.J., Watson, K.W., Barker, L.L. & Miles, D.T. (1981). Objectives for 

instruction and evaluation. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 
Kohn, A. (1986a, September). How to succeed without even vying. Psychology Today, 

Kohn, A. (1986b). No contest: The case against competition. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. 
Kohn, A. (1987, October). It's hard to get left out of a pair. Psychology Today, 53-57. 
Mager, R.F. (1973). Measuring instructional intent. Belmont, CA: Fearon. 
Milton, O. & Edgerly, J .W. (1976). The testing and grading of students. New Rochelle, NY: 

Milton, O., Pollio, H.R. & Eison, J .A. (1986). Making sense of college grades. San Francisco: 

Natriello, G. & Dornbusch, S.M. (1984). Teacher evaluative standards and student effort. 

New York: Longman. 
Richmond, V. P. (1990). Continuing education. In J. A. Daly, G. W. Friedrich, & A. L. 

Vangelisti (Eds.). Teaching communication: Theory, research, and methods, (pp. 

417-425). Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum. 
Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (1992). Power in the classroom: Communication, 

control, and concern. (Eds.). Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum. 
Rubin, R.B. (1990). Evaluating the product. In J .A. Daly, G.W. Friedrich & A.L. Vangelisti 

(Eds.), Teaching communication: Theory, research, and methods (pp. 379-401). 

Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum. 
Stipek, D. J . (1993). Motivation to learn: From theory to practice. (2nd. Ed.), 

Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. 
Terwilliger, J .S. (1971). Assigning grades to students. Glenview, IL: Scott Foresman. 

Chapter Eight -109 


Chapter Nine Objectives 

1. Identify the components that comprise the learning environment. 

2. Briefly compare the merits of the mastery and traditional learning systems. 

3. Give the advantages and problems of working with the modified mastery system. 

If learning is not taking place in their classrooms, good teachers look for ways and 
methods to change the instructional communication process. During the course of her or his 
career, a teacher makes thousands of curricular planning decisions: How should I approach 
this unit? How will I evaluate the students' achievement? What can I do about 
underachievers? Is it time to switch gears and try a different instructional strategy? Should I 
stay with this unit for another week or is it time to move on? At the heart of these decisions 
are the teacher's basic assumptions about the central goals of teaching. 

While we do not wish to transform this chapter into a dissertation on the philosophy 
of education, we do need to recognize there are two very different positions on the function 
of teachers that have strong adherents in today's society. One view is that teachers teach 
content and the other is that teachers teach students. The first view sees teachers, first and 
foremost, as subject-matter experts. The second sees teachers, first and foremost, as 
information and communication managers. 

The content view holds that the primary function of teaching is to make it possible 
for students to access the content knowledge available in the given field. This is a 
sender-oriented view. The teacher selects what the student should know and sees to it that 
it is presented to the student in one or more forms (textbook, film, videotape, lectures, 
class discussion, etc.). It is assumed that all students should have the opportunity to learn 
the information, but some will have intellectual limitations and others motivational 
limitations which will prevent them from learning all that is available. The fault for failure in 
this system rests with the receiver, the student. The information is available, but if the 
student is not bright enough to learn it, or is too lazy to do so, then the student has failed. 

The student view holds that the primary function of teaching is to make it possible 
for all students to achieve objectives set for student learning. The teacher is still presumed 
to select what the student should know, but he or she is also expected to develop 
communication systems that will insure that student will learn the material. It is assumed 

Chapter Nine - 110 

that all students can achieve all learning objectives if the teacher monitors and modifies the 
learning process appropriately. The fault for failure in this system rests with the sender, the 
teacher. The student can learn the information unless the teacher is not bright enough to 
develop an appropriate method of communicating with the student, or the teacher is too 
lazy to do so. Students don't fail. Teachers do. 

Adherents of the first view see the supporters of the second as the leftover hippies 
and humanists from the 1960s and early 1970s who brought us the open-curriculum, 
self-disclosive rap-session, everything- is-acceptable, fuzzies- instead - of-content brand of 
teaching. Since these so-called "student-oriented teachers" are afraid of being branded as 
failures; they make sure the students can't fail by never letting anyone know in advance 
what it is expected the students will learn. Adherents of the second view see the supporters 
of the first as Nazi-like, uncaring, anti-innovation, back- to- basics traditionalists who have 
opposed all educational change since 1800. Since these so-called "content experts" are 
afraid of being branded as unqualified, they make sure they are only held responsible for 
presenting content, so if they have presented it they have done their job. 

As you might suspect, we are not advocates of either extreme orientation. Both 
approaches to instruction have positive aspects, and both have drawbacks. And there is 
ground between the extremes. 

Traditional Education Systems 

Traditional educational systems often tend to be subject-centered. Course planning is 
oriented toward the material to be covered and achievement is primarily the individual 
student's responsibility. 

If the teacher is following a communication-oriented instructional model within a 
traditional system, he or she will set the learning objectives at the outset. Having set 
objectives or goals primarily for what the teacher should be doing -- covering a prescribed 
body of information -- and preassessing students' general ability levels, a given instructional 
strategy that is likely to be the most effective and efficient for most students is selected. 
The teacher's role is largely that of an information-dispenser. Periodic assessments (usually 
tests or quizzes) are given to determine how students are doing in absorbing information, 
but the teacher, and the student, almost always moves onto the next topic regardless of 
performance on the assessment. Grades are usually determined by some averaging 
procedure, with the student's performance often evaluated by comparing it with that of 
other students. In many cases it is assumed, or even mandated, that grade distributions 
should approximate the bell-shaped curve of a statistically "normal" distribution so that 

Chapter Nine - 111 

superior students can be distinguished from very good students, average students, 
not-so-good students, and tinose wino will be required to repeat the course or the school 

Students leaving a course of instruction in the traditional educational model will have 
a wide range of competencies. Some will have done very well and will feel good about the 
school, the subject, the teacher, and themselves. Some will have done very poorly and will 
feel unhappy about everything associated with the subject(s) they have studied, including 
themselves. Teachers will agonize over whether a student has performed well enough to 
pass or whether he or she would benefit by being recycled through another run of the same 
information and experiences. 

When educators become distraught over the undesirable affective outcomes of 
traditional subject- centered teaching, they have historically reacted with a shift toward 
learner-centered curricula, experimenting with open-classroom and open-learning models in 
which spontaneity and student interests replace attention to subject matter and traditional, 
comparative standards for evaluation. Invariably, when performance scores on standardized 
achievement tests fall and someone points out that the United States is falling behind in the 
race for space, or in its place in the world economy, the educational pendulum has swung 
back to the traditional system. It is a system we understand. It is compatible with the 
broadly held assumption that wide variability in student achievement is natural and 
inevitable. It communicates achievement to parents, employers, higher education admission 
officials, and students in terms they have come to expect. It plays off of the 
subject-centered emphasis in teacher training, particularly at the secondary and higher 
education levels. It allows us to efficiently manage the logistics of putting a large number of 
students in a small number of classes and bringing those classes to closure on a prescribed 
schedule. It is a system in which the majority of those who teach can teach as they were 

Mastery Learning 

Mastery learning more fully reflects a communication oriented approach to 
instruction in which instruction focuses on the individual student. In its purist form course 
planning is oriented toward the achievement of desired objectives that are operationalized 
in behavioral terms. In other words, teachers decide exactly what they want their students 
to know, what they want them to be able to do, and/or how they want them to feel as a 
result of a period of instruction, and also specify how they will assess whether or not those 
goals have been achieved. They assume that students have varied competencies at the 

Chapter Nine - 112 

beginning of a course or scinool year and individually assess each student's starting point. 
Instructional strategies are then selected and designed for each student's individual 
competencies and learning style. The teacher's role is primarily that of a "learning manager" 
who uses periodic formative assessments to check how each student is progressing toward 
the stated goals. If problems are detected, the student can recycle through a component of 
the unit or course at any time, often with the information presented via an alternative 
instructional strategy. "Grades" are restricted to an indication that the student has indeed 
mastered the objective at hand; her or his performance is evaluated by comparing it with 
the specified standard of achievement rather than to what other students do. Some 
students may move faster than others but no one is classified as better than anyone else 
since, in the end, everyone masters one unit before moving onto the next. 

Bloom, one of the primary proponents of mastery learning, has found that the 
average tutored student learns more than do 98 % of students taught in regular classes, 
and that 90 % of tutored students attain performance levels reached by only the top 20 % 
of students in regular classes. Thus, he has concluded that what one student can learn, 
nearly all students can learn; the wide differences in student achievement in traditional 
education systems are, from Bloom's perspective, not so much a result of innate differences 
in learning ability as they are a result of instruction that is ineffective for some students. A 
tutoring relationship is one in which the process of tutor-student communication is 
inherently personalized, in which the goal of achievement is met by ongoing assessment of 
what is working, what is not being understood, and what needs to be re-taught in a 
different way. It is student-centered in that affective outcomes are important, but it is 
instructor-driven in that the student is enabled to meet goals rather than able to determine 

Bloom acknowledges that schools cannot afford to offer tutoring as a primary mode 
of instruction; however, he believes that mastery learning can approximate the results of 
tutoring. In an interview with Chance (1987), Bloom explained a classroom mastery 
learning model as follows: The teacher instructs the class in more or less the usual way, 
although more active student involvement and reinforcement of their contributions are 
recommended. At the end of an instructional unit, or about every two weeks, the teacher 
gives a "formative test" to assess the need for "corrective instruction." The test is not 
graded, but provides the teacher with information that identifies points that many of the 
students have not yet mastered. This material is then re-taught to the class as a whole, 
ideally using different techniques to get the idea across. 

Chapter Nine - 113 

The students then break into groups of two or three for 20 to 30 minutes, so that 
they can help one another on points they missed on the formative test. This process 
provides reinforcement for students who understand concepts and allows them to explain 
what they have learned to other students, often using an approach the teacher has not used 
or even considered. If the group gets stuck, they can call on the teacher, though Bloom 
notes they usually are able to work problems out on their own. Some students who need 
help beyond the group work are assigned supplementary activities that presents information 
in yet another form (workbook exercises, text readings, video tapes, etc.). According to 
Bloom, it usually takes these students no more than an hour or two to complete the work 
necessary to catch up. 

The class is then ready for an evaluative test, which is similar to but not identical to 
the formative test. In a pure mastery learning system, students who have not yet mastered 
the unit are recycled through the system until they do master it, with unlimited 
opportunities for working through the material until they can complete the evaluative test at 
a preset level of accuracy. In a modified mastery system, which will be discussed in the 
next section of this chapter, trials may be limited. In either case students either pass or do 
not pass the unit; their relative performance is not evaluated in comparison with other 
students' performance on the evaluative test. 

Not every student does master every unit, but studies have consistently shown that 
mastery students learn more than about 85 % of those taught in the traditional way. About 
70 % of mastery students attain levels reached by only the top 20 % of students in 
traditional classrooms. Studies have also indicated that students who learn in mastery 
systems are better able to transfer material to other contexts, that mastery learning helps 
students learn how to learn through its presentation of material in a variety of formats, and 
that mastery approaches have substantial affective learning payoffs with students reporting 
greater interest in and more positive attitudes toward subjects taught through mastery. 

Bloom and his graduate students have also studied the use of the mastery approach 
in the preassessment phase of the instructional process. Students in second-year algebra 
and French classes who were given a preassessment test at the beginning of the year to 
determine what they recalled from the first-year course, and then re-taught the specific 
skills they lacked using the mastery learning corrective method, did far better on the first 
unit of the new course than did those in comparable classes that were offered only a general 
review of first-year concepts prior to beginning the first unit of the second-year class. When 
the prerequisite training was combined with a continuation of the mastery approach in the 

Chapter Nine - 114 

second class, the average student scored higher than did 95 % of those in a regular class 
after three months of studying the same material. 

Mastery learning is a communication-oriented approach to instruction, but it takes 
time. Teachers will "cover" less but more students will be successful in mastering the 
chosen material. Such has been found to be the case with all effective communication 
systems. It seems we always have the option of sending more, but having receivers who 
receive less; or sending less and having receivers who receive more of it. If a smattering of 
knowledge is all that is needed by the student, as in so-called "core curriculum courses" in 
many colleges, the traditional system certainly can accomplish that objective more 
efficiently than the mastery system. But, if one is concerned about teaching a pilot to land a 
plane without crashing, most passengers pray that he or she was taught by the mastery 

Modified i^lastery Learning 

One of the cruel lessons in life is that communication cost money, and the more 
effective that communication, the more it costs. Politicians are forced out of campaigns for 
office by lack of money for TV and personal appearances. Companies are forced out of 
business by high costs of marketing. And while advocates of the mastery learning system 
would like to see it replace the traditional educational system, given the pressing economic 
realities in most school systems, most teachers must teach their entire careers within the 
parameters of a traditional school system. Students must be ready to pass on to the next 
level of the system on schedule, and teachers are expected to assign evaluative grades. 

Pure mastery learning allows students unlimited time to achieve learning objectives 
and evaluates them only to the extent of whether they have achieved an objective or 
whether they need more time to master it. However, many of the advantages of mastery 
learning can be retained within a modified mastery learning model of instruction, which has 
the advantage of its ability to be practically implemented within the currently established 
traditional system. 

Two modifications characterize modified mastery: a limitation on the amount of time 
given to students to demonstrate mastery of instructional objectives and in the number of 
opportunities students have to demonstrate mastery. Students might be given a limited 
time to master a given unit of instruction, or be allowed to recycle at their own paces 
throughout a semester (or quarter or year), with the expectation that they will complete all 
the units of study for that term by its completion. Students might also be given a limited 

Chapter Nine - 115 

number of chances to improve performance on a given unit, so tinat after tine second or 
tinird cycle of teacining all students move onto the next unit of instruction. 

While these modifications mean that some students will need to move on without 
mastering some objectives, the likelihood is high that most students will achieve more than 
they would in a traditional classroom. The sequencing of units becomes particularly 
important in a modified mastery model. Teachers might cluster basic and more advanced 
units within each completion time block, so that students who need more time to master 
objectives are being introduced to -- and given time to master -- all of the basic concepts 
they will be expected to have when they pass on into the next grade or the next level 
course, while students who master the basic concepts more quickly can move onto working 
with more complex enrichment objectives. 

The issue of grading is a tough one for teachers who have embraced the concept of 
mastery learning. When a dichotomous grading system, such as pass-fail or 
satisfactory- unsatisfactory, is allowed there are fewer problems than when a graduated 
index, such as A, B, C, D, F, is mandated. One way to translate mastery learning 
performance into grades is to set levels in which the number of objectives that are mastered 
is translated into a grade scale. This process assumes that all objectives are of equal 
complexity and/or importance, or that students are not able to move onto enrichment 
objectives until they have mastered those considered most basic to the unit or course -- 
otherwise, a student could theoretically earn a superior grade for having failed to master 
only a few objectives, even though those missed objectives are the ones the teacher 
believes are the most important to grasping the essence of the unit. 

Another way is to classify the objectives in a unit cluster into basic and advanced 
levels, with a standard that students must master all or most of the basic objectives to 
obtain an average grade and that students must master all or most of the basic objectives 
and a preset percentage of the more advanced objectives to obtain above average grades. 
In either case, it is helpful to communicate to students, their parents, and others who will 
interpret the grades exactly what each letter designation means. It is also mandatory to 
remember that students must be evaluated against objective standards rather than in 
comparison to one another. 

The logistics of implementing a modified mastery learning model can be challenging 
but highly rewarding. Following the first formative evaluation. Bloom's suggestions for 
whole-class involvement can be followed to re- teach concepts or skills with which many 
students had trouble. Teachers might develop independent study materials or direct 
students who are quick to master basic objectives to resources with which they can work 

Chapter Nine - 116 

while other students work more directly with the teacher on recycling through problematic 
objectives. Or, projects and assignments that address sequentially higher-level objectives 
might be developed and offered to students, as they are ready for them (not all objectives 
are best demonstrated through the use of tests and quizzes). Since the pure mastery model 
is already being modified to accommodate the constraints of a traditional education system, 
teachers should not feel bound by emulating someone else's version of modified mastery. 
The most important aspect of the system is its process-centered orientation, its provisions 
for examining how students are doing, and its emphasis on working out ways to help them 
do better during the course of instruction rather than waiting to the end to see how they did 
and promptly moving on. 

Because we believe that teaching and learning is a communicative process, we find 
much merit in the communication-oriented approach to instruction. This view focuses on the 
interaction between teachers and students and on analyzing the success of the instruction in 
accommodating its goals to a maximum number of students. As a communication-oriented 
approach, mastery learning, or modified mastery learning, encompasses a humane 
instructional view while acknowledging the teacher's role in setting the instructional agenda, 
and in helping students master a particular subject area curriculum. Thus, both learning and 
affect are treated as relevant outcomes of instruction, and both are likely to be enhanced. 

References and Recommended Readings 

Bandura, A. (1969). Principles of beliavior modification. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and 

Bloom, A.D. (1987). Tlie closing of the American mind: How higher education has failed 

democracy and impoverished the souls of today's students. New York: Simon and 

Bloom, B.S. (1981). All our children learning: A primer for parents, teachers, and other 

educators. New York: McGraw-Hill. 
Bloom, B.S. (1984, June/July). The 2-Sigma problem: The search for methods of group 

instruction as effective as one-to-one tutoring. Educational Researcher, 4-16. 
Bloom, B.S. (1985) . Developing talent in young people. New York: Ballantine. 
Chance, P. (1987, April). Master of Mastery. Psychology Today, 43-46. 
Elkind, D. (1979). Child development and education, a Piagetian perspective. New York: 

Oxford University Press. 
Guskey, T. (1990). Cooperative mastery learning strategies. The Elementary School journal, 

91, 33-42. 

Chapter Nine - 117 

Hirsch, E.D., Jr. (1987). Cultural literacy: What every American needs to know. Boston: 

Houghton Mifflin. 
JVlcCroslcey, J . C. (1998). An introduction to communication in the classroom (2"^ Ed.). 

Acton, JVIA: Tapestry Press. 
Popinam, W.J. & Bal<er, E.L. (1970). Systematic instruction. Englewood Cliffs, NJ : 

Richmond, V. P. (1990). Communication in the classroom: Power and motivation. 

Communication Education, 39, 181-195. 
Rogers, C. (1969). Freedom to learn: A view of what education might become. New York: 

Rogers, C. (1983). Freedom to learn for the eighties. Columbus, OH: Merrill. 
Shor, I. & Friere, P. (1989). A pedagogy for liberation: Dialogues on transforming education. 

South Hadley, MA: Bergin and Garvey. 

Chapter Nine - 118 


Chapter Ten Objectives 

1. Define misbehavior in tine classroom from a communication perspective. 

2. Discuss five reasons winy student misbeinavior. 

3. List tine four categories of beinavior and provide an example behavior for each 

4. What are the causes of bullying? What do bullies achieve through their bullying? 

5. Who is most likely to be a victim? 

6. What should teachers and adults do to prevent and/or squelch bullying? 

7. Discuss how to increase appropriate student behavior and how to decrease 
inappropriate student behavior. 

8. Discuss the how, when, and outcomes of using punishment in the classroom. 

9. Provide five guidelines for classroom management. 

A well-managed classroom is one where productive interaction is encouraged, 
students grant power to the teacher, immediacy and affect are high, and discipline is rarely 
needed. For years, experienced teachers have targeted student misbehavior as the number 
one communication and affective problem in the instructional environment. In fact, 
experienced classroom managers think student misbehavior and student apathies may be 
the most significant problems faced by instructors today. Apathy is considered by most 
teachers to be a discipline problem. Books, articles, and papers have been written 
attempting to find "the solution" to student misbehavior in the classroom. This chapter does 
not attempt to suggest there is "one best method" of managing or controlling disruptive 
students. It does, however, purport to provide several strategies which instructors might 
use when managing disruptive students. 

By "student misbehavior" we mean student behaviors, both verbal and nonverbal, 
which interfere with her or his learning or another student's learning. By "disruptive," we 
mean the student who is behaviorally and communicatively disruptive, either in a verbal or 
nonverbal manner, and disrupts the classroom so learning and on-task times are inhibited 
or restricted. In other words, the disruptive student is the student who misbehaves and 
prevents her or himself and other students from learning and spending time on the task. 

Chapter Ten - 119 

We, in no way, include violent, out-of-control students with criminal tendencies or intentions 
in the definition of the "disruptive student." We are referring to the "normal, pain in the 
neck, disruptive student" who can make a teacher's life very uncomfortable and cause other 
students to feel uncomfortable in the classroom setting. The extremely violent, criminal 
students need very different behavior control techniques which will not be covered in this 

We know that whenever students spend less time on-task, their learning is impacted 
in a negative way. We know that when learning is disrupted, then retention is impacted in a 
negative way. Therefore, we need to keep in mind that "communication and learning are 
truly interdependent" (Hurt, Scott & McCroskey, 1978, p. 28). Students are taught by their 
instructors to communicate appropriate or desired classroom behaviors or classroom 
manners. Most students learn not to communicate the inappropriate or undesirable 
classroom behaviors. Often students elect not to communicate the desired behaviors which 
their instructors have taught them. The students who do not communicate the desired 
verbal and nonverbal behaviors are viewed as disruptive students or discipline problems. 
Even students who seem to resist learning the appropriate communication classroom 
behaviors and seem apathetic are viewed as potential classroom problems. Teachers then 
decide what communication strategies should be employed to change, modify, or alter a 
student's disruptive verbal or nonverbal communication behavior. 

Lastly, communication, learning, and affect are highly correlated. The more a student 
communicates in a positive way or behaves in a positive way, the more learning will take 
place, and the higher the affect between student and teacher. The less a student 
communicates in a positive way or behaves in a positive way, the less learning will take 
place, and the lower the affect between student and teacher. What, then, causes students 
to be disruptive or misbehave. 

Why Students Misbehave 

Many student misbehaviors are communication directed. The students want to be 
noticed, recognized, or attended to by the teacher. Hence, many of our students engage in 
disruptive misbehaviors of the highest magnitude to gain our attention. Much of their 
misbehavior is of a verbal or nonverbal form. 


One of the major reasons our students misbehave is they "want our attention," even 
if the attention is not very positive. Even the youngest, brightest, or sweetest will 

Chapter Ten - 120 

misbehave to gain our attention. Often students are very well aware of the appropriate 
behaviors an individual instructor expects from them, yet they knowingly and intentionally 
violate that standard. Instructor attention, even though it may not be positive, is often more 
desired than instructor inattention. 


Another goal of student misbehavior is to demonstrate that the student does not and 
will not follow established, conventional school or classroom policies or norms. Some 
students rebel in order to illustrate they are independent, assertive, free, autonomous, 
self-reliant, self-sufficient, and are not dependent. It is not unusual for students around the 
sixth or seventh grade to start rebelling against the rules and policies applied in each 
individual instructional system. While we do not like it, it is as predictable as our students 
becoming interested in the opposite gender before we think they should. 

Psychological or Physiological Release 

Many times students misbehave as a means of releasing mental, emotional, or 
physical energy. Often we give considerable attention to students' academic needs but we 
neglect their need for psychological or physical energy release. When our students become 
mentally, emotionally, or physically aroused, they often need to release that energy in an 
appropriate manner. If they are not allowed to release the energy in an appropriate 
manner, they release it in our classrooms, often in the form of a student misbehavior. For 
example, they toss a spit wad at another student, or whistle at another student, or poke 
another student in the arm. 


While it seems counterintuitive, one of the goals of student misbehavior is to resist 
teacher instruction or control by being apathetic. Students often exhibit apathetic 
communication responses such as listlessness, indifference, little emotion, or unconcern as 
a form of passive, destructive behavior. While some would argue that communicating 
apathy is not a goal of student misbehavior, students know apathy is a goal of their 
misbehavior. Students realize that apathetic tendencies or the "who cares response" often 
irritate their teacher. In essence, then, apathetic communication is a goal of student 

Chapter Ten - 121 

Challenge the Teacher's Power or Control 

Occasionally, students will openly, flagrantly, glaringly, and obnoxiously disregard, 
ignore, or refuse to comply with an instructor's request or appeal. This kind of destructive, 
open, defensive misbehavior is usually motivated by the student wanting to demonstrate to 
her or his peers that they can challenge the teacher's power or control. Unfortunately, this 
type of flagrant student misbehavior often places the teacher in an untenable, precarious 
situation. He or she must "do something" about the student's open misbehavior without 
hurting the student or the class. Very few instructors are likely to disregard or ignore an 
open challenge of their power or control. 

Classroom Fatigue 

Classroom fatigue syndrome can lead to misbehavior problems. When our students 
become fatigued, bored, frustrated, exhausted, or weary they will often exhibit verbal or 
nonverbal misbehaviors. Students demand that we keep them entertained. In fact, besides 
being a helper, manager, controller, and provider, we are often expected to be entertainers. 
Let's face it, we often use teaching methods of the 16'*^ Century on children of the 21^'. 
When the classroom is boring, students of all ages develop "classroom fatigue syndrome," 
and begin to misbehave in a verbal or nonverbal manner. They often misbehave in order to 
"liven up" an otherwise slow, boring class session or lesson. 


Revenge is commonly known as the "get even response." Sometimes our students 
will misbehave in order to get revenge, get even with, or make our lives very uncomfortable 
for something we did or didn't do. Often we may never know what we did or didn't do to 
cause a student to seek revenge. Regardless, when a student decides to seek revenge or 
retribution for past offenses, they can make our lives very uncomfortable. Revenge can take 
any misbehavior form. It can be active, passive, destructive, direct, or indirect, but it can 
interrupt our classrooms and our instructional communicator style. 

Depressed Teacher Affect 

The instructional communication literature is very clear in this area. When students 
have low or depressed affect or liking for their teacher, they learn less, engage in 
recommended behaviors less often, are less responsive in the classroom, are less likely to 
comply with a teacher's request, and if not forced to attend class will attend class less 
frequently than students who have higher affect for the teacher. This is known as a "student 

Chapter Ten - 122 

hates teacher condition." Throughout this text we directly and indirectly discuss methods 
we can use to increase teacher/student affect. We should attempt to use the affective 
methods which work for us so our students will not have depressed teacher affect. This 
condition impacts student performance and our performance. Students who don't like their 
teachers exhibit more misbehaviors and misbehave more frequently than students who like 
their teachers. 

Unhealthy Attitude about School 

Often students who perceive the school environment to be hostile, unreceptive to 
their needs, impersonal, cold, and position-oriented will have discipline or behavior 
problems in their classrooms. At the heart of the issue is whether the student's perception is 
incorrect or whether the school is actually cold and impersonal. A student's perception is the 
way he or she will view things. Hence, if we can change a student's perception about the 
general school environment, her or his behavior might improve. However, if our school is 
actually cold and impersonal, then we need to change the school's image. Either way, we 
can improve student behavior and decrease student misbehaviors. 

Disorganized Teachers 

While this is not very complimentary to our profession, we know of many "scatter- 
brained" teachers. We often wonder how they can be so disorganized and still call 
themselves professionals. Disorganized, disorderly teachers usually communicate 
disorganization, chaos, and unconcern to their students. Students who have teachers with 
low organizational skills often misbehave. When students perceive teachers don't care, the 
students don't care to behave appropriately either. 

Expectancy Orientation 

Often some students will misbehave because this is what is "expected" of them. They 
have been classified as "behavior problems," "misfits," or "disciplinary problems" from the 
time they entered school. Hence, they have learned to communicate and behave in the way 
which is expected of them by school personnel. Year after year these students will work at 
fulfilling the prophecy by continuing to misbehave or be disruptive. 

External Variables Impact 

Occasionally, we have to look beyond the obvious reasons for student misbehavior 
and look for other external causes. External variables that could impact student behavior in 

Chapter Ten - 123 

school are hyperactivity, malnutrition, lack of sleep, abuse and/or neglect, excessive 
television viewing, family violence or disputes, divorce, new birth in family, family member's 
death, and so on. If there is no known immediate cause of a student's misbehavior, perhaps 
we should inquire (through appropriate channels) about their home life. Often variables 
beyond our control can impact how our students behave or misbehave. 

In conclusion, a major challenge facing all teachers is how to determine why or what 
causes students to be disruptive or misbehave. The next major challenge is managing, 
handling, or controlling classroom misbehavior problems. We know that when misbehavior 
gets out of control, learning, affect, and communication is negatively impacted. Before we 
continue, we need to make clear what are misbehaviors and what are simply common 
classrooms behaviors. 

Categories of Student Behaviors 

This unit will attempt to classify or categorize student behaviors into four major 
categories. Much work in this area has been done by: Bellon, Doek, Handler, (1979); 
Dreikurs, Grunwald, & Pepper (1971); Kearney, Plax, Sorensen, & Smith (1988); 
McCroskey, Richmond, Plax, & Kearney (1985); Piaget (1970); and Richmond (1990). The 
four categories are as follows: Active/constructive behaviors; Active/destructive behaviors; 
Passive/constructive behaviors; and Passive/destructive behaviors (See Figure 11.1). 
Occasionally, we may use examples that you would not see as fitting into a certain 
category; if we do, select your own classroom example for each category. 

Active/ Constructive Behaviors 

This category includes behaviors which are lively, active and lead to learning. This 
category might also be called the active/ positive category. In other words, the student 
behaviors which are active and produce positive student outcomes that are active and 
constructive. Some of the common student behaviors which are viewed as active and 
constructive are: students talking to other students about the subject matter; students 
talking to the teacher about the subject matter or school related activities; students 
answering questions in class; students asking questions; students waving their hands to 
answer questions; students reading aloud to class; students discussing homework 
assignments with each other; students discussing upcoming assignments; students taking 
notes; or students modeling teachers' behavior. 

Chapter Ten - 124 


Overt Student Behaviors 
Constructive or Positive 

Learning Eninanced 


Covert Student Beinaviors 
Learning Eninanced 

Overt Student Beinaviors 
Destructive of Negative 

Learning Hindered 

Covert Student Beinaviors 
Learning Hindered 

Figure 10.1 Categories of Student Behaviors 

Active/ Destructive Behaviors 

Tinis category encompasses beinaviors tinat are lively, active, and hinder learning. 
This category might also be called the active/negative category. In other words, the student 
behaviors which are active and produce negative student outcomes are active and 
destructive. Some of the common student behaviors which are viewed as active and 
destructive are: throwing things; hitting; spitting; biting; smacking; vandalism; speaking 
out with foul language; calling others names; fighting; lying; cheating; stealing; active 
resistance of a teacher's wishes; coming to school unprepared; blaming others for poor 
performance; asking counterproductive questions; disrupting class by making ugly, obscene 
gestures or by making unusual noises; directly challenging a teacher's authority by refusing 
to do something; or communicating in an unfriendly, aggressive, or intimidating fashion. 

Passive/ Constructive Behaviors 

This category is of behaviors which are inactive but lead to learning. This category 
might also be called the passive/ positive category. In other words, the student behaviors 
which are passive and produce positive student outcomes are passive and constructive. 
Some of the common student behaviors which are viewed as passive and constructive are: 
reading quietly or silently; studying notes; listening to lecture; watching a film; watching a 
demonstration; cognitive processing (thinking); or showing passive affective cues (such as 

Passive/ Destructive Behaviors 

This category is of behaviors that are inactive and hinder learning. This category 
might also be called the passive/ negative category. In other words, the student behaviors 

Chapter Ten - 125 

that are passive and produce negative student outcomes are passive and destructive. Some 
of tine common student beinaviors winicin are viewed as passive and destructive are: 
sleeping; daydreaming, not listening to lecture; listening to music on a headset without 
teachers' permission; reading magazines as opposed to text without teachers' permission; 
doodling; not being prepared; being late for class; ignoring or not turning in assignments; 
or simply not attending class or school. 

While the active/ positive, passive/ positive student behaviors will lead to improved 
learning outcomes, the active/ negative, passive/negative will lead to poorer learning 
outcomes. The active/ positive and active/ negative student behaviors are overt, obvious, 
and apparent to all participating in the classroom setting. The passive/ positive and 
passive/ negative student behaviors are covert, often hidden, not obvious, and not apparent 
to all participating in the classroom setting. This may be why many teachers are more likely 
to reprimand, discipline, or punish students for the active/ positive or active/ negative 
behaviors. Yes, we said active/ positive behaviors too. 

In the classroom environment, we know that talking is often the number one 
punished student behavior. We think it happens because we cannot determine the 
difference between active/constructive and active/destructive talking behaviors. Therefore, 
as teachers we must be very careful about punishing active/constructive talking behaviors. 
If we punish active constructive talking behaviors, we may cause a student to exhibit more 
active destructive talking behaviors. For example, there are many "gray areas" of 
active/ positive versus active/ negative talking behaviors. We will name a few: a student 
disagreeing with a teacher over a statement the teacher made in class; students talking 
about math in English class; students discussing after school events in class; students 
discussing other teachers in our class; students talking about the news in our class; 
students talking about a film shown in another class; or students discussing what they will 
be having for lunch. Who is to say which is destructive and which is not? The individual 
teacher. We must keep in mind if we punish many active/ positive talking behaviors, then all 
we might have left are active/ negative talking behaviors. Each of us needs to have a clear 
understanding of what is acceptable or unacceptable student talking behavior in our 

In addition to talk being punished, often many nonverbal behaviors fall into the "gray 
area" of what is active/ positive versus active/negative nonverbal behaviors. We will name a 
few: students rustling papers, books, and notebooks while listening or taking notes; 
students looking around room while we are lecturing; students slouching in chairs; students 
looking down while we talking; students reading the text while we talk; students stretching; 

Chapter Ten - 126 

students moving around in desl<s; students leaning toward us; and students lool<ing at tineir 
watcines. Wino is to say winicin is destructive and winicin is not? Tine individual teacher. We 
must keep in mind if we punish many active/ positive nonverbal behaviors, then all we might 
have left are active/ negative nonverbal behaviors. Each of us needs to have a clear 
understanding of what is acceptable or unacceptable student nonverbal behavior in our 

In conclusion, some of the more positive categories of student behavior could be 
perceived as negative by some teachers. Each teacher should have a wide array of student 
behaviors which fit into each category and these should be explained to students so they 
know what is appropriate classroom behavior and what is not. Second, some teachers can 
tolerate more active/ positive behaviors than other teachers. Third, many of the 
positive/active student behaviors may help the individual student to learn while interfering 
with other students learning. Each of us needs to notice when this is occurring and change 
it. Lastly, let's not punish the positive behaviors. Let's reinforce them so our students have 
plenty of opportunity to be caught at "being good" not caught at "being bad." 

Students' Effects on Affect in the Classroom 

When schools make the national headlines, it's rarely a positive happening in this 
day and age. More often than not, the plague of school violence has rocked our nation and 
left most of us wondering what's going wrong with our students. When one examines the 
backgrounds of the most infamous school violence episodes (Paducha, KY, Jonesboro, AK, 
and Littleton, CO), a systematic bullying of the perpetrators has been the cause of school 
violence. This section is going to examine what bullying is, who the bullies and victims are, 
and how teachers can curb bullying and help to build affect in the classroom 

What is Bullying? 

The first problem that most people have when nailing down bullying is determining 
what the term actually means. Though many definitions have been proposed for the term 
"bully" the definition used in this section comes from Connolly, Pepler, Craig, and Tardash 
(2000) who defined bullying as "the abuse of power by one child over another through 
repeated aggressive behaviors" (p. 300). While many scholars may define bullying as any 
aggressive behavior against another individual, Connolly et al. realize that bullying and 
aggression are not synonymous. An individual can clearly be aggressive in one situation at 
one time and not really be a bully. Instead, a bully is someone who uses physical and/or 
verbal aggression against another person on a repeated basis. Owleus (1995) noted three 

Chapter Ten - 127 

myths about bullying that people often do not understand. The first myth about bullying is 
that bullying has to do with the size of the class. Bullies can be found in small classes and in 
large classes. In the past, one popular method for handling bullies was switching them to a 
different class either a smaller or larger one. However, this method has not been shown to 
be an effective way to prevent bullying. 

Who are the bullies? 

A second myth that Owleus' (1995) discusses is that bullying is related to 
competition for grades. This historic depiction of the School Yard Bully has been captured in 
the popular television show. The Simpson's. In this television series, the school yard bully is 
depicted as an illiterate baboon who uses aggression to mask his own lack of academic 
potential, but this is not a real portrayal of who bullies are. In fact, many bullies are not 
dumb and at the bottom of the class, but may instead be your star pupils. I nstead, a 
number of specific characteristics have been noticed in research examining bullying. 
Menesini, Melana, and Pignatti (2000) found three primary characteristics related to an 
individual's tendency to bully her or his classmates: (1) an aggressive personality, with a 
tendency to react aggressively in any situation; (2) little control over one's emotional state 
and the behaviors associated with those emotions; and (3) a positive attitude towards 
violence and competition. While any of these alone can have negative effects, the 
combination of the three leads to many behavioral problems in school. Figure 10.2 is a scale 
developed by Jason Wrench (one of the authors) to examine an individual's likelihood to 
react in a physically aggressive manner. This scale was developed as a means to assess an 
individual's tendency to use physical aggression as a means of anti-social communication. 
While past researchers in the field of communication have focused on verbal 
communication, understanding physical communication and how it relates to bullying can be 
very beneficial in our present discussion. Overall, bullying is generally both verbal and 
physical in its most drastic forms. 

Physical Aggression Scale 

Read the following questions and select the answer that corresponds with what you would 
do in most situations. Do not be concerned if some of the items appear similar. Please 
use the scale below to rate the degree to which each statement applies to you. 

Strongly Agree 




Strongly Disagree 






1. I am extremely careful to avoid physically attacking another individual. 

Chapter Ten - 128 

2. When I get upset, I have a tendency to throw objects. 

3. When I get angry, I tend to hit inanimate objects. 

4. I would never use physical violence to solve a problem. 

5. When I get mad, I tend to hit things. 

6. I have physically confronted someone. 

7. I use physical violence as a way to control others. 

8. I avoid physical violence at all costs. 

9. I get respect by physically intimidating others. 

10. I would never be involved in a physical confrontation. 

11. I have broken inanimate objects during a fit of rage. 

12. I tend to flee from physical confrontations. 

13. When losing an argument, I always resort to physical violence. 

14. I hit walls as a means of dealing with my anger. 

15. Physically hurting others helps me accomplish my goals. 

SCORING: To compute your scores follow the instructions below: 

1. Object Violence Factor 

Step One: Add scores for items 2, 3, 5, 11, & 14. 

2. Physical Confrontation Factor 

Step One: Add scores for items 6 S(12 

Step Two: Add scores for items 4, 8, & 10 

Step Three: Add 18 to Step 1. 

Step Four: Subtract the score for Step two from the score for Step Three. 

3. Control/ Task Factor 

Step One: Add scores for items 7, 9, 13, & 15 

Step Two: Add scores for items 1 

Step Three: Add 6 to Step 1. 

Step Four: Subtract the score for Step two from the score for Step Three. 


Wrench, J . S. (2002). The impact of sexual orientation and temperament on physical and 
verbal aggression, yourna/ of Intercultural Communication Researcii, 31, 85-106. 

Figure 10.2 Physical Aggression Scale (PAS) 

The three basic factors that comprise the Physical Aggression Scale (PAS) are object 
violence, physical confrontation, and control/task aggression. Object violence is when an 
individual reacts aggressively towards inanimate objects. Often aggressive people will 
avoiding hurting other people, but instead take out their aggression on an object. Even if an 
individual does not hurt another person physically, this form of aggression can still be 
construed as bullying. Object violence aggression can often be misconstrued as a form of 

Chapter Ten - 129 

threat, and can be very intimidating to tinose around tine aggressor. Tine Pinysical 
Confrontation factor of tine PAS is winat most people associate witin bullying. This factor 
examines the use of physical violence as a part of normalized life. Most bullies do not shy 
away from physical confrontation, and often actually go out of their way to find these 
confrontations. These are the people who are often said to be "looking for a fight." The final 
factor examines the use of physical aggression as a means for gaining control over others or 
accomplishing a task. This is another factor commonly associated with bullying. Bullies will 
often use physical aggression as a means to get their victims to comply with some task 
(giving their lunch money), which ultimately places the bully in a control position. 

Pakaslahti and Keltikangas-Jarvinen (2000) discussed the second form of aggression 
that a bully commonly uses, which is verbal aggression. Verbal aggression has been 
commonly defined as message behavior that attacks a person's self-concept in order to 
deliver psychological pain (Infante & Wigley, 1986). Statements that purposefully are used 
to hurt another person are considered verbally aggressive. 

Ultimately, for bullying to work, the bully generally needs a following of supporters 
who encourage her or him to continue the bullying. For this reason, the image of the 
outcast as the bully is not always true. In fact, while Olweus (1995) noticed that bullies do 
not perform academically as well as their non-bullying counterparts, they are not the misfits 
that some think they are. I n fact, William Pollack (2000) author of Real Boy's Voices 
believes that aggression, homophobia, and violent behavior are actually looked up to in 
adolescent peer groups - especially among boys. So the instigator of these acts, may not be 
an outcast, but rather one of the popular kids. This reconceptualization of who the bullies 
are is a new perspective on this issue. In the past, individuals like Eric Harris and Dillan 
Klebold (the perpetrators of the school shooting in Littleton, CO) would have been seen as 
the school bullies because of their violent behaviors. I n fact, both of these individuals were 
repeated victims of bullying from other students in the "in-crowd" that was often overlooked 
by both faculty and staff. 

Who are the Victims? 

The third myth that Owelus (1995) noted was that students who are overweight, red 
haired, use glasses, or speak with a different dialect are more likely to become victims of 
bullies. While I'm sure a number of overweight, red-headed, glasses-wearing. New York 
natives living in the South have had their fair share of bullying, these aren't really predictors 
of who will and who will not be a victim of bullying. A plethora of actual victim 
characteristics have been seen in a number of research studies. While the categories of 

Chapter Ten - 130 

victims can include botin passive and proactive victims, typically in a bullying situation the 
victim is passive. Passive victims have been described as submissive, nonassertive, 
nonaggressive, socially isolated, physically weak, nondefensive, and having low self-esteem 
(Connolly et al., 2000, Menesini et al., 2000). In fact. Hoover, Oliver, and Hazier (1992) 
noted that nearly 75% of adolescents reported some form of victimization from a bully 
during their school years. Of these victims, 90% believed that being bullied caused 
significant problems, including loss of friendships, feelings of isolation, hopelessness, 
lowered self-esteem, and academic problems. In a report released by the National 
Association of School Psychologists, it is estimated that 160,000 children each day miss 
school for fear of being picked on by one of their classmates (Orecklin & Winters, 2000). 

When a victim is repeatedly exposed to both physical and/or verbal aggression from 
a bully for an extended period of time, the lasting effects can be quite detrimental. 
Typically, victims of bullying who are exposed to the bullying for a long period of time will 
react in one of two ways: internally or externally. When a victim reacts internally, he or she 
has a lower self-esteem and often will have serious bouts with depression that could lead to 
violent outbursts against her or himself. These violent outbursts could include scarring 
(taking a knife to one's own flesh as a way to purge the reasons that make them a victim), 
pulling out of hair, eating disorders, and possibly suicide. One of the authors of this text had 
an interesting bullying experience: 

I remember once while I was in junior high, this guy behind me kept pocking 
me in the sides saying, "pudge!" He would think it was soooo funny. One day during 
Algebra I had just sharpened my pencil and He "pudged" me. Without thinking, I 
jabbed my newly sharpened pencil into his right knee. That pencil dug pretty deep 
enough into his skin to leave a nice little tattoo. He went to the nurse's office and I 
was sent to the Vice Principal's office. At this time I had been staying after school 
and filing the Vice Principal's disciplinary forms every afternoon, so he had gotten to 
know me pretty well. I told him the story and I didn't get in trouble at all, but the 
guy who kept "pudging" me did get in trouble for bullying me. As a whole, I'm a 
fairly non-violent person, but when I got pushed to my limit, I reacted in a violent 
fashion towards the person I felt was causing me harm. 

The opposite of this is externally reacting, which is becoming all too commonplace in 
our society today. Each of the adolescents that has been involved in a school shooting has 
been a victim of bullying. All of them were said to be quiet, nice kids who other children had 
picked-on during school. Many of these kids had first started reacting violently towards 
family pets or random stray animals. I n a way, these violent episodes are an attempt to 

Chapter Ten - 131 

regain some kind of control tinat inas been lost because of the bully. How can a student 
expect to learn or even enjoy school if he or she is fearful for her or his own safety? Sadly, 
in cases of severe bullying teachers and administrators have often blamed the victim for the 
bullying that occurs. In one rather severe case where a teenager was dragged into a school 
bathroom and a derogatory slur was carved into his chest with a knife, the school 
responded by having him sent to another school. The perpetrators (all popular athletes in 
the school) only received a three-day suspension (Owens, 1998). 

What Can Teachers Do? 

The lasting effects of bullying are pretty severe both to the bully and the victim. 
Owleus (1995) found that victims of bullies have lower self-esteems and are more 
depressed than their non-bullied counterparts by the age of 23. At the same time, 65% of 
boys identified as bullies in the second grade were convicted of a felony by age 24. The 
lasting effects of bullying are detrimental for both parties. Because bullying affects both the 
academic and nonacademic parts of our students' lives, understanding what we can do as 
teachers to help both bullies and victims is very important. 

Acknowledging Bullying. In a research study conducted by Pakaslahti and 
Keltikangas-Jarvinen (2000), it was found that teachers and adolescents had very different 
ideas of who bullies are. Teachers are generally outside observers; whereas, the students 
are inside the bullying interactions when they occur. For this reason, teachers need to be 
make it known that they want to hear from their students if someone is being bullied. 

Create a Bully-Free Environment. Owleus (1995) had four suggestions for how 
schools should react to provide a bully free environment: (1) Create a school (and, ideally, 
also a home) environment characterized by warmth, positive interest, and involvement from 
adults, on one hand, and firm limits to unacceptable behavior, on the other; (2) When rules 
are violated, reprimand with non-hostile, nonphysical sanctions that are applied 
consistently; (3) Adults need to monitor and survey students' activities in and out of the 
school; and (4) Adults both at home and at school should act as authorities in some 
respects. While, admittedly, these ideas are very Utopianistic in nature, they are still very 
profound ideals to work towards. 

Set Limits. Bullies need to know their limits and what is right and what is wrong to 
do to another human. Victims need to know that they can trust an adult figure that will 
protect them from bullies. 

Teach Victims to be Assertive. Teaching victims how to become more assertive 
can be very beneficial. While a victim may never become an aggressor, he or she can learn 

Chapter Ten - 132 

techniques that will allow her or him to stand up for her or himself and get help. Too often, 
victims feel helpless and do not seek help for fear that the help will only cause more 
problems. Victims need to know that the bullying and the bullies will not be tolerated. In his 
autobiographical account of bullying, The Wounded Spirit ('Peretti, 2000) discussed what it 
feels like to be an outsider. He also realized that all of us could be targets for victimization: 

If you have discovered some "defect" in yourself, welcome to the human race. 
Regardless of your failures, foibles, or defeats, you're just as human (and just 
as precious as anybody else. You're a member. . . .One of the most common 
mistakes made by victims of abuse is to think that for some reason the abuse 
was justified, that they actually deserved it. Nothing could be farther from the 
truth! [emphasis in original] (p. 125). 

Seek Interventions for the Perpetrators. The bullies themselves need to be 
helped as well. Often the victims are helped and the bullies are just punished, but never 
taught a better way to act. First, and foremost, bullies need to be given specific guidelines 
for acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. 

Valencic, Beatty, Rudd, Dobos, and Heisel (1998) noticed that verbal and physical 
aggressiveness are temperamentally driven and to a great extent biologically innate. This 
means that aggressive people are probably just naturally aggressive people. Does this 
excuse inappropriate behavior as just naturally occurring or biologically driven? By no 
means. At the same time, if an aggressive person is not given opportunities for pro-social 
outlets for aggression, they may turn to more negative outlets. A physically aggressive 
person could become the captain of the football team or could become the school bully 
depending on which outlets they are given. A verbally aggressive person could become a 
champion debater (with training), or become verbally abusive to one of her or his peers. I n 
the Musical Grease the male lead character, Danny, a fairly physically aggressive male tries 
to find a sport to play to impress his female interest (Sandra Dee). While some of the 
coaches thought it was obvious to place him into football and wrestling because of his 
aggressive nature, he lacked the necessary training and discipline and resorted to his more 
normal physically aggressive self while attempting to perform. This is an example of the 
necessity of proper training for aggressive individuals. If teachers and parents do not help 
aggressive students find pro-social outlets and teach them these outlets, then when they 
become bullies in school, it should not be surprising to any of us. 

Chapter Ten - 133 

Communication, Affect, and Classroom i^lanagement 

We know that an effectively managed classroom can produce students who have 
exceptionally high levels of cognitive, affective, and psychomotor learning. We know that an 
effectively managed classroom can produce students who can learn on their own and will 
continue to use the material they learned in our classrooms. We know that an effectively 
managed classroom can produce students who have high affect for the teacher which leads 
to a high teacher affect for students. Lastly, we also know that an effectively managed 
classroom can produce students who have good interpersonal communication skills and 
abilities. We are not suggesting that a well-managed classroom is where discipline, 
reprimands, and punishment reign supreme. A well-managed classroom is one in which 
productive interaction is encouraged, students grant power to the teacher, immediacy and 
affect are high, and discipline is rarely needed. Teachers who use frequent, harsh discipline 
interventions are often the very ones who have the more difficult, problematic, 
hard-to-manage classes. The remainder of this unit will review classroom management 
approaches, how to increase appropriate student behaviors and decrease inappropriate 
student behaviors, guidelines for the use of punishment, and some general guidelines for 
classroom management. Figure 10.3 is provided to assist you in visualizing the process of 
increasing or decreasing student behaviors. 

Common Classroom Management Approaches 

Before we review communication strategies for increasing appropriate student 
behaviors and decreasing inappropriate student behaviors we should review the common 
classroom management approaches. Below is a discussion of the six most common 
classroom management approaches. 

There are three primary educational behavior modification approaches that increase 
appropriate student behaviors. As noted in Figure 10.3 they are positive reinforcement, 
negative reinforcement, and shaping. 

Positive reinforcement is when we give a reward or positive consequence 
immediately following the desired student behavior. Rewards or positive consequences can 
come in the form of nonverbal or verbal communication behaviors which positively reinforce 
the student for appropriate behavior. The basic idea is that student behaviors which are 
positively reinforced are learned. For example, if we reinforce our students with a positive 
consequence, such as a happy face sticker, every time each student turns in homework that 

Chapter Ten - 134 

is neat, clean, readable, and on time, we have increased the likelihood the behavior wil 
occur again. 




Probability of Future Behavior 

I ncrease 

(Give a positive 




(Give a negative 





(Give a negative 


(Remove a positive 


(Gradual Reform) 



Negative reinforcement is when we remove a negative consequence or remove a 
negative reinforcer. Student behavior is strengthened or increased when the occurrence of 
the desired behavior results in removal of a negative consequence or negative reinforcer. 
The basic idea is that through the use of appropriate behaviors or behaving in a desirable 
way the student has avoided some threatening consequence or a negative consequence. For 
example, if doing discussion questions over each unit of material is a negative for Susan, 
because she never does very well on them, we release Susan from having to do all the 
discussion questions. We tell her to select the ones she can do well and forget the other 
ones. Essentially Susan has learned that doing discussion questions is okay because it had 
the effect of removing a negative reinforcer. 

Shiaping is when we reinforce closer and closer student approximations to the final 
desired behavior. We gradually, through reinforcement of small bits of approximations of 
the desired behavior, "shape" a student's behavior in the direction deemed desirable. For 
example, J oe is unable to go all period without disrupting the class. We reinforce J oe for the 
first five minutes he goes without disrupting the class, then for the next five, the next five. 

Chapter Ten - 135 

the next five, and finally for the entire class. We have gradually shaped Joe's behavior from 
a few minutes to an entire class period. 

There are three primary educational behavior modification approaches which 
decrease inappropriate student behaviors. As noted in Figure 11.2 they are punishment I, 
punishment II, and extinction. 

Punishment I is when we give a punishment or negative consequence immediately 
following the undesirable student behavior. Punishments or negative consequences can 
come in the form of nonverbal or verbal communication behaviors which punish the student 
for inappropriate behavior. The basic idea is that student behaviors which result in a 
negative consequence are lessened or decreased. For example, Margaret spit on her best 
friend for stealing her boyfriend. Margaret was told to write a letter of apology to her best 
friend. Spitting led to writing a letter of apology, a negative consequence. 

Punishment II is when the undesirable student behavior is weakened when the 
occurrence of the behavior causes us to remove a positive consequence or reinforcer. The 
basic idea is that through the removal of a positive consequence or removal of a reward the 
student has learned to decrease inappropriate behaviors. For example, John is able to earn 
ten points for every study guide he turns in ahead of time on each chapter assigned in 
history. However, the study guides must be neat, clean, readable, and complete. If they are 
not, John loses four points for each study guide that is sloppy or incomplete even though it 
is turned in on time. Hence, John's failure to turn in neat, clean, readable, and complete 
study guides results in the removal of a specified amount of points (e.g., removal of a 
positive consequence). 

Extinction is when we weaken, decrease or eliminate inappropriate student 
behavior by ignoring, disregarding, or not paying attention to the student's behavior. The 
basic idea is that if we ignore a mild misbehavior, it will often go away and not reappear. If 
we reward it by acknowledging it, it might continue. For example, while we are teaching, a 
student in the back of the room makes a funny noise with her or his armpit, we ignore it 
and continue. A few students chuckle, but most ignore it because we ignored it. We have 
ignored the inappropriate behavior and hopefully it will decrease or not occur again. By 
attending to the funny noise, we might have strengthened the likelihood that it would occur 

In conclusion, none of the above approaches guarantees appropriate student 
behaviors will increase and inappropriate student behaviors will decrease. Each is simply a 
classroom approach to modifying student behavior. Below are common communication 

Chapter Ten - 136 

techniques or strategies for increasing appropriate student beinaviors or decreasing 
inappropriate student beinaviors. 

Communication Techniques For 
I ncreasing or Decreasing Student Behavior 

I ncreasing Appropriate Student Behaviors 

Often increasing appropriate student beinaviors can be accomplisined by simple 
reward and positive reinforcement. However, eacin teaciner needs to understand and learn 
that what reinforces one student may not always reinforce another. For example, telling a 
student who had the best report that they get to present it orally in front of the class may 
be more of a punisher or disincentive than a reward or incentive. Hence, we need to learn 
what makes our students "tick." What makes one tick or be happy may make another 

Assuming that we know what makes our students happy, we should: 1) 

Communicate many, simple, positive comments or statements to them when they do 
something that is appropriate or acceptable to us. (2) Give something like "happy face 
stickers" or "stars" to reinforce them for appropriate performance. (3) Reinforce through 
positive nonverbal behaviors, such as a smile for good behavior or a pat on the back for a 
job well done. (4) Watch our potential behavior problems and when they do something well 
or good, reinforce them for "being good." Watch for a positive change in the disruptive 
student and reinforce the change. (5) Set a positive example by exhibiting the kinds of 
appropriate behaviors we want our students to model and perform in our classroom. (6) 
Maintain our self-control and our sanity at all times. When we are in control and seem calm, 
the students are more likely to exhibit the appropriate, desirable behaviors. When we are 
out of control or seem unstable, even the best students might think of misbehaving. (7) 
Attempt to remove any or all negative elements from our communication style, our 
classroom, or the school. This seems difficult if not impossible, but if we can remove some 
negative consequences, then students might have better behavior. (8) Treat each student 
fairly, equally, and not have favorites. If we show favoritism, we will increase the likelihood 
of inappropriate behavior, whereas, not having favorites will increase the likelihood of 
appropriate student behaviors. 

Chapter Ten - 137 

Decreasing I nappropriate Student Behavior 

Often decreasing inappropriate student beinavior is as simple as giving a small 
negative consequence or taking away a small, positive consequence. However, when 
decreasing inappropriate student behavior we must remember that what works for one 
student may not work for the next student. We must determine what will work for each 
individual student when attempting to decrease inappropriate behaviors. We don't want to 
inadvertently reward inappropriate behavior. 

Given the above, there are several things we can do to guarantee that inappropriate 
student behaviors decrease: (1) Never reward or be positive about inappropriate student 
behavior. If necessary be neutral, but never positive. Often if you seem neutral, students 
might assume you are not in favor of that particular behavior. (2) As immediately as is 
possible, following an inappropriate behavior or action, correct it, and show the student the 
appropriate behavior. (3) Never embarrass or make the student the focus of excessive 
attention for her or his inappropriate behavior. This might not decrease it. It might increase 
it. (4) Clearly state at the beginning of class or on a syllabus, the consequences of 
inappropriate behavior. (5) Clearly state what is "inappropriate behavior" in your class. 
(6) Learn to ignore minor misbehaviors and perhaps they will decrease. (7) Move around 
your classroom, be dynamic, keep students alive and interested in the subject. They will 
have less time to misbehave or think of things to do to irritate you and others. (8) Do not 
overlook or ignore clear-cut infractions of the rules. Apply simple, direct, immediate 
reprimands and let it go. Never dwell on what a student did that was negative. We should 
try to dwell more on the positive things our students do. 

Guidelines for the Use of Punishment 

Let's keep in mind, punishment is negative. Hence, we should try every possible 
communication strategy or alternative we can think of before we resort to punishment. 

Punishment is only effective if administered firmly and immediately following the 
undesirable behavior. In addition, punishment should always be communicated in a calm, 
matter-of-fact voice and manner. One should never lose control, scream, yell, rant, and 
rave when punishing a student. 

Next, never belittle or call the student names when punishing. Select one behavior 
and punish the behavior, not the child. In addition, you should determine whether the 
misbehavior was intentional or unintentional. This might determine the amount and length 
of punishment. The student should know why they are being punished. 

Chapter Ten - 138 

The student should know how to earn back any positive reinforcers that have been 
removed (e. g., no listening to their headset for one class period). "Punishment should also 
match the crime." Don't make outlandish threats that you can't or never intend to carry 

Keep in mind once we have punished a student, the relationship will never be the 
same. They may avoid us, distrust us, or even dislike us. Avoid blatant, harsh discipline for 
things or acts that are not that serious (e. g., chattering during class occasionally). 

Lastly, we must remember punishment does not teach the correct behavior, it only 
punishes the incorrect behavior. Hence, we need to teach our students correct behaviors, 
lessening the likelihood punishment will be needed. When all is said and done, most school 
systems are abandoning the "punishment model" or the "spare the rod, spoil the child 
syndrome." In fact, most school systems would prefer to work with their students on a 
positive, incentive basis than on a negative, disincentive basis. 

General Guidelines for Classroom Management 

We will make this simple, direct, and understandable. (1) Each of us should clearly 
state or provide in writing to our students on the first day of class, the rules and procedures 
we expect them to follow. In addition, there should never be more than five simple rules or 
procedures. Whether we give them in oral or written format, we should ask for examples so 
our students know what we mean. (2) We should create a pedagogical environment in 
which students feel free to ask questions, communicate concerns, and be willing to make 
needed changes. In this type of person-oriented classroom environment, students are less 
likely to engage in undesirable behaviors or communication. (3) We should keep students 
interested in subject matter and time-on task exercises. This suggests we have to develop a 
more friendly, assertive, sociable, dynamic, and outgoing teacher communication style. If 
we can be more dynamic and interesting, the students will attend more, and behavior 
problems will decrease. (4) Through nonverbal and verbal immediacy and affinity building 
we can increase positive student affect. As student affect for us, the material, and the class 
increases, misbehavior decreases. (5) Lastly, we should avoid the use of antisocial or 
negative compliance techniques, when attempting to modify or control a student's 
misbehavior. Coercion has never taught the correct behavior in the past, why should we 
think it would work now? Often the more coercive power is used, the more it will be needed. 
The research strongly suggests the use of such techniques will lead to student resentment, 
dislike, and lowered affect. 

Chapter Ten - 139 

References and Recommended Readings 

Bellon, J . J ., Doek, E. D., & Handler, J . R. (1979). A study of school discipline in Tennessee. 

(Report No. EA-013-864). Knoxville, TN: The University of Tennessee, College of 

Education. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 169 028). 
Canter, L. & Canter, M. (1993). Succeeding with difficult students: New strategies for 

reaching your most challenging students. Santa Monica, CA: Lee Canter Associates. 
Conolly, J., Pepler, D., Craig, W., Tardash, A. (2000). Dating experiences of bullies in early 

adolescence. Child Maltreatment, 5, 299-311. 
Dreikurs, R., Grunwald, B. B., & Pepper, F. C. (1971). Maintaining sanity in the classrooms: 

Illustrated teaching techniques. New York: Harper & Row. 
Hurt, H. T., Scott, M. D., & McCroskey, J. C. (1978). Communication in the classroom. 

Reading, MA: Addison Wesley. 
Infante, D. A. (1995). Teaching Students to Understand and Control Verbal Aggression. 

Communication Education, 44, 51-63. 
Infante, D. A., & Wigley, C. J. (1986). Verbal aggressiveness: An interpersonal model and 

measure. Communication Monographs, 53, 61-69. 
Hoover, J. H., Oliver, R., & Halzer, R. J. (1992). Bullying: Perceptions of adolescent victims 

in the Midwestern USA. School Psychology International, 13, 5-16. 
Kearney, P., Plax, T. G., McPherson, M. B. (2006). Student incivility and resistance in the 

classroom. In, T. P. Mottet, V. P. Richmond, & J . C. McCroskey (Eds.), Handbook of 

instructional communication: Rhetorical and relational perspectives (pp. 235-251). 

Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 
Kearney, P., Plax, T. G., Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (1984). Power in the 

classroom IV: Teacher communication techniques as alternatives to discipline. In R. 

Bostrom (Ed.) Communication Yearbook 8. (pp. 724-746). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. 
Kearney, P., Plax, T. G., Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (1985). Power in the 

classroom III: Teacher communication techniques and messages. Communication 

Education, 34, 19-28. 
Kearney, P., Plax, T. G., Sorensen, G., & Smith, V. R. (1988). Experienced and prospective 

teachers' selections of compliance-gaining messages for "common" student 

misbehaviors. Communication Education, 37, 150-164. 
McCroskey, J. C, & Richmond, V. P. (1983). Power in the classroom I: Teacher and student 

perceptions. Communication Education, 32, 175-184. 

Chapter Ten - 140 

McCroskey, J. C, Richmond, V. P., Plax, T. G., & Kearney, P. (1985). Power in tine 

classroom V: Beinavior alteration techniques, communication training and learning. 

Communication Education, 34, 214-226. 
Menesini, E., Melan, E., Pignatti, B. (2000). Interactional styles of bullies and victims 

observed in a competitive and cooperative setting. Journal of Genetic Psyciiology, 

161, 261-282. 
Orecklin, M., & Winters, R. (2000, August 21). Beware of the in crowd: A new report 

suggests that identifying the schoolyard bully may not always be so easy. Time, 156 

(8), 69. 
Owens, R. E. (1998). Queer Kids: The challenges and promise for lesbian, gay, and bisexual 

youth. New York: Harrington Press. 
Owleus, D. (1995). Bullying or peer abuse at school: Facts and intervention. Current 

Directions in Psyciiological Science, 4, 196-200. 
Pakaslahti, L., & Keltikangas-Jarvinen, L. (2000). Comparison of peer, teacher, and self- 
assessments on adolescent direct and indirect aggression. Educational Psychology, 

20, 177-191. 
Piaget, J . (1970). The science of education and the psychology of the child. New York: Orion 

Plax, T.G., Kearney, P., Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (1986). Power in the classroom 

VI: Verbal control strategies, nonverbal immediacy and affective learning. 

Communication Education, 35, 43-55. 
Peretti, F. (2000). The wounded spirit. Nashville, TN: Word. 
Pollack, W. (1998). Real boys: Rescuing our sons from the myths of boyhood. New York: 

Pollack, W. (2000). Real boys' voices: Boys speak out about drugs, sex, violence, bullying, 

sports, school, parents, and so much more. New York: Random House. 
Richmond, V. P. (1990). Communication in the classroom: Power and motivation. 

Communication Education, 39, 181-195. 
Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (1992). Power in the classroom: Communication, 

control, and concern. Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum Associates. 
Richmond, V. P. & McCroskey, J. C. (1984). Power in the classroom II: Power an learning. 

Communication Education, 33, 125-136. 
Richmond, V. P., Gorham, J. S., & McCroskey, J. C. (1987). The relationship between 

selected immediacy behaviors and cognitive learning. In M. C. McLaughlin (Ed.) 

Communication Yearbook 10 (pp. 574-590). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. 

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Richmond, V. P., McCroskey, J. C, Kearney, P., & Plax, T. G. (1987). Power in tine 

classroom VII: Linking behavior alteration techniques to cognitive learning. 

Communication Education, 36, 1-12. 
Valencic, K. M., Beatty, M. J., Rudd, J. E., Dobos, J. A., & Heisel, A. D. (1998). An empirical 

test of a communibiological model of trait verbal aggressiveness. Communication 

Quarterly, 46, 327-341. 

Chapter Ten - 142 


Chapter Eleven Objectives 

1. Discuss the role/function of the teacher/source in the instructional process. 

2. Discuss why teachers might misbehave. 

3. Review the most common teacher JVlisbehaviors. Give an example of each that you 
have observed in a fellow teacher. 

4. Give some outcomes of teacher misbehavior on the educational system. 

There he or she is, sitting at their desk, drinking coffee and reading a newspaper, 
while the students are attempting to determine what the assignment is. Day after day, 
week after week, the students go into Mr. or Ms. Thompson's room for instruction and 
encouragement, but come out with little instruction and no encouragement. Mr. or Ms. 
Thompson thinks the best model of teaching is to assign vague projects, plenty of busy 
work which doesn't even get graded, lots of board work so he or she can openly criticize the 
students' work; to give unannounced quizzes, no guidelines for grading or achievement, and 
little teacher feedback. He or she often leaves the room to talk with other school personnel 
and is rarely in her or his room when the class is supposed to begin. 

Unfortunately, most of us have experienced teachers like Mr. or Ms. Thompson. 
There is no question that a teacher's behavior, communication, control, and concern all 
have an impact on student communication, perception, performance, and behavior. As 
Richmond and Roach (1992) point out, "The tasks of a teacher are many-fold. An instructor 
is responsible for presenting subject content, explaining difficult concepts, modeling and 
stimulating problem-solving skills, promoting both cognitive and affective learning in 
students, motivating students toward academic achievement, and providing an environment 
conducive to learning" (p. 58). Most instructional managers are able to handle these tasks. 

A troublesome but valid area of concern has been explored recently in the 
communication education literature. This new arena of study has been called "teacher 
misbehaviors." While much of the literature has examined, investigated, and discussed 
why, how, and when students instigate problems in the classroom, very few people have 
examined the impact of teacher misbehaviors in the classroom. Perhaps this oversight is 
because we don't like to think of ourselves as misbehavior problems or as the instigator of 
misbehavior problems in our own classrooms. 

Chapter Eleven - 143 

Often, we as teachers, forget how powerful our presence can be in the classroom. 
The things that we say and do will be remembered by our students longer than most of us 
sometimes would like. One of the authors of this text had the following experience: 

Once while teaching a class, I had asked my students to do a task that they 
had been doing all semester long. They were taking longer than usual and I was 
already a little agitated that day, so the combination was not a positive teaching 
experience. I finally got frustrated and looked at the class and muttered, "Come on 
people, this isn't brain surgery!" A few kids chuckled and the class went on its way 
without any more problems. A few days later, I was talking with one of my students 
about a problem he was having on one of his assignments, he finally looked at me 
and with a sly smile uttered, "I know, it's not brain surgery!" I couldn't believe that 
he had remembered my off-hand remark like that. I was hoping he was the only one, 
but to my dismay, most of the class remembered that little remark. For the rest of 
the semester, any time something wasn't going just right one of the students would 
pipe in with, "Come on people, this isn't brain surgery!" I even had a couple of 
"brain surgery" comments on my evaluations. This little experience forced me to 
realize how powerful the words we use in the classroom really are. 
As teachers, we must all be careful of the words we use because we never know if 
were are edifying our students or destroying them. 

Kearney, Plax, Hays, and Ivey (1991) note that the education literature often 
"overlooks teachers themselves as a potential source of problems in the classroom" (p. 
309-310). Kearney et al., (1991) departed from tradition and made two assumptions about 
teachers and misbehaviors. The first assumption is that "teachers themselves may 
misbehave" and second "these misbehaviors can become potential sources of student 
dissatisfaction and resistance" (p. 310). They define teacher misbehaviors as "those teacher 
behaviors that interfere with instruction and thus, learning" (p. 310). Most of their work has 
been with college students' perceptions of teachers' misbehaviors. However, Kearney et al., 
suggests that teacher misbehaviors can occur at any level of education and misbehaving 
teachers can be found in all grades. In this chapter we have adapted some of their 
misbehavior problems to match teacher misbehaviors found in kindergarten through twelfth 
grade. Again, there seems to be little doubt that teacher behaviors and communication 
influence a student's behaviors, time spent on task, study habits, motivation, goal 
orientation, learning, application of subject matter, classroom order, classroom 
communication, in-class work habits, and a plethora of other variables. 

Chapter Eleven - 144 

There seem to be several reasons why teachers misbehave. Kearney et al., (1991) 
suggest that teachers misbehave because they are "unable to relate to students, uncaring, 
preoccupied with other work, uninformed about course content, fearful about initiating 
personal relationships with students, outdated, selfish and self-centered, and not committed 
to the teaching profession" (p. 318). 

Why Teachers Misbehave 

Let's keep in mind the majority of us probably do not misbehave in our classrooms, 
and if we do we don't misbehave to the point of interfering with our students' learning. 
However, there are many teachers who do misbehave either intentionally or unintentionally, 
or out of habit. No one is sure why teachers misbehave. No one has been able to get 
teachers who are perceived by others as misbehavior problems to answer why teachers 
misbehave. However, we can delineate some possible reasons why they do. 


Just like our students, we become bored with the everyday process of teaching and 
learning. We start to rely on "old notes" and "old lectures" and never allow ourselves to 
grow, develop, and expand educationally. Just because we have been teaching for several 
years doesn't mean we can't still be interested and interesting. 

Dislike Teaching 

Whether we like it or not, we know there are some instructors in our school system 
who simply don't like teaching. Their affect for the basic job is low and they will do nothing 
to improve. In fact, these are the very teachers who are most proud of saying, "I do this 
because I have nothing else to do," or "I do this to earn a little extra money," or "I would 
have done something better with my life, but what they heck, the pay is okay and the hours 
are great." Instructors who do not have a positive regard for this profession do not have a 
positive regard for us or the students. 


Instructional leaders have to continue to learn, grow, and gain knowledge in their 
subject content area of else they will become out-of-date. When a teacher becomes 
out-of-date or is uneducated in her or his primary content area, they will fail to have a 
positive instructional impact on their students. We need to stay up-to-date in our primary 

Chapter Eleven - 145 

field and continue to educate ourselves or we may become the next misbehavior problem in 
the system. 

Establish Too High Expectations 

Often we will establish expectations for ourselves and our students that are too high 
or unreachable. In our efforts to be better we become compulsive and pushy and forget one 
of our primary goals is to establish a humane learning environment where all students can 
learn and perform up to their levels. When we establish expectations that no student can 
meet and expectations for ourselves that we cannot meet, then we may become a problem 
to ourselves and our students. 

Poor Interaction with Students 

Instructors who have poor communication skills or ineffective communication with 
their students are more likely to misbehave or have behaviors which are indicative of 
teacher misbehavior. It is clear that effective communication between teacher and student 
is a prerequisite for teacher success and student learning. Teachers who are ineffective 
communicators usually receive very little positive feedback from their students, have 
difficulty responding to feedback, cannot establish credibility with students, have less 
control over their students, have lowered affinity with students, and have more defensive, 
hostile communication with their students than teachers who are effective communicators. 
According to Hurt, Scott, McCroskey (1978) "teaching is communicating. And the better 
teachers are at communicating, the better they are at teaching" (p. 38). 

Poor Teaching Performance 

Teachers who cannot teach, cannot present material in an interesting, stimulating, 
and exciting manner, or systematically refuse to learn the necessary communication skills 
which contribute to good teaching, are more likely to become behavior problems for their 
students. They become problems because they are insecure, self-conscious, and defensive 
about their teaching performance. Perhaps they even realize their performance is not 
acceptable, but they don't know how to improve. So instead of seeking help or assistance, 
they become misbehavior problems. 

Low Affect for I mmediate Supervisor 

We all know this teacher. He or she doesn't like and is not able to get along well with 
her or his immediate supervisor. The immediate supervisor may be a principal, assistant 

Chapter Eleven - 146 

principal, curriculum director or another teacher. Often when affect is low between 
supervisor and subordinate, then the relationship and communication are negatively 
impacted. Teachers who do not like their immediate supervisors pose very big misbehavior 
problems for their own students. This teacher becomes angry with her or his immediate 
supervisor, but instead of talking to her or his immediate supervisor, they may go into class 
and misbehave. In order words, they take their anger and frustrations out on their students. 

Stress and Overload 

More and more good teachers are suffering from intense stress and overload. There 
are not enough good teachers in the systems to do all the work, so many good teachers are 
becoming overburdened and overloaded while many poor teachers are doing as little as 
possible. Stress and overload for long periods of time might cause a very good teacher to 
develop some misbehavior problems. If we see this happening to us, we definitely need to 
reduce our workload. 

In conclusion, there are many reasons why teachers might misbehave. Some of 
these causes of misbehavior can be managed or controlled by us. However, there are still 
some teachers present in our educational systems who nonverbally and verbally abuse 
students and will never admit it. Let's review what students perceive as common teacher 
misbehaviors with an eye toward spotting our own misbehaviors and correcting them. 

Common Teacher Misbehaviors 

There are a wide variety of teacher misbehaviors that can occur in any classroom 
setting. While the landmark study by Kearney et al., only identifies misbehaviors that occur 
at the college level, we will attempt to generalize their findings to other grade levels. I n this 
attempt we will only discuss the common misbehaviors which teachers are likely to commit 
from kindergarten through high school. Kearney et al., was able to categorize teacher 
misbehaviors into three primary categories. 

Teacher Incompetence 

The first category was labeled teacher incompetence. The following are descriptions 
of the nine primary misbehaviors that make up teacher incompetence. 

1. An incompetent teacher often exhibits misbehaviors such as giving confusing 

or unclear lectures, presentations, or notes. Here the teacher often is vague, 
jumps randomly from one point to another and has lectures or notes that are 
often inconsistent with the assigned readings. 

Chapter Eleven - 147 

2. An incompetent teacher is often apatinetic to students. He or sine doesn't 
seem to care about tine class or tine students, doesn't learn student names, 
rejects students' opinions and questions, and rarely allows for class 

3. An incompetent teacher uses unfair testing techniques or strategies. He or 
she will ask trick questions, have exams or tests that do not relate to notes or 
lectures, give tests that are too difficult, ask ambiguous questions, and 
provide no review for tests. 

4. An incompetent teacher will give boring lectures and presentations. They are 
boring, unenthusiastic, speak in monotone voice, ramble, repeat too much, 
drone on, and provide no variety. 

5. An incompetent teacher will often have students who have information or 
communication overloads. For example, they talk too fast, rush the content, 
talk over students' heads, use obscure terminology, ignore students' queries, 
ignore students' confusion and keep giving information, and assign excessive 
busy work. 

6. An incompetent teacher does not know her or his subject matter or primary 
content teaching area. For example, they don't understand the subject, 
cannot answer questions, give incorrect information, cannot extend the 
subject matter, and often aren't current or up-to-date. 

7. An incompetent teacher may have a foreign or regional accent or dialect 
different from the students which interferes with the students' processing of 
information. For example, they are hard to understand, enunciate poorly, 
don't attempt to adapt their speech to the students, or their accent or speech 
is so strong or different from the region that it interferes with information 
processing and effective communication. 

8. An incompetent teacher uses inappropriate volume. They do not speak loudly 
enough (speak too softly) to be heard or they speak too loudly. 

9. Lastly, an incompetent teacher uses poor grammar and has poor spelling. 
They often use poor grammar, misspell words, and generally use poor 

Teacher Offensiveness 

The second category of teacher misbehaviors was labeled teacher offensiveness. 
Below is a discussion of the six primary misbehaviors that make up an offensive teacher. 

Chapter Eleven - 148 

1. Teachers who behave offensively use sarcasm, putdowns, and hurtful or 
harmful comments. They are sarcastic, rude, make fun of students, humiliate 
students, insult, pick on or embarrass students in front of others. 

2. Teachers who behave offensively use verbal abuse. They are verbally abusive. 
They use profanity, are often angry, mean, hostile, yell, scream, rant, rave, 
and will often intimidate students. Sometimes they will interrupt students and 
verbally harass them in the classroom. 

3. Teachers who behave offensively use unreasonable and arbitrary rules. They 
refuse to accept late work, give no breaks in long classes, punish an entire 
class for the misbehavior of one student, and are often rigid, inflexible, 
authoritarian, and hostile. 

4. Teachers who behave offensively use sexual harassment techniques. They will 
make offensive, sexual remarks to or about students. They will make 
inappropriate comments about their clothing and dress. They will flirt, make 
sexual innuendoes and be chauvinistic. 

5. Teachers who behave offensively have a negative personality. They are 
impersonal, impatient, cold, self-centered, complaining, and whiny. They act 
superior, unpredictable, and moody. 

6. Lastly, teachers who behave offensively show favoritism, partiality, bias, or 
prejudice. They play favorites, act prejudiced against others, are 
narrow-minded or close-minded. 

Teacher I ndolence 

The third category of teacher misbehaviors was labeled teacher indolence. Below is a 
discussion of the six primary factors/misbehaviors that make up teacher indolence. 

1. An indolent or lazy teacher is often absent from class. They simply do not 
show up for class, use substitutes a lot, and have flimsy, vague excuses for 
why they were absent. 

2. An indolent teacher is often tardy for class. They rarely show up on time and 
rarely have good excuses for being late. 

3. An indolent teacher is often unprepared, disorganized or sloppy in their 
preparation. They are not prepared, lose notes, forget test dates, forget 
where they are in their content coverage, make assignments and do not 
collect them, and generally seem sloppy, uncoordinated, or unorganized. 

4. An indolent teacher is one who will deviate substantially from the syllabus or 

Chapter Eleven - 149 

course outline. For example, they change dates and assignments without any 
warning or reason, are often behind schedule, do not follow guidelines stated 
on a syllabus, and assign books, materials, and readings but never refer to 

5. An indolent teacher is often late in returning work to students. He or she is 
late in returning papers, projects, assignments, tests, exams, and exercises. 
They often forget to bring in graded papers and projects. 

6. Lastly, an indolent teacher is often guilty of information underload. They are 
too easy, do not give enough content to satisfy student needs, seem to skim 
the content surface, give light and easy assignments. 

I n conclusion, the three primary misbehavior categories are incompetence, 
offensiveness, and indolence. A teacher must have a high number of these characteristics to 
be considered a real misbehavior problem in the system. There could also be other 
misbehaviors that teachers display that impact student learning such as keeping students 
overtime, early dismissal, unresponsiveness to students' needs, inaccessibility to students 
outside of class, not giving students extra help, not answering students' questions outside of 
class, and giving exams which do not relate to the content or reading. Before we label 
anyone a "misbehavior problem" let's be sure they have a number of the above 
misbehaviors. Usually good teachers will realize when they are becoming misbehavior 
problems and correct the situation, and poor teachers often don't realize they are 
misbehavior problems. 

I mplications for the Educational System 

Again, misbehaving teachers are not usually the norms. Even some very fine 
teachers have found themselves occasionally using some of the misbehaviors discussed 
earlier. While the categories range from being absent to the use of poor grammar, the 
"most frequently cited misbehavior types are (1) sarcasm and putdowns, (2) being absent, 
(3) strays from subject, (4) unfair testing and, (5) boring lectures" (Kearney, et al., 1991, 
p. 321). While it usually takes a number of the above misbehaviors in order to label a 
teacher a misbehavior problem, occasionally one teacher could engage in one type of 
misbehavior to an extreme. For example, if a teacher was constantly sarcastic, critical, and 
hurtful to a student, we would consider this abusive and a form of teacher misbehavior. 

Students will fail to learn as much from a teacher who displays incompetence than 
from a teacher who is competent. Teachers' misbehaviors which represent incompetence 

Chapter Eleven - 150 

also represent basic teaching sl<ills. If a teacher does not have or use the basic teaching 
skills, the students will probably learn less. Indicative of incompetence are unclear or 
confusing lectures, apathy toward students, unfair testing, boring lectures, information 
overloads, failure to know subject matter, poor accent, poor volume, and poor grammatical 
skills. All of these are related to teaching skills and teaching effectiveness. If an instructor is 
low or below competence level in the area of basic teaching skills, then he or she will 
produce students who have learned less than other students. 

The offensive teacher may use sarcasm, putdowns, profanity, and even hurtful 
statements with her or his students. This type of teacher misbehavior teaches students a 
very poor lesson. Often students will think they can behave like the teacher. Sometimes 
students will model themselves on the offensive teacher. The offensive teacher has very 
poor communication skills and unfortunately the students are the recipients of their poor 
communication skills. Offensive teachers need to be told to "manage their mouths." 

The indolent teacher will be perceived by the students as lazy, apathetic, uncaring, 
unconcerned, and unenthusiastic. Indirectly students learn from these teachers. They learn 
they don't have to do a job well in order to get paid or have a vacation. Many students will 
model indolent teachers. 

A teacher who exhibits many characteristics of the incompetent, offensive, or an 
indolent instructor will probably have classroom problems. For example, they will have 
higher incidents of discipline problems, higher student failure, lower student affect, and 
lower student learning. 

An instructor who misbehaves on a regular basis will become known throughout the 
school system and the community. Often parents will come to see an administrator and 
request their daughter or son be removed from that teacher's class and placed in a "good" 
teacher's class. 

The consequences are far reaching for the educational system that maintains and 
supports an incompetent, offensive, indolent teacher. The old saying goes, "One bad apple 
spoils the barrel." Often the only thing students, parents, and the community remember is 
the "one bad teacher who spoiled the school." Incompetent, offensive, indolent instructors 
reflect poorly on all of us. Many good educators are often stereotyped in a negative way 
because of the misbehaviors of the few. Educational systems are often stereotyped in a 
negative way because of the misbehaviors committed by a few instructors. In summary, 
each of us and our systems have to work much harder to override the perceptions both 
students and parents have of us because of one teacher who used many of the common 
teacher misbehaviors. 

Chapter Eleven - 151 

References and Recommended Readings 

Dolin, D. J. (1995). Ain't misbehavin': A study of teacher misbehaviors, related 

communication behaviors, and student resistance. Dissertation completed at West 

Virginia University, JVlorgantown, WV. 
Doyle, W. (1986). Classroom organization and management. In M. C. Wittrock (Ed.), 

Handboola of research on teaching. (3rd. Ed.), (pp. 392-431). New York: MacMillan 
Hurt, H. T., Scott, M. D., & McCroskey, J. C. (1978). Communication in the classroom. 

Reading, MA: Addison Wesley. 
Kearney, P., Plax, T. G., Hays, E. R., Ivey, M. J. (1991). College teacher misbehaviors: 

What students don't like about what teachers say and do. Communication Quarterly, 

39, 309-324. 
McCroskey, J . C. (1998). An introduction to communication in the classroom (2"^ Ed.). 

Acton, MA: Tapestry Press. 
McPherson, M. B., Kearney, P., & Plax, T. G. (2006). College teacher misbehaviors. In, T. P. 

Mottet, V. P. Richmond, &]. C. McCroskey (Eds.), Handbook of instructional 

communication: Rhetorical and relational perspectives {pp. 213-234). Boston: Allyn 

& Bacon. 
Richmond, V. P. (1990). Communication in the classroom: Power and motivation. 

Communication Education, 39, 181-195. 
Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (1992). Power in the classroom: Communication, 

control, and concern. Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum Associates. 
Richmond, V. P., & Roach, K. D. (1992). Power in the classroom: Seminal studies. I n V. P. 

Richmond & J. C. McCroskey (Eds.), Power in the classroom: Communication, 

control, and concern, (pp. 47-66). Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum Associates. 
Stipek, D. & ' Kowalski, P. (1989). Learned helplessness in task-orienting versus 

performance-orienting testing conditions. Journal of Educational Psychology, 81, 

Wanzer, M. & McCroskey, J. C. (1996). An exploratory investigation of teacher misbehaviors 

in relationship to teacher characteristics and student impressions. Paper presented at 

the Speech Communication Association, San Diego, CA. 

Chapter Eleven - 152 


Chapter Twelve Objectives 

1. Define teacher self-concept and identify tine tinree dimensions of teaciner self- 
concept. Give an example of each type of teacher self-concept. 

2. Discuss how a teacher's self-concept develops and who has control over a teacher's 

3. Discuss the relationship between teacher self-concept and classroom outcomes. 

4. Discuss five instructional communication methods for enhancing a teacher's self- 

Have you hugged yourself lately? Teacher self-concept is paramount to effective 
teaching and teacher satisfaction. Since a teacher's self-concept is with her or him in all that 
the teacher does, it can obviously have an impact on the teacher's communication with 
others. A teacher's communication is very reflective of her or his self-concept. 

As in the chapter on student self-concept, we use the terms self-concept, 
self-esteem, self- worth, and self-image interchangeably. A teacher's self-concept is the 
teacher's total view of her or his cognitive, behavioral, and psychological capabilities as a 
teacher. It is the teacher's view of her or himself in terms of overall self-worth in the 
classroom. It is the teacher's assessment, evaluation, and valuation of her or himself in the 
classroom environment. It is the teacher's perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, and values about 
her or himself as a teacher and how others perceive her or him in the school environment. 

Day in and day out a teacher's self-concept takes a beating. Students often don't like 
or appreciate what a teacher is attempting to do for them. Administrators don't always feel 
teachers are doing their jobs well. Parents are constantly suggesting teachers are not worth 
what they are paid. And some teachers are constantly "beating up" on themselves about 
their performance, classroom outcomes, and self- worth. It is not surprising that many 
educators report lower self-concepts than people in most other professions. It is no wonder 
many teachers are leaving education and seeking other more productive, less stressful, 
positions. It is no wonder many teachers feel they are not performing as well as they did a 
few years ago. In the last ten years, teachers' views of themselves have declined 

As we review the dimensions of teacher self-concept and development of teacher 
self-concept, we should keep in mind that if our self-concept becomes too low we may not 

Chapter Twelve - 153 

be able to perform our jobs adequately, even if we are high achievers. Some low 
self-concept teachers can perform well for a while because they have a high achievement 
orientation, but eventually the lowered self-opinion may result in the achievement 
motivation factor being lowered and then the teacher is doomed. Since much of what we do 
is connected with our self-concept as a teacher, lowered teacher self-concept can impact 
other portions of our life. 

Dimensions of Teacher Self-Concept 

Teacher self-concept is a multidimensional construct. There are three primary 
dimensions. These dimensions are behavioral self, identity self, and judging self. 

Behavioral Self 

This dimension of teacher self-concept refers to the behavior of the teacher, or what 
he or she does. The behavioral self is usually concerned with some action, movement, or 
conduct. The following are examples of the behavioral self: Teachers teach, direct, grade, 
lecture, instruct, motivate, control, help, manage, tell, talk, move, gaze, run, spell, walk, 
joke, react to others' talk, write, draw, motion, watch, evaluate, design curricula, create 
objectives, gives speeches, demonstrates, and present. This is by no means an exhaustive 
list of all the behaviors by which teachers are judged or make judgments about themselves. 

I dentity Self 

This dimension of teacher self-concept refers to the identity of the teacher, a teacher 
views or sees what or who he or she js in the school system. The identity self is usually 
concerned with being identified with some category of people. The following are examples of 
the identity self: Teachers see themselves as friends, helpers, prison guards, wardens, 
managers, clowns, overpaid baby sitters, lowest persons in the system, good sports, grunts, 
high achievers, motivators, mentally slow for being in this profession, caretakers, caring 
persons, mom, dad, disciplinarian, grandmother, grandfather, instructional managers, 
pedagogical managers, and professional educators. This is by no means an exhaustive list of 
all the identities by which teachers are viewed or view themselves. 

J udging Self 

This dimension of teacher self-concept refers to the evaluations, judgments, or 
opinion's teacher's make about themselves . It is how a teacher judges or evaluates what 
they do and who they are. The following are examples of judgmental statements students 

Chapter Twelve - 154 

might make about themselves: I am a good teacher; I am a poor teacher; I am a bright 
teacher; I am a dumb teacher; I am a quicl< teacher; I am a slow teacher; I am the worst 
teacher in the school; I will never be as good as the other teachers; I am better than all 
the other teachers; I am a poor manager; I am a good manager; I feel that I never do a 
good job in the classroom, even though I try hard; I don't think I will ever make a truly 
good teacher; or I am a very prepared, caring teacher. The judging self always has some 
evaluative term or adjective attached to the teacher's description of what they do or who 
they are. These statements will tell us how a teacher truly feels about her or himself. 

If we listen to ourselves and our colleagues talking to others and talking to us, they 
will often give us hints through their communication about how they view themselves. We 
can use this information to help us adjust our communication so we confirm the positive 
feelings our colleagues have and not reinforce the negative feelings they have about 
themselves. If we generate (and our colleagues generate) too many negative statements 
about ourselves (themselves), eventually we (they) will be what they say they are. 

Development of Teacher Self-Concept 

The development of teacher self-concept is a function of our own communication 
about ourselves and the communication of others about us. We listen to others, we listen to 
ourselves, and we begin to develop a concept as to who and what we are as teachers. We 
must remember that if we are not good to ourselves, we are not going to be good to our 
students. Our communication and others' communication directly impacts how we feel about 
ourselves. Adier and Towne (1990) suggest "The self-concept is extremely subjective, being 
almost totally a product of interaction with others" (p. 44). Below are a number of factors 
which influence a teacher's self-concept development. 

Reflected Appraisal 

A reflected appraisal is also referred to as the looking-glass self which was postulated 
by Cooley (1956). The looking-glass self is founded upon the idea that each of us looks in a 
mirror and sees us as others see us. In other words, reflected appraisal or the looking-glass 
self means a teacher develops a teacher self-concept that correlates with the way they think 
others see them. For example, if society sees teachers as useful, valuable, worthwhile, and 
important then, teachers are likely to feel useful, valuable, worthwhile, and important. 
Whereas, if society views teachers as useless, less valuable, less worthwhile, and less 
important than other professions, then educators might feel the way society views them. 
This is a very valid factor which impacts teacher self-concept. Teachers' self-concepts are 

Chapter Twelve - 155 

often a product of the positive and negative verbal and nonverbal statements they have 
received throughout their teaching career. 

Beginning teachers usually are only exposed to positive verbal and nonverbal 
communication about the teaching profession. These messages are usually intentional so 
that new or novice teachers can enter the classroom with a self-confident feeling and a 
positive regard for their chosen career. However, as the new teacher remains in the system, 
they begin to hear more negative comments and fewer positives about their chosen career 
and they begin to question their chosen profession. Everyday teachers are bombarded with 
many verbal and nonverbal messages which tell them what others think of their profession. 
We are assaulted with messages from every communication domain, human and media. For 
example, we read about the "poor state of education in our nation." We hear about how 
educational administrators and teachers are being paid more but students' achievement 
scores are lower than ever. We are told by people in our environment that teaching is a 
dead end job with no rewards. Appraisals like these are the "mirrors" by which teachers 
begin to know and develop a teacher self-concept. 

It is extremely devastating to us and our self-concepts when a "significant other," 
such as a spouse, friend, another teacher, supervisor, parent, mentor, or child, whose 
opinions we respect and value, communicates evaluations to us that are less than positive 
about our profession. For example, a spouse communicates that her or his job is more 
important or more critical than the teacher's job, because they bring home more money. We 
have often seen cases of teachers pounding on the self-esteem of other teachers by 
suggesting "teachers who teach in the higher grades (6th on up) have more difficult jobs 
than teachers who teach in the lower grades (5th on down). In fact, one Kindergarten 
teacher was moved from her teaching assignment to the first grade, and another teacher in 
the same school remarked "it's about time you got promoted to a real grade." In another 
case, a high school teacher was telling a first grade teacher about his difficult teaching job 
and suggested her job was easier than his. She replied, "You don't know how difficult first 
grade is until you hold a little child in your lap who was hurt on the playground and they 
'pee' (the colorful expression she used indicated her level of irritation!) all over you." The 
high school teacher was rather stunned and admitted maybe he didn't know everything that 
went into being a first grade teacher. As teachers, we cannot allow the opinions of 
significant others to impact our jobs and our self-esteems. If we do, we will not be good to 
ourselves, in turn we will not be good to our students. 

Social Comparison 

Chapter Twelve - 156 

We have reviewed how others' messages and opinions mold and shape teacher 
self-concept. Teacher self-concept is also formed by social comparison. Social comparison is 
when we evaluate and judge how we and our profession compare with others. We typically 
decide whether we are "inferior or superior" to others by comparing ourselves to others. 

In socially comparing whether we are inferior or superior to others, we often ask 
some of the following questions: Is our profession as good as others? Is our profession as 
well- respected as some other professions? Is our profession as highly valued as other 
professions? Are we perceived as intelligent or stupid? Are we perceived as educators or 
babysitters? Are we perceived as respected persons or overpaid wardens? Are we viewed in 
a positive or negative light by others? 

Many of the above comparisons are unfair comparisons. We compare, and others 
compare us to inappropriate reference groups. For example, we will probably never be paid 
as well as some business executives. We will never be as respected as the Pope. We will 
never be perceived as positively as some more socially desirable groups. We cannot 
constantly compare ourselves to others or we won't be good in our classrooms. Comparing 
ourselves to inappropriate referent groups or persons is like attempting to compare 
ourselves to Hulk Hogan or Christie Brinkley. It's like attempting to compare us to Mel 
Gibson or Elizabeth Taylor. Often in school systems we compare ourselves with other 
schools in the same systems. We compare ourselves to the "best" and then assume we are 
"inferior" because we are not the best. Simply because we are not the "best" doesn't mean 
we are worthless. However, we are guilty as are many other professions of constantly 
comparing ourselves with inappropriate referent groups and arriving at the conclusion "we 
are no good." When we judge ourselves against unreasonable standards, we are going to 
judge ourselves as inferior. Often new teachers compare themselves with the better skilled, 
veteran teachers and conclude they can never be "as good" as the veteran teachers. 

We will also compare ourselves to others in terms of being "like others" or "different 
from" others. This is another unfair comparison. We simply cannot assume because we are 
different and not like others that we are not as good. For example, many veteran teachers 
will "pound" or "beat up" on themselves by comparing themselves to younger teachers. 
They make statements like, "when I was a younger teacher, I could be more energetic." 
This is an unfair comparison. A veteran teacher may be different from a younger teacher, 
they may be older but this doesn't mean because they are different they are poor teachers. 
Again, we cannot compare ourselves against referent groups where there is no comparison 
needed. We may be like some groups in our school and we may be different from some 
groups in our school but this doesn't mean we are better or worse. We may be like some 

Chapter Twelve - 157 

professional groups and we may be different from some professional groups but this doesn't 
mean we are better or worse. 

Past Experiences 

So far we have said that teacher self-concept develops as a function of reflected 
appraisal and social comparison. Germane to the development of teacher self-concept is our 
past experience with others. Swensen (1973) stated that "our perceptions are a function of 
our past experiences with other people; they affect the way we react to them" (p. 154). 

As teachers our perception of ourselves and our communication about ourselves is in 
large part because of our past experiences with other persons. For example, when we are 
talking about some incident at school or discussing a school happening, our spouse nods her 
or his head as we talk, we might interpret this as a polite gesture they always use when we 
are talking "school" and that they don't really care about what we are saying. Or when we 
are talking with our supervisor about a concern we have and he or she keeps saying "uh 
huh" we know from past experiences they are only half-listening. In the past, we have seen 
them use the "uh huh" phrase to give polite attention to many other people with concerns. 
If many of our past experiences with others about our profession have been apathetic, 
uncaring, unconcerned, or harsh experiences, we may begin to form a low opinion of our 
profession and ourselves. If we have not received some rewards in the past for being in the 
profession of educating students and being professional educators, then we may develop a 
low teacher self-concept. 

Environmental Factors 

Teacher self-concept can develop as function of reflected appraisal, social 
comparison, and past experiences. Environmental factors may also lend a hand in producing 
a negative or positive teacher self-image. Environmental factors are often the roles and 
status that we hold in our surroundings. For example, we are teachers, and often this word 
carries the meaning of "low status" with it. But often it carries the meaning of "high status" 
with it. For example, one teacher told us that he left teaching and moved to another career 
for eight years. During his eight years, several of the employees were in "awe" that he was 
a teacher. In fact, he overhead one employee telling another, "there goes the teacher, in a 
few months, he will be our next supervisor." Environmental factors are like the wind. They 
are constantly shifting and changing. One year teachers can have high status and respected 
roles, the next year teachers can have low status and be unrespected. We have to be able 
to maintain a healthy self-concept in surroundings that are constantly changing. 

Chapter Twelve - 158 

The next factor which impacts teacher self-concept is a relatively significant 
construct which is under the total control of the teacher. This factor is known as the "vulture 

Vultures and Vulture Statements 

According to Simon (1977), a vulture is a noun, pronounced (v'ul-cher). Vultures are 
"large birds of prey that . . . subsist chiefly or entirely on dead flesh." Simon allegorically 
suggests each person (each of us, each teacher) has a flock of "psychological vultures" 
which we allow to make circles over our heads daily and pluck, pick, or tear away at our 
self-concepts. These vultures are constantly perched overhead, waiting to swoop down and 
tear away at our already dying self-concepts. These vultures are waiting to feast on our 
self- concepts. All they have to do is to circle patiently and we will give them something to 
prey on. We are constantly making vulture statements or negative self-statements to 
ourselves about ourselves, our actions, and our profession. 

While we may be a healthy looking, productive pedagogical manager, many of us are 
carrying big vultures around on our shoulders. In fact, some of us have vultures large 
enough to consume an entire school! Our self-concepts, the opinions we have of ourselves, 
our private self- rating systems, are constantly being put down by the negative self- 
statements we make about ourselves either to others or to ourselves. We are constantly 
communicating put-downs, downers, or beating up on ourselves. Let's look at one teacher 
enter the vicious vulture cycle. 

Sandy is a healthy looking, very pleasant teacher at a school in your area. To look at 
Sandy all you would see is a confident, in control, caring teacher. She is always neat, clean, 
poised, pleasant, and ready to go into her classroom. She is liked and respected by her 
students, peers, and administers. However, above Sandy are several large, well-fed vultures 
waiting to swoop down on her self-concept. These vultures sense and smell some 
weaknesses or sense of insecurity in Sandy that drives them to rip, tear, shred, slash, 
lacerate, or pull apart her teacher self-concept. The following are characteristic statements 
that vultures wait to hear so they can attack: 

■ Oh boy, do I look awful today, I look like I've been up all night. 

■ Oh, this is going to be an awful day. 

■ I've already messed up. I left my students' graded exams at home. 

■ Boy, I should never have gotten out of bed this morning. 

■ Gee whiz. I did an awful job of teaching that unit. 

■ Why can't I do certain things as well as Mr. Smith next door? 

Chapter Twelve - 159 

Why am I always so dumb? 

I can't believe I'm a teacher, why I have the mentality of a worm. 

I don't know why I ever thought I could teach. 

I can't get anything right. 

Good grief, what am I doing here? Why didn't I select any easy job? 

I am going nowhere, doing nothing, I am a failure at teaching. 

In fact, I am a failure in most things I attempt. 

Teachers who use many of the put-downs listed above, or similar put-downs, are 
going to have big, fat, healthy vultures perched on their shoulders. I n fact their vultures will 
be so fat, they can barely move through the school hallways. Most teachers have used 
vulture statements on occasions. Take a few minutes and list some of the vulture 
statements you have said to yourself or another teacher about yourself. 

Many teachers and other persons ask, where do vultures come from? Simon 
responds with "They come from only one place. They grow out of other people's criticisms, 
from the negative responses to what we do and say, and the way we act" (p. 48-49). It is a 
shame but people tend to selectively remember the negative messages others give them, 
rather than the positive ones. As they add up the negative, they find there is more bad in 
themselves than good. The more we beat up or tear down ourselves as teachers, the more 
likely we are to destroy our teacher self-concept. We will eventually have a negative, rather 
than a positive, teacher self-concept. Of course if we are feeding vultures in other facets of 
our lives, we may very well be driving ourselves into a never ending, never winning cycle of 
battling vultures at every step in our lives. If we are beating up on ourselves for being poor 
parents, poor children, poor role models, poor shoppers, poor money managers, poor 
homemakers, poor drivers, poor house cleaners, and poor human beings then we might 
never have a reasonably good picture of ourselves. 

It is no wonder that many teachers are afflicted with the vicious vulture syndrome. 
They are constantly being put-down, hearing negative criticism, and then putting 
themselves down. Too much of the above, too often will eventually lead to self-destruction. 
There are several things teachers can do to ward vultures off or eliminate vultures. First, we 
need to feel better about ourselves. If we occasionally stop and think about or write down a 
few good things about ourselves, we are plucking the vulture's feathers. Second, start 
reinforcing the good in your fellow teachers and in your students. While it sounds corny, the 
better you make another feel, the better you will feel. Stop putting others down and you will 
not only feel better but you will be plucking away at your vulture's feathers. Third, "you 

Chapter Twelve - 160 

pluck feathers every time you block a self- put- down and start thinking positively" (p. 40). 
Fourth, "you pluck feathers when you learn to turn your head around and use the force of 
the old, negative way of thinking about yourself to run over self- put-downs and work at 
making positive points" (p. 42). In conclusion, each of us needs a can of "vulture off" 
repellent. If we can pluck the vulture's feathers, one by one, then we may be able to retain 
a healthy teacher self-concept. It we cannot pluck the vulture feathers, one by one, then we 
may never have a healthy teacher self-concept. 

Those of us who keep our vultures under control and underfed have what we call 
"anorexic vultures." If we have anorexic vultures, then we are likely to have a healthy 
teacher self-concept. If we have "overfed, fat, obese vultures," then we are likely to have 
an unhealthy teacher self-concept. Our goal then must be to keep the vultures off our 
shoulders and out of instructional environments. If we can begin to feel good in one facet of 
our life, we might begin to be able to manage the other facets in our lives that cause us to 
have fat vultures. The old rule applies here, "one day at a time" in order to improve our 
self-concepts. Each day ask yourself, "How fat or how skinny is my vulture?" If it is fat, 
reduce it before you go to school. If it is skinny, don't feed it when you get to school. Figure 
13.1 demonstrates the characteristics of teachers with "fat vultures" or poor self-concepts 
versus teachers with "anorexic vultures" or healthy self-concepts. 


Influences students positively Influences students negatively 

Projects a positive, confident view of one's Projects a negative self-image 

Positive influence on student's learning Negative influence on student's learning 

Composed and in control Nervous, anxious, timid, or out of control 

Fewer misbehavior problems More misbehavior problems 

Fewer student misbehavior problems More student misbehavior problems 

More effective communicators I neffective communicators 

Puts students at ease Makes students tense and anxious 

More productive Less productive 

Can say "no" to students without backlash Afraid to say "no" because of student 

response or they will lose their popularity 

with students 
Figure 13.1 Characteristics of Teachers With Healthy or Unhealthy Self-Concepts 

Chapter Twelve - 161 

In conclusion, teachers with big, fat, healthy vultures may have a lower teacher 
self-concept than teachers with skinny, anorexic vultures. Communication with others and 
ourselves is the key to a healthier, stronger teacher self-concept. 

Strategies for I ncreasing Teacher Self-Concept 

One of the methods for improving self-concept is to use a combination of cognitive 
restructuring and coping statements. We need to cognitively restructure or alter the way we 
think of ourselves. We literally need to think different thoughts when we begin to think 
negative thoughts. At the same time we should make mental statements to ourselves about 
how well we have done, not how poorly we have done. For example, instead of saying "I 
sure did a lousy job teaching that unit," we should say " I did the best I could with the unit; 
next time I will know how to improve the unit and teach it better." In other words, as soon 
as the vulture begins to swoop to pluck at our self-esteem, we swat it away by using 
positive self-statements. 

Another method for improving self-concept is to take a "walk down memory lane." 
We should sit down, think, and then write about the positive experiences we have had in 
our educational experiences. Remember, we dwell on the negative too much. We are very 
good at punishing ourselves. Here we are suggesting that we dwell on the positive. 
Occasionally when working with teachers we ask them (anonymously, of course) to write 
about a positive classroom experience in their careers that made them feel good about 
being a teacher. Here are a few of their responses: 

One first grade teacher wrote: A six-year-old boy in my class that had not 
talked the whole year in Kindergarten and who refused to interact with others 
at play time really turned around in my class. While I can't take full credit 
because I think he matured some through the year, I did apply what I had 
learned in our Communication Program. It worked. He became one of the 
most well-liked boys in the class. The first time he hugged me brought a tear 
to my eye. He, in fact, talked a great deal the last quarter of the year! 

An adult educator wrote: I worked for two years to convince a waitress I knew that 
she had the potential to attend and succeed at college. She finally started classes 
two years ago. She has been an "A" student, loves bookkeeping. Recently she was 
able to leave her low paying waitress job for a bookkeeper's job with a credit union. 
Her new position includes good pay, benefits, and potential promotion. 

Chapter Twelve - 162 

A substitute teacher wrote: A group of special problem children remembers who I am 
and never fail to say hello, or give me a hug when I am in their school. Their regular 
teacher told me that this was unusual. She said, "These kids usually don't remember 
who the substitute is." 

Another teacher wrote: A few years ago I saw a lady in a local store. She said, "Mrs. 
Jones, you probably don't remember me, but you had my daughter several years 
ago. Her name was Jane." Her mother went on to say that I had been one of her 
favorite teachers and whenever anyone mentioned teachers, Jane would give an 
impressive description of her favorite teacher. It was a pleasure to be considered 
'the best teacher J ane had ever had.' 

Occasionally, generate a list of words that you would use to describe yourself as a 
teacher. Attempt to use positive words that truly describe you and your teaching style. If 
you cannot generate any positive words, then you need to either work on your self-esteem 
or your teaching style. You decide which needs the work. 

Teachers should take pride in degrees earned, awards, and any honors bestowed 
upon them. We should display our degrees, awards, and honors in our classroom. Often the 
students and parents are not aware of the honors and degrees we have received. We should 
display certificates from any education- related workshops we have attended or coordinated. 
Other professionals display their honors, so should we. 

You might try to be less harsh on yourself when you have made a mistake. Mistakes 
occur. Some are more critical than others. Look at your error, evaluate its potential harm, 
correct it, and then move onto other things. Often we blow our own errors out of proportion, 
letting them blur and impact our future actions and behaviors. Unless the mistake is 
catastrophic or not correctable, we should correct it the best way possible and move on. If 
correcting a mistake means apologizing to a student or colleague, then do it. They'll know 
you made a mistake and never corrected it if you don't correct it. And they may remember 
you and the mistake for the rest of their lives. 

We should make an effort to reduce negative self-statements in other areas of our 
lives. Most of us are critical and unforgiving of our character flaws as educators as it is, we 
don't need to be constantly feeding ourselves negative self-statements about other areas. 
For example, if you are overweight, there is no reason to constantly remind yourself 
(particularly in front of others) that you are overweight. You know it and they can see it. 

Chapter Twelve - 163 

If we can develop a sense of humor about some of our problem areas, then we might 
be able to cope more effectively. Often a sense of humor will soften or lessen the vulture 
impact on our self-concept. We are not suggesting a dark or black sense of humor that 
feeds the vulture, we are simply suggesting having a sense of humor about some of your 
daily encounters. Occasionally, laughing something off will help you recuperate or keep the 
vultures from going into a feeding frenzy. 

Lastly, if we establish a supportive, positive, highly affective classroom environment 
for our students, then our self-images will be stronger and more secure. As the classroom 
goes, so does our self-esteem. If the class goes well, so does our self-esteem. If the class 
goes poorly, so does our self-esteem. We are a reflection of our students. Only the most 
insensitive teacher is not a reflection of her or his students. Of course, this suggestion is 
easy to make, but difficult to implement. It takes teacher planning, care, good instructional 
approaches, sensitivity, and effective communication to have a supportive classroom 

References and Recommended Readings 

Adier, R. B., & Towne, N. (1990). Looking out, Looking in. (6th Ed.). Chapter 2, Forth 

Worth, TX: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. 
AdIer, R. B., Rosenfeld, L. B., & Towne, N. (1992). Interplay: The process of interpersonal 

communication. (5th Ed.). Chapter 2. Forth Worth, TX: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. 
Canter, L., & Canter, M. (1994). The high performing teacher: Avoiding burnout and 

increasing your motivation. Santa Monica, CA: Lee Canter and Associates. 
Cooley, C. H. (1956). Human nature and social order. Glencoe, IL: The Free Press. 
Laing, R. D. (1962). The self and others. Chicago: Ouadrangle Press. 
McCroskey, J. C. (1998). An introduction to communication in the classroom (2"'^ Ed.). 

Acton, MA: Tapestry Press. 
McCroskey, J . C, Richmond, V. P., & Stewart, R. A. (1986). One on one: The foundations of 

interpersonal communication. Englewood Cliffs, NJ : Prentice Hall. 
McCroskey, J. C, & Richmond, V. P. (1996). Fundamentals of human communication: An 

interpersonal perspective. Prospect Heights, ILL: Waveland Press. 
Mead, G. H. (1934). Mind, self and society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 
Peck, H. G., Jr. (1996). Reaction paper for Counseling 340. Paper completed for Counseling 

340 at West Virginia University. 
Richmond, V. P. (1990). Communication in the classroom: Power and motivation. 

Communication Education, 39, 181-195. 

Chapter Twelve - 164 

Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (Eds.). (1992). Power in the classroom: 

Communication, control, and concern. Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum. 
Schutz, W. (1958). FIRO: Fundamental interpersonal relations orientation. New York: Holt, 

Rinehart & Winston. 
Schutz, W. (1966). The interpersonal underworld. Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior 

Simon, S. B. (1977). Vulture: A modern allegory on the art of putting oneself down. Niles, 

I L: Argus Communications. 
Swensen, Jr., Clifford H. (1973). Introduction to interpersonal relations. Glenview, I L: Scott, 

Foresman & Company. 

Chapter Twelve - 165 


Chapter Thirteen Objectives 

1. Define and discuss four of tine components Teaciner Communication Style (TCS) . 

2. Explain the importance of teacher clarity and the basic approaches one can take to 
improve clarity in the classroom. 

3. Define "teacher immediacy" and how one can be more immediate in the classroom 
using a range of nonverbal behaviors. 

4. Understand the importance of humor in the classroom. 

Good teachers make good students. Good students make good teachers. Every 
teacher has a style of communicating. A teacher cannot not have a style of communicating. 
Even when a teacher is attempting not to communicate, there is a link to communication 
and communicator style. This chapter will explore the concept of communicator style, types 
of communicator styles, teacher communication style, and educational outcomes. 

Communicator Style Concept 

Norton provided the theoretical framework and foundation for the construct of 
communicator style. He said, "style in the context of interpersonal communication is the 
way one communicates" (p. 47). He continued to define communicator style "as the way 
one verbally, nonverbally, and paraverbally interacts to signal how literal meaning should be 
taken, interpreted, filtered, or understood" (p. 58). He suggested communicator style is 
marked by the following characteristics: It is observable, multifaceted, multi collinear, and 
variable, but sufficiently patterned. Communicator style is visible. It is visible, apparent, and 
observable. Norton states: 

If one is said to have an animated style of communicating, then it is expected 
that certain kinds of liveliness can be observed that might be operationalized 
as a function of frequency of gestures, body movement, and actively 
expressive eye and facial behavior, (p. 47) 

Every person, every student, every teacher has an observable style of communicating. One 
teacher might be more open and attentive than another teacher. While another teacher 

Chapter Thirteen - 166 

might be more responsive and immediate tinan her or inis close colleagues. While some 
styles have more distinctive, more visible characteristics than others, all communicator 
styles are observable. 

Communicator style is multi faceted. Each person does not necessarily have one 
style, but aspects of many styles. A person can simultaneously communicate with a variety 
of complimentary communicator styles. For example, a teacher might simultaneously 
communicate in a friendly, attentive, and relaxed style throughout a class period. This is not 
to suggest that the teacher is moody or unpredictable. It simply says that each of us has a 
communicator style with many facets and we can communicate with others using a 
combination of communicator styles. 

Communicator style is multi collinear. Norton states "this means that many style 
variables are not independent from each other; variance is shared" (p. 48). For example, to 
suggest that a teacher is dominant and dramatic suggests that the essential elements in the 
dominant style overlap with the essential elements of the dramatic style. If the dominant 
style requires more talk time and the dramatic style requires overstating, joking, and stories 
that heighten interest, then it is easy to see that they might be the same. However, a 
teacher can be dramatic without being dominant and vice versa. Norton concludes by 
stating that: 

The combination of styles can have a synergistic impact. A person with a 
dominant, relaxed style exudes confidence. A person with a nondominant, 
nonrelaxed style might signal insecurity. Any blend of styles can combine 
synergistically to signal a unique metamessage. The communicator has an 
incredibly high number of stylistic combinations that can give form to literal 
meaning, (pps. 48-49) 

This synergistic blend of communicator styles would suggest that teachers can send a 
strong communication message to their students. In addition, the right combination of 
communicator styles could be very effective in communicating content and affect to 

Lastly, communicator style is variable, but sufficiently patterned. While each person 
probably has a primary communicator style, he or she can, on occasion, deviate from his or 
her own primary communicator style. Norton states, "a style profile is not an absolute 
portrayal of the way a person communicates" (p. 49). Situational demands might influence 
a person to alter her or his primary communicator style. Norton concludes by stating, "In 

Chapter Thirteen - 167 

short, most style profiles are variable, but sufficiently patterned to create resistant 
expectations" (p. 50). 

In conclusion, communicator style is observable, multifaceted, multi collinear, and 
variable, but sufficiently patterned. The more a student knows and communicates with a 
teacher, the more likely the student will be able to predict the primary communicator styles 
of that teacher. The more a student is acquainted and communicates with a teacher, the 
more likely the student will be able to detect and understand deviations in the teacher's 
communicator style. A teacher's recurring communicator style is more likely to 
communicate expectations than a teacher's immediate, current style. A teacher's 
communicator style may be interpreted differently by different students. Lastly, teachers 
who seem to have no consistent, primary communicator style may be perceived by students 
as moody and unpredictable. For example, while many comedians attempt to be flexible, 
adaptable, and different, if you observe closely they still have a primary communicator style 
which varies according to the audience, situation, and content. This leads us to a discussion 
of the subconstructs, dimensions, facets, factors, or types of communicator style. Many of 
the descriptions below are based on the originals works of Norton. 

Types of Communicator Styles 

There are nine primary types of communicator style. We will discuss the style types 
and their corresponding communication behaviors and characterizations below. 

Dominant Style 

The dominant communicator style is reflected by the verbal and nonverbal 
components which signal a communicator is "in charge" or dominant. For example, a person 
using a dominant communicator style speaks very frequently, comes on strong, dominates 
informal and formal conversations, takes charge of conversations, directs conversations, 
exhibits dominant nonverbal behaviors such as vocally loud, speaking faster, little 
hesitating, dominant movements and gestures, and controlling eye contact. The person who 
uses a dominant communicator style is viewed by others as in control, competent, 
confident, self-assured, forceful, and competitive. 

Dramatic Style 

The dramatic communicator style is reflected by the verbal and nonverbal 
components which signal a communicator is vivid, striking, attempting to emphasize a 
point, or be dramatic. For example, a person using a dramatic communicator style has very 

Chapter Thirteen - 168 

picturesque speech; verbally or nonverbally exaggerates to emphasize a point; acts out, 
tells jokes, anecdotes, or stories; highlights, stresses, and emphasizes points quite 
frequently. They may also overstate; understate; tell fantasies; use metaphors, allegories, 
sarcasm, or satire; and regularly use nonverbal behaviors which assist in the dramatization. 
The person who uses a dramatic style is viewed by others as memorable, visible, 
observable, attractive, and popular. However, many persons can only use this intensely 
vivid style on occasion. If used often, it may become wearing not only on the listener but on 
the speaker. 

Contentious Style 

The contentious style is reflected by the verbal and nonverbal components which 
signal a communicator is argumentative. For example, a person using a contentious style 
has an argumentative tone, has a difficult time stopping her or himself from arguing, enjoys 
arguing, often shows others proof to support their argument, insists upon preciseness from 
others in arguments, is quick to challenge others, and is generally quarrelsome. The person 
who uses a contentious style might be perceived in two diverse ways. They may be viewed 
as competent and confident like the dominant style or they may be viewed as unpleasant, 
rude, and aggressive. If used often, the contentious style might alienate individuals in the 
communicator's immediate surroundings. 

Animated Style 

The animated style is reflected by the verbal and nonverbal components which signal 
a communicator is lively, spirited, or outgoing. For example, a person using an animated 
style is very nonverbally and verbally expressive, uses many expansive gestures, and uses 
many facial expressions, gestures, body movements, and vocal variety. Their emotional 
state is generally known by those in their immediate surroundings, and they are highly 
expressive communicators. They may be viewed as outgoing, lively, memorable, excitable, 
and distinctive. People generally enjoy being around and communicating with an animated 
person. However, even animation can be taken to the extreme. If a person is animated at 
all times, they may be perceived by others as jumpy, emotionally immature, easily excited, 
and easily aroused. 

Impression Leaving Style 

This style variable refers to "whether a person is remembered because of the 
communicative stimuli he or she projects" (Norton, 1983, p. 68). Impression leaving 

Chapter Thirteen - 169 

depends on the source communicating cues tinat leave an impression and tine receiver 
receiving and processing tine cues tinat leave an impression. If either fails to adequately 
perform her or his function, then impression leaving may be nonexistent. Impression 
leaving is when a person's speech or style of presenting has left an impression on another, 
or the way a person presents her or himself leaves an impression on others. People whose 
communication activity leaves an impression have been memorable in some way. Of course, 
most persons want to leave a positive impression on others. 

Relaxed Style 

The relaxed style is reflected by the verbal and nonverbal components which signal a 
communicator is calm, cool, and collected. For example, a person using a relaxed style is 
very nonverbally and verbally relaxed, controls nervous mannerisms, calm while speaking 
both orally and physically, and is generally viewed as a relaxed, calm, communicator. These 
persons are free from nervous mannerisms, habits, or behaviors. Their voice is calm, 
anxiety free and non anxious. Persons who use a relaxed style of communicating are 
perceived to be calm, competent, easy going, confident, and comfortable with themselves 
and the communication situation. 

Attentive Style 

The attentive style is reflected by the verbal and nonverbal components which signal 
a communicator is listening, being attentive, and is attending to or concentrating on the 
communication situation at hand. For example, an attentive person can repeat back what 
another has said, be empathetic with listeners, listen very carefully, appear as if they are 
listening, and react in such a way that it is clear they were listening intently and earnestly. 
Persons who use an attentive style of communicating are perceived to be listener-oriented, 
caring, effective communicators, empathetic, and good. 

Open Style 

The open style is reflected by the verbal and nonverbal components which signal a 
communicator is open, revealing, and honest. For example, people using an open style are 
very nonverbally and verbally open. They express emotions, attitudes, and feelings quite 
frequently. They often reveal personal, perhaps intimate things about themselves to others. 
It seems that the open style, like the contentious style, is a double-edged sword. Persons 
with an open communicator style may be viewed as highly self-disclosive and revealing, 
uninhibited, unsecretive, unreserved, and perhaps conversational. On the other hand, they 

Chapter Thirteen - 170 

could also be considered as too revealing, too open, too personal, too intimate, too 
outspoken, too frank, and unreserved. 

Friendly Style 

The friendly style is reflected by the verbal and nonverbal components which signal a 
communicator is outgoing, likes communication, likes her or his audience, is at ease with 
the audience, and is fond of and friendly with the audience. For example, a person using a 
friendly style is very nonverbally and verbally friendly: they smile a lot; laugh; show 
affection for others; show encouragement and support for others; express admiration for 
others; use others' first names; acknowledge others' verbal and nonverbal contributions; 
and are generally positive toward others. Persons with a friendly communicator style are 
usually perceived as sociable and outgoing, and are well-liked and well-received by others. 

Precise Style 

The precise style is reflected by the verbal and nonverbal components which signal a 
communicator is careful, directed, focused, and precise in their presentation. For example, a 
person using a precise style is very nonverbally and verbally directed, unambiguous, clear, 
focused, and pointed, often using nonverbal cues to emphasize or highlight certain valuable 
points in her or his communication. 

It is clear from the work on communicator styles that style influences how others see 
the communicator. It is evident that one's style influences how others react to us. It is 
evident that style may determine whether a receiver reacts negatively or positively toward a 
source. And, it is evident that communicator style could have far reaching implications for 
teachers in the classroom. Every teacher has a primary communicator style with recurring 
other styles that he or she can use effectively, ineffectively, appropriately, or 
inappropriately. The next section reviews what we mean by teacher communication style 
and the primary components of an effective teacher communication style. This discussion is 
based upon the original work of Norton's in the communicator style arena. 

Teacher Communication Style 

The definition of teacher communication style is based upon and derived from the 
communicator style construct. Teacher Communication Style (TCS) is ttie teactier's ability to 
verbally and nonverbally communicate effectively and affectively with the learner so that 
the learner's opportunity for optimal academic achievement is enhanced and their behavior 
is managed. Based upon the research by Norton in educational environments, we have 

Chapter Thirteen -171 

come to the conclusion that six of the communicator style components are essential to 
effective and affective teacher communication style. The six communication style 
components which comprise the teachers' communication style construct are: the friendly, 
precise, attentive, lively and animated, relaxed, and dramatic styles. Below is a discussion 
of each based upon educational situations. 

The friendly component of teacher communication style assumes that the teacher is 
friendly, outgoing, and sociable with the students. It also suggests the teacher confirms, 
supports, and encourages students in positive ways. The teacher who is friendly talks with 
and interacts with the students rather than teaching at or talking at the students. 

The precise component of teacher communication style assumes that the teacher is 
precise, directed, and guiding as to the content the students should or should not know. It 
also suggests the teacher instructs in an unambiguous, precise style. Their communication 
is precise, orderly, coordinated, and to the point. These teachers are very good at 
explaining content, giving content, using examples to assist in their teaching, and being in 
control of their subject matter. 

The attentive component of teacher communication style assumes that the teacher 
is attentive, listener-oriented, and focused. The attentive teacher is able to convey to the 
student that he or she is being listened to and what he or she says is being concentrated 
upon or focused upon by the teacher. In fact, the teacher demonstrates this by 
incorporating students' remarks and comments into the presentations and lectures. The 
attentive teacher is alert, actively listening, and actively absorbing what students have to 

The lively, animated component of teacher communication style assumes that the 
teacher is lively, spirited, and enthusiastic both verbally and nonverbally. The teacher's 
nonverbal and verbal behaviors indicate he or she is actively involved in the art of teaching. 
Lively, animated teachers are more likely to be remembered by their students than 
nonlively, unanimated teachers. Lively, animated teachers are also more likely to visibly 
expend energy and movement to keep their students' attention when explaining content. 
These teachers are saying, "listen up and attend to this subject matter." 

The relaxed component of teacher communication style assumes that the teacher is 
calm, in control, and collected in her or his communication behaviors. This teacher is not 
hindered by nervous mannerisms, habits, or movements. They are seen by their students as 
in control, coordinated, competent, and confident. 

The dramatic component of teacher communication style assumes that the teacher 
is occasionally outlandish and communicates for heightened effect. They often overstate. 

Chapter Thirteen - 172 

understate, or alter the literal meaning of content for heightened student awareness and 
attention. In addition, this teacher may use overstatement, understatement, wild 
comparisons, outlandish stories, metaphors, objects, pictures, movements, anecdotes, 
puns, jokes, sarcasm, and satire to secure students' attention. 

It is important to note that while each teacher may exhibit a primary teacher 
communication style, a teacher's style can change based upon the situation and the 
audience. All of the above style variables are positively related to positive classroom 
outcomes, positive communication outcomes, and teacher effectiveness. While the dramatic 
style may only be used occasionally, if used in a timely fashion, it can be just as effective, if 
not more so than some of the other teacher communication styles, at making a point. 

A good or effective teacher who uses teacher communication style effectively and 
affectively can impact the classroom in a variety of positive ways. A mixed or moody 
teacher can negatively impact the classroom in a variety of ways, and a poor teacher, one 
who doesn't employ effective teacher communication style components, can impact the 
classroom in negative ways. A teacher with good teacher communication style has a positive 
impact on students' cognitive and affective learning, has fewer student discipline problems, 
has students with higher self-concepts, has an increase in the amount of student feedback 
and honesty of feedback. The student/teacher relationship is more positive, the 
student/student relationship is more positive, and teacher satisfaction and self-concept 
increases as opposed to the mixed or poor teacher. The mixed or moody teacher has a 
negative impact on all student/teacher relationship variables and learning. Because of the 
unpredictable style of the teacher, the students become learned helpless and very little 
learning or communication takes places in the classroom. The poor teacher might have a 
moderate increase in students' cognitive learning; the student learns in spite of the 
teacher's, poor, dull style, but otherwise the impact is negative on all student/teacher and 
learning variables. 

To summarize, the six primary components of teacher communication style are 
rarely observed in isolation. In other words, the teacher's communication styles are 
inextricably related and are often used simultaneously. An effective teacher can "effectively 
communicate" with her or his students by using a variety of the teacher communication 
styles without being perceived by their students as moody or unpredictable. Every teacher 
manifests some degree of friendliness versus unfriendliness, preciseness versus 
non-preciseness, attentiveness versus non-attentiveness, liveliness versus non-liveliness, 
calmness versus agitation, and dramatic versus non-dramatic. Each teacher must learn 
which teacher communication style to use in which instructional situation. Teachers who do 

Chapter Thirteen - 173 

not use the appropriate teacher communication styles are ineffective teachers. Norton 
suggests this conclusion by stating, "ineffective teachers are oblivious to the impact of style 
or do not know how to make the style variables work for them" (p. 241). Effective teachers 
are friendly, precise, attentive, lively, relaxed, and dramatic. Whereas, ineffective teachers 
are unfriendly, imprecise, inattentive, unlively, agitated, and undramatic. In conclusion, 
teacher communication style is essential to positive instruction, positive communication 
between teacher and student, and positive communication between students. Teachers who 
do not possess effective teacher communication styles may be perceived as ineffective 
(perhaps even misbehaving) teachers. 

Teacher Communicator Behaviors That Build Affect 

A number of communicative behaviors have been shown to actually build affect in 
the classroom. This section is going to examine three specific sets of behaviors that have 
been directly linked to building affect in the classroom: clarity, immediacy, and humor. 

Teacher Clarity 

We all remember times when our teachers were nonsensical when they were 
teaching during class. Imagine sitting in a classroom when a teacher throws out these two 
phrases: "tintintibulation of the metallic cylinders" and "exuberance on the celestial sphere." 
While these two phrases may seem a little daunting at first, the actual meanings are quite 
simplistic. The first phrase can commonly be said as "jingle bells", and the second phrase is 
"Joy to the World." These two common Christmas carols can serve as a good example of 
the problem of teacher clarity. The first two phrases, although correct, are neither 
meaningful nor clear to your average person. Instead, the use of the second two phrases is 
obviously clearer. Often teachers get so caught up in "teaching jargon" that the meaning of 
a lesson is lost on its students. We've all experienced teachers that are so jargon laden that 
understanding them is very difficult. We as teachers, need to truly focus more of our energy 
on making sure that our students are able to understand us in the classroom. In this 
section, we will explore what teacher clarity actually is and some ways that we as teachers 
can be more aware of clarity problems. 

So, what is teacher clarity?! While most of us immediately conjure images in our 
heads of what a clear teacher actually is, the literature on the subject isn't quite as crystal 
clear. First, a clear conceptualization of what the term "clarity" means is important. 
Eisenberg (1984) discussed the term clarity in terms of organizational communication when 
he wrote: 

Chapter Thirteen - 174 

Clarity ... is a relational variable which arises through a combination of 
source, message and receiver factors.... In trying to be clear, individuals take 
into account the possible interpretive contexts which may be brought to bear 
on the message by the receiver and attempt to narrow the possible 
interpretations. Clarity, then, is a continuum which reflects the degree to 
which a source has narrowed the possible interpretations of a message and 
succeeded in achieving a correspondence between his or her intentions and 
the interpretation of the receiver, (pp. 29-30) 

In essence, a person who has achieved clarity has limited the possible number of 
interpretations that could be made for what he or she communicated. We've all experienced 
periods in our life when we have been misunderstood or have misunderstood someone 
because of a lack of clarity in the communicated message. Civikly (1992) identified five 
behaviors that students saw as separating the most clear teachers from the least clear 
teachers: (a) Gives the student individual help; (b) Explains something and then stops so 
students can think about it; (c) Explains the work to be done and how to do it; (d) Repeats 
questions and explanations if students don't understand them; and (e) Asks students before 
they start to work if they know what to do and how to do it. While each of these five 
behaviors aid in clarity, each of these concepts are affect related as well. Taking the time to 
slow down and be clear is an easy way for a teacher to demonstrate that he or she cares 
about her or his students. Lowman (1984) summed up the issue of clarity in the classroom 
when he wrote, "Outstanding teaching is characterized by stimulation of emotions 
associated with intellectual activity: the excitement of considering ideas, understanding 
abstract concepts and seeing their relevance to one's life, and participating in the process of 
discovery" (p. 12). 

Chesebro (2002) broke communication clarity in the classroom down into two major 
categories of clarity: verbal and structural. Verbal clarity is a teacher's ability to lecture in a 
fluent manner (few verbal surrogates like "uhs" and "umms"), clearly explain course 
content, and use appropriate and meaningful illustrations to help students further 
understand the content. One of the authors of this text had a professor in college who 
actually said the verbal surrogates "uhh" and "umm" 167 times in a 30 minute period (as 
counted by three students in the class). The students in the professor's class had been 
driven crazy the point where they started keeping track of her verbal surrogates in a game 
like fashion. One day they took bets. 

Chapter Thirteen - 175 

Structural clarity relates to the teacher's ability to maintain and inform her or his 
students about the structure of lesson before, during, and after the lesson. In reality, 
structural clarity is closely related to the simple speech structure you probably learned in 
your first writing or public speaking class. A good lecture has all of the components of a 
good speech or paper. Teachers need to preview what will be learned during that class 
period. Teachers need to organize the material in a manner that makes sense and does not 
seem to jump around a lot. When switching topics during a lecture, a teacher needs to 
make sure that he or she clearly transitions from one topic to the next to avoid leaving any 
students behind. When the lecture is over, the teacher needs to go back over the lecture 
and hit the highlights again to reiterate what has happened during the lecture. One idea to 
help with overall structural clarity is to provide students with skeletal outlines of a lecture. 
This allows students to stay on top of where the teacher is located in the lecture notes and 
know where the lecture is going. And trust us, if a teacher by chance skips a section on your 
outline, students will be right there to point it out. Preiss and Gayle (2006) found that 
structural clarity increased learning across all instructional contexts. 

The last part of structural clarity involves the use of visual aids. Students will take 
more away from a lecture when they are able to both see and hear content. This does not 
mean that teachers should go overboard and turn every lecture into a computer slide 
presentation, but if you are talking about the various sections of the human brain, students 
will remember more of your presentation if they can see either a model of a brain or a real 

Teacher Immediacy 

Mehrabian's (1971) original concept of immediacy examined the perceived 
psychological or physical closeness between two people. Though immediacy is strictly a 
perception concept, it has been shown to be very important in the learning environment. 
Numerous research studies have shown that a student's perception of her or his teacher's 
immediacy in the classroom has an impact on all three of Bloom's knowledge levels: 
cognitive, affective, and psychomotor (Comstock, Rowell, & Bowers, 1995). In a study 
conducted by Richmond, Gorham, and McCroskey (1987), it was found that "moderate 
immediacy is necessary for cognitive learning and low immediacy may suppress such 
learning. However, high immediacy may not increase cognitive learning over that generated 
by moderate immediacy" (p. 587). Overall, a teacher's ability to be immediate with her or 
his students has been shown to greatly impact the learning environment. 

Chapter Thirteen - 176 

We have all had teachers that were lively and we just felt connected with while in 
their classrooms. Maybe it was their animated style or the way that they knew everyone's 
name in the classroom. Somehow we just felt psychologically and/or physically closer to 
these teachers than to our other teachers. These amazing teachers had developed a form of 
immediacy that our other teachers were unable to produce. 

Immediacy can come in one of two basic forms: verbal and nonverbal. While a lot of 
research has shown the benefits of both verbal and nonverbal immediacy, Richmond and 
McCroskey (2000) believe that nonverbal immediacy is by far more important in a learning 
situation. Verbal immediacy behaviors, in part, include behaviors like using a student's 
name in class; using inclusive language like "we" and "us", instead of exclusive language 
like "you" and "them", and clarity. Nonverbal immediacy behaviors, like Comstock, Rowell, 
Bowers (1995) suggested, can be seen in all aspects of nonverbal communication. 

Proxemics (physical distance). Immediate teachers have been shown to decrease 
the physical distance between themselves and their students. Immediate teachers will avoid 
having barriers between themselves and their students such as desks and podiums. 
Immediate teachers will also move in and around their students while teaching. 

Haptics (piiysical toucii). Immediate teachers have been shown to use appropriate 
touch around their students. A slight pat on the shoulder or upper back can be a sign of 
immediacy for most students. Teachers must be careful when they are touching students for 
fear of sexual harassment allegations. Before touching any student, think of the benefits 
and possible costs, and then touch with common sense. 

Vocalics (vocal variation and vocal expressiveness). Immediate teachers are 
teachers who use a variety of vocal ranges. The opposite of vocal variety is the infamous 
monotone teacher whose very voice can put anyone to sleep. This rather unpopular teacher 
persona has been perfected by Ben Stein the law professor turned actor (Ferris Buller's Day 
off Si The Wonder Years) and game show host {Win Ben Stein's Money). To be immediate, 
teachers should use a range of vocal behaviors that make the lecture varied and more 
pleasant to listen to during class. At the same time, being overly or constantly vocally 
animated is also non-immediate. Teachers should attempt to find a verbal style that is 
pleasant and effective. 

Kinesics (facial animation, open postures, gestural activity, and body relaxation). 
Immediate teachers have been consistently found to have very specific kinesic patterns. 
Immediate teachers have faces that are animated and fun to watch while speaking - think 
of Robin Williams. They also do not cross their arms in front of them or place barriers 
between themselves and their students. This open body orientation allows the students to 

Chapter Thirteen - 177 

connect with them on a deeper level. Immediate teachers also use more gestures than non- 
immediate teachers. Non-immediate teachers tend to stand very stiff and do not move very 
much. Immediate teachers use appropriate gestures as a way to emphasize points and 
demonstrate what they are saying during class. Lastly, immediate teachers are more 
relaxed and in control of a teaching situation. One of the greatest and most immediate 
teachers/speakers is Tony Robbins. When people watch Tony Robbins speak they are drawn 
to him because of his larger than life size (He is 6'6"), facial animation, open posture, 
gestural activity, and relaxed body orientation. The opposite of Tony Robbins is former Vice 
President Al Gore. One of Al Gore's biggest problems when running for vice president and 
then for president was his lack of the attributes that makes teachers and speakers like Tony 
Robbins so popular. Al Gore does not have facial animation. He always had a closed posture, 
rarely gestured (and when he did it looked scripted), and, as the jokes said, looked very 
stiff and not relaxed. Who would you be more interested in listening to during class, an 
animated lively teacher or a teacher that has about as much personality and kinesic 
immediacy as a tree? 

Eye Contact (getting and maintaining eye contact). Immediate teachers are 
teachers who look their students in the eyes. Students want to know that their teachers 
know that they are sitting there in the classroom. The easiest way to communicate that you 
know a student is there is to look at her or him. 

Chronemics (time orientation). Immediate teachers are teachers who are seen 
spending more time with students, arriving early, staying late, and just making themselves 
more accessible to their students. Maybe consider getting yourself an e-mail address so 
your students can e-mail you. If you decide to make yourself this available and immediate, 
make sure you place limits on your availability for your own sanity. Tell your students that if 
they have a last minute question you will check your e-mail at a specific time, but you won't 
look before or after that time. This will place parameters on this tool for your benefit, but 
will also make your students feel that you are more accessible. 

Physical Appearance (ptiysical qualities). Physical appearance is the most 
important aspect of initial attraction. Teachers that are attractive are perceived as more 
immediate. This does not mean that you have to be a super model to be an immediate and 
affective teacher, but it is important that a number of characteristics are adhered to when 
concerned with dress. First, informal but socially appropriate attire which is not conservative 
is important to be seen as immediate. You do not need to look like you just stepped off the 
cover of Vogue magazine or out of the pages of Abercrombie and Fitcli Quarterly, but 
appropriate attire, as described above, is important. One of the authors remembers being in 

Chapter Thirteen - 178 

high school during the 1990s and having a teacher who only wore polyester, and had a bad 
toupee. He was not the poster child for immediacy behaviors. Also, a clean-cut appearance 
is helpful in creating immediacy in the classroom. In addition, teachers should be careful not 
to wear clothing or accessories that are distracting. If your clothing or accessories clings or 
clangs while you walk, this is highly distracting and non-immediate. 

Teacher Humor Assessment 

Researchers have been examining humor from a variety of different vantage points, 
attempting to see how individuals differ in production of and response to humorous 
messages. When students are asked to generate a list of characteristics that are seen as 
positive teacher attributes, a strong sense of humor has consistently been one of the 
primary responses. In fact, a number of studies have shown humor to be very positive in 
the learning environment. Humor has been correlated with student affect, learning, 
perceived teacher credibility (Wrench & Richmond, 2000); classroom compliance and level 
of behavioral problems (Punyanunt, 2000); immediacy (Wanzer & Frymier, 1999); and 
reducing test and classroom anxiety (Tamborini and Zillmann, 1981). Humor has been 
shown to be a very positive benefit to the classroom environment, but it is definitely a 
double-edged sword. 

Too often when teachers hear that humor is beneficial they try to inappropriately 
integrate humor into their classroom. At the same time, some teachers actually try to stifle 
humor because they see it as frivolous and not a part of the educational environment. 
Humor is actually a VERY beneficial and naturally occurring part of the learning 
environment, but this is not to say that humor cannot be improved and made better. While 
humor studies may sound like a lot of fun, to those of us who do research in this area, it's 
anything but a laughing matter. Humor is serious business, and when used appropriately, 
can have amazing results in the classroom. Avner Ziv (1988) is one of the foremost 
researchers on humor in the classroom, a professor at the University of Jerusalem in Israel, 
and is former president of the International Society of Humor Studies. Dr. Ziv has found 
that teachers can actually be taught to integrated humor into their classrooms with positive 
results. He also found that when teachers integrate humor into one section of a class and 
kept their other section to a traditional style, the students in the humor section scored 
significantly higher on a standardized test at the end of the semester. Figure 13.1 is a copy 
of the Humor Assessment Instrument (HA). This short measure is a personal report of the 
use and perception of humor in one's daily life. 

Chapter Thirteen - 179 

Humor Assessment 

Directions: Tine following statements apply to how people communicate humor when 
relating to others. I ndicate the degree to which each of these statements applies to you 
by filling in the number of the your response in the blank before each item: 

Strongly Agree 




Strongly Disagree 






1. I regularly communicate with others by joking with them. 

2. People usually laugh when I makes a humorous remark. 

3. I am not funny or humorous. 

4. I can be amusing or humorous without having to tell a joke. 

5. Being humorous is a natural communication orientation for me. 

6. I cannot relate an amusing idea well. 

7. My friends would say that I am a humorous or funny person. 

8. People don't seem to pay close attention when I am being funny. 

9. Even funny ideas and stories seem dull when I tell them. 

10. I can easily relate funny or humorous ideas to the class. 

11. I would say that I am not a humorous person. 

12. I cannot be funny, even when asked to do so. 

13. I relate amusing stories, jokes, and funny things very well to others. 

14. Of all the people I know, I am one of the "least" amusing or funny persons. 

15. I use humor to communicate in a variety of situations. 

16. On a regular basis, I do not communicate with others by being humorous or 


SCORING: To compute your scores follow the instructions below: 

1. How to Score: 

Step One: Add scores for items 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, 13, & 15. 

Step Two: Add scores for items 3, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14 & 16. 

Step Three: Add 48 to Step 1. 

Step Four: Subtract the score for Step two from the score for Step Three. 


Wrench, J. S., & Richmond, V. P. (2004). Understanding the psychometric properties of 
the Humor Assessment instrument through an analysis of the relationships between 
teacher humor assessment and instructional communication variables in the college 
classroom. Communication Researcii Reports, 21, 92-103. 

Figure 13.1 Humor Assessment (HA) 

So, by this point you're hopefully wondering how humor can be beneficial in the 
learning environment. While studies are not completely clear on what is actually happening 
when students are exposed to humor in a classroom, the following biological basis probably 
has something to do with this phenomenon. When students are exposed to something they 

Chapter Thirteen - 180 

find humorous, endorphin levels rise creating a natural rush. When students are later 
required to recall information associated with the humor that created the natural rush, they 
have higher recall rates than students who are not exposed to humor. In essence, the 
addition of humor to a teaching situation allows for better storage in long-term memory and 
faster recall and retrieval from long-term memory because of the increased endorphin levels 
at the time of the storage. 

As teachers there are a number of simple things that can be done to add humor to 
the learning environment. First, a simple warning - don't let humor that you use in class be 
unnatural for you. We all have different styles for delivering humor. Just like Jerry Sienfeld, 
Ellen Degeneres, Jeff Foxworthy, Chris Rock, Dennis Miller, and Whoopi Goldberg have 
different standup shticks, each of us as teachers needs to find humor that naturally works 
for us. Second, another warning - make sure that humor that is used in class is applicable 
to the content that you are teaching. Often people who are not familiar with using humor in 
a classroom will try to randomly tell stories or jokes that have no apparent point. While 
students may remember the jokes at a later point, they may not know why the humorous 
story was told. One of the authors remembers a professor that told a humorous story about 
being at a drive-through restaurant. Not knowing how much something cost, he asked the 
person on the other side of the intercom who responded "can't you read?" At this point the 
professor, in a rather funny fashion, talked about how offended he was that this minimum 
wage worker would question his ability to read. Most of the students laughed at the story, 
but none of the students or the professor's teaching assistants knew the point of the story. 

One way to include humor into your lesson plans is to tell funny stories and jokes or 
show cartoons that apply to the content. Maybe you're teaching United States history. Find 
a copy of "American History According to High School Students" and read it to your 
classroom. If you haven't seen this infamous little revisionist history lesson, it is a rather 
funny depiction of American History that starts with Washington Discovering America and 
ends with the Japanese bombing the Pearly Gates. Another way to include humor in your 
class is to include humorous test items on your tests. The inclusion of humorous test items 
has actually been shown to decrease student test anxiety and raise students' test scores. 
Also, look for humorous examples in the news and on television that exemplify concepts 
that you are going to be teaching. A number of magazines such as Reader's Digest and The 
Saturday Evening Post are known for their humorous anecdote and joke sections. The more 
you use humor in the classroom, the more natural it will become. 

Chapter Thirteen - 181 

References and Recommended Readings 

Chesebro, J. L. (2002). Teaching clearly. In J. Chesebro and J. C. McCroskey (Eds.), 

Communication for Teaciiers (pp. 93-103). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. 
Chesbro, J . L., & McCroskey, J . C. (2001). The relationship of teacher clarity and immediacy 

with student state receiver apprehension, affect, and cognitive learning. 

Communication Education, 50, 59-68. 
Chesebro, J. L., & Wanzer, M. B. (2006). Instructional message variables. In, T. P. Mottet, 

V. P. Richmond, &]. C. McCroskey (Eds.), Handboola of instructional communication: 

Rlietorical and relational perspectives (pp. 89-116). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. 
Civikly, J. M. (1992). Clarity: Teachers and Students Making Sense of Instruction. 

Communication Education, 41, 138-152. 
Comstock, J., Rowell, E., & Bowers, J. W. (1995). Food For Thought: Teacher Nonverbal 

Immediacy, Student Learning and Curvilinearity. Communication Education, 44, 251- 

Mehrabian, A. (1971). Silent messages. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. 
Eisenberg, E. M. (1984). Ambiguity as strategy in organizational communication. 

Communication Monographs, 51, 227-242. 
Martin, D. M., Preiss, R. W., Gayle, B. M., & Allen, M. (2006). A meta-analytic assessment of 

the effect of humorous lectures on learning. In B. M. Gayle, R. W. Preiss, N. Burrel, & 

M. Allen (Eds.), Classroom communication and instructional processes: Advances 

through meta-analysis (pp. 295-313). Mahwah, NJ : Lawrence-Erlbaum. 
McGhee, P. E. (1999). Health, healing and the amuse system: Humor as survival training. 

Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall Hunt. 
Norton, R. (1978). Foundation of a communicator style construct. Human Communication 

Research, 4, 99-112. 
Norton, R. (1983). Communicator style: Theory, application, and measures. Beverly Hills, 

CA: Sage. 
Preiss, R. W., & Gayle, B. M. (2006). A meta-analysis of the educational benefits of 

employing advanced organizers. In B. M. Gayle, R. W. Preiss, N. Burrel, & M. Allen 

(Eds.), Classroom communication and instructional processes: Advances through 

meta-analysis (pp. 329-344). Mahwah, NJ : Lawrence-Erlbaum. 
Punyanunt, N. M. (2000). The effects of humor on perceptions of compliance-gaining in the 

college classroom. Communication Research Reports, 17, 30-38. 
Richmond, V. P. (1990). Communication in the classroom: Power and motivation. 

Communication Education, 39, 181-195. 

Chapter Thirteen - 182 

Richmond, V. P., Gorham, J. S., & McCroskey, J. C. (1987). The relationship between 

selected immediacy behaviors and cognitive learning. In M. McLaughlin (Ed.), 

Communication yearbook 10, (pp. 574-590). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. 
Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (1993). Communication: Overview and framework. In 

M. J. O'Hair & S. J. O'Dell (Eds.). Diversity and teacliing. (pp. 165-174). New York: 

Harcourt Brace J avanovich. 
Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (1992). Power in tiie classroom: Communication, 

control, and concern. Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum. 
Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (2000). Nonverbal behavior in interpersonal relations 

(3"' Ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon. 
Talley, M., & Richmond, V. P. (1980). Psychological gender orientation and communicator 

style. Human Communication Research, 6, 326-339. 
Tamborini, R., and Zillmann, D. (1981). College students' perception of lectures using 

humor. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 52, 427-432. 
Wanzer, M. B. & Frymier, A. B. (1999). The relationship between student perceptions of 

instructor humor and students' reports of learning. Communication Education, 48, 

Wrench, J. S., & Richmond, V. P. (2004). Understanding the psychometric properties of the 

Humor Assessment instrument through an analysis of the relationships between 

teacher humor assessment and instructional communication variables in the college 

classroom. Communication Research Reports, 21, 92-103. 
Wrench, J. S., McCroskey, J. C, & Richmond, V. P. (2008). Human communication in 

everyday life: Explanations and applications. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. 
Ziv, A. (1988). Teaching and learning with humor: Experiment and replication. Journal of 

Experimental Education, 57, 5-13. 

Chapter Thirteen - 183 


Chapter Fourteen Objectives 

1. Define and explain winat temperament is and \r\ov\i it differs from learning theory. 

2. Be able to explain and differentiate among the four personality types. 

3. Understand the strengths and weaknesses associated with the four personality types. 

4. Understand the basic blends that can happen among the four personality types. 

5. Explain how the four personality types can influence both teacher behavior and 
student behavior in the classroom. 

Have you ever noticed that there are people who are not like you in the world? 
Maybe you work with one of these "strange" people? Maybe you live with one of these 
"strange" people? And quite possibly, you may even teach one of these "strange" people. 
You know for a fact that if these people would just do what you say and become more like 
you, they would live better and happier lives. We all have a tendency of looking at those 
around us and finding the faults. It's hard to realize that maybe, just maybe, it's us and not 
them that needs to change. We spend so much time focusing on what we consider to be 
faults in other people, and very little time trying to understand ourselves. One way to 
become an affective teacher in the classroom is to learn to understand yourself and those 
around you. 

One way to start understanding other people is to understand ourselves and where 
our attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs actually come from. With increasing evidence, scientists 
are learning that a great portion of the way we behave is biologically driven. Though some 
people believe that this is a new or futuristic concept, this idea dates back to a philosopher 
and physician that most of us are familiar with. Hypocrites. Hypocrites is primarily 
remembered today for the Hippocratic Oath that all medical doctors take to become 
physicians, "First do no harm." But Hypocrites did a lot more than just write this one 
famous oath. 

Hypocrites noted that there were a number of different types of patients that came 
into his office. He originally thought that it was an amount of bile that ran through a 
person's body that caused them to act the way they did. Some were loud, always wanted to 
talk, and used lots of gestures. He called these people Sanguines and thought that they 

Chapter Thirteen - 184 

were full of red-bile. He saw that other people were more low key, and quiet, and very 
perfectionistic. He called these people Melancholies and thought that they were full of black- 
bile. Other people were very matter of fact and control oriented, always in a rush to do 
something, and rather abrupt leaders. He called these people Cholerics and thought that 
they were full of yellow- bile. Lastly, he saw a group of people who were very peaceful, laid 
back, and lazy. He called these people Phlegmatics and thought that they were full of 
phlegm. For many years. Hypocrites' conceptualization of human temperament reigned as 
the predominant thought on how humans behaved. In fact, the primary cure for most 
illnesses was to let out some of the bile as a means to fix the problem. I nstead of going to a 
doctor, you went to your local barber who could give you a quick haircut, a shave, and a 
little bloodletting. 

As medical technology and understanding grew, this practice was discarded as out of 
date and not really an accurate way for dealing with human ailments. Along with the 
practice of bloodletting. Hypocrites' temperament conceptualization was also seen as out of 
date and a new theory (learning theory) started to dominate most academic thought. 
During this time period, people started to believe that we were born as blank slates and our 
environment shaped us into the people we eventually became. The formation of modern 
genetic research, as we know it today, started in 1865 with the groundbreaking treatise on 
heredity by an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel. Mendel was the first scientist to 
propose that humans were actually similar to their biological parents through a process he 
called heredity. Everything from a person's IQ (Begley, 1998; Lemonick, 1999); to 
impulsiveness, openness, conservatism, and hostility; (Nash, 1998); to communication 
apprehension (Beatty, McCroskey, & Heisel); and verbal aggression (Beatty, Valencic, Rudd, 
& Dobos, 1999) can be linked to biology. With the completion of the Human Genome 
Project, the understanding of human behavior as an innate part of our being is becoming 
more understood (Begley, 2000; Golden & Lemonick, 2000). 

While recent genetics research has been proving that Hypocrites was on the right 
track, a number of researchers have revitalized his old concepts of the Sanguine, 
Melancholy, Choleric, and Phlegmatic as a way to understand human behavior. Florence 
Littauer originally published her version of Hypocrites' four-quadrant personality 
conceptualization in her world-renown book Personality Plus in 1983. From 1983 to 1992, 
her book had been through twenty-six printings, and had become one of the most widely 
published texts in other languages (besides English) around the world. In fact. Personality 
Plus has been a national best seller in many nations around the world. The following test 
(figure 14.1) will indicate where you score on the Temperament Testing Scale (TTS). 

Chapter Thirteen - 185 

Temperamental Testing Scale 

I nstructions: On the scales below, indicate the degree to which each of the adjective pairs 
represents you. Do not over think these items. Numbers 1 and 7 indicate a very strong 
feeling. Numbers 2 and 6 indicate a strong feeling. Numbers 3 and 5 indicate a fairly weak 
feeling. Number 4 indicates you are undecided. 


















































1 ntrovert 
































Mixes Easily 























































































































Figure 14.1 Temperamental Testing Scale 

Chapter Thirteen - 186 


To compute your scores, add your scores for each item as indicated below: 

Sanguine-JVlelancinoly Continuum - Add All Odd Questions -- Get Score 

Choleric-Phlegmatic Continuum - Add All Even Questions -- Get Score 

Scores for each continuum should be between 10 and 70. 

Sanguine-Melancholy Continuum - Scores between 10 & 35 indicate a Sanguine Nature. 
Scores above 45 indicate a Melancholy Nature. 

Choleric-Phlegmatic Continuum - Scores between 10 & 35 indicate a Choleric Nature. 
Scores above 45 indicate a Phlegmatic Nature. 

Explanation of Scores 

The Further you are away from 40 on both continuums indicates the strength of that 
temperamental state. 

First example, if you are a solid 10 on the Sanguine-Melancholy Continuum, then you are 

Sanguine in nature, and if you are a solid 70 Choleric-Phlegmatic Continuum, then you are 
VERY Phlegmatic, which would give you a temperamental blend of Sanguine-Phlegmatic. 

Second Example, if you are a solid 30 on the Sanguine-Melancholy Continuum, then you 
are Moderately Strong Sanguine in nature, and if you are a solid 70 Choleric-Phlegmatic 
Continuum, then you are VERY Phlegmatic, which would give you a temperamental blend of 
Sanguine-Phlegmatic with a primary temperament of Phlegmatic and a Secondary 
temperament of Sanguine. 

Use this Scale to understand your results: 


20-30 STRQNG 


35-40 AVERAGE 


50-60 STRQNG 


If you find yourself in the weak to average on both scales, you may be phlegmatic in 
nature because they have a tendency of blending very well on both scales. 

When you examine your scores, do not get the idea that there are specific good 
personality or temperament patterns and bad ones. Too often people get the idea that one 
specific personality type is better than another personality type. Though specific personality 

Chapter Thirteen - 187 

types will function better in specific situations, all four types are equally useful and equally 
needed in society and in the educational system. 

Four Personality Types 

Let's examine the four personality types individually, so we can start to see the 
positive and negative aspects of all four types. One very important point that needs to be 
made is that all four types have specific strengths and weaknesses, and any strength when 
carried to an extreme can become a weakness!!! 

Popular Sanguine 

The Popular Sanguine is always the life of the party. This person generally has a 
group of people around them at all times. Sanguines are always looking for their next 
audience. One of the first tell-tale signs that you are either a Sanguine yourself or are 
interacting with a Sanguine is a loud nature that Sanguines generally have. Sanguines are 
not only loud in their voices; they are also loud in life. Sanguines also have a tendency to 
seek each other out in social situations. At a departmental party once, I was talking with 
two colleagues and the three of us just kept getting louder and louder and laughing harder 
and harder. We were having a great time. It wasn't until after we had cleared the entire 
house that one of the hosts came inside and pointed out that we had driven everyone else 
out onto the porch because of the racket. 

Sanguines are also loud in life. Sanguine women, typically speaking, wear very 
bright clothing and quite possibly lots of jewelry. One Sanguine woman I used to work with 
wore so much dangling jewelry that you could hear her coming down the hall. With each 
step she took, a clanging of metallic rhythms was made. While society expects men to dress 
more professionally and conservatively in business situations. Sanguine men will still try to 
find a way to enjoy themselves and make a statement with their clothing. Sanguine men 
will have loud or fun ties that they wear. 

Sanguines also tend to be very open in life. Very rarely will you find a Sanguine that 
doesn't have her or his mouth open. Sanguines are always talking. And while talking can be 
a very important tool in life, when a person does not know how to stop talking, it can 
become a very powerful weakness. Sanguines also can be typically noticed by their open 
body orientation. Sanguines tend to have very open bodies (no barriers or crossed arms 
when they are talking), and tend to use a lot of gestures. In fact, you can typically spot a 
Sanguine from across a room simply by the gestures that he or she uses. Because 
Sanguines use a lot of gestures when talking to people and have an open body orientation. 

Chapter Thirteen - 188 

they are also very nonverbally immediate. Sometimes tinougin, Sanguines become too 
immediate and become too touciny-feely for tinose people who are around them. Sanguines 
also tend to have a very open life. There are very few secrets that a Sanguine has. People 
should also be careful when telling Sanguines secrets of their own because often when a 
thought has made it through the brain it's already out of their mouths. Figure 14.2, is a list 
of the major Sanguine strengths and weaknesses identified in the Temperament Testing 







Mixes easily 










I nconsistent 



Figure 14.2 Sanguine Strengths and 

Overall, Sanguines are great to have 
around. They definitely are able to spice up any 
party and even provide loads of entertainment 
in the office. They have magnetic personalities 
that just draw people to them. They are 
friendly, funny, work quickly, and love to talk. 
Sanguines do have a variety of emotional 
needs that Littauer and Littauer (1998) 
noticed: Attention, Affection, Approval, and 
Acceptance. Sanguines have the need to have 
attention from all people who are around them. 
They also tend to be very affectively oriented. 
Sanguines need to be touched and touch other 
people. This touch helps them feel connected with those people who are around them. 
When a Sanguine is not getting touch, he or she may try to find types of touch that are not 
pro-social. Sanguines also have an innate desire to get approval for every deed that they 
do. When a Sanguine makes a mistake, and people get irritated and focus on the mistake, 
the Sanguine does not feel approved of as a person. Lastly, a Sanguine needs to feel 
accepted as is. Too often Sanguines feel like the people around them are trying to quiet 
them down, be more respectful, be more efficient with their time, and get things done 
perfectly, and all of these things make a Sanguine feel not accepted. A Sanguine's basic 
desire in life is to have fun. Any time one of these emotional needs is not being met it 
causes life to not be fun any longer, and ultimately can cause a Sanguine to experience 
depression. A depressed Sanguine will attempt to relocate those feelings of fun and 
happiness through multiple sexual partners, drugs, alcohol, shopping, eating, and any other 
activity, pro- or anti-social, that allows them to be around other people. More than anything 

Chapter Thirteen - 189 

Sanguines fear being unpopular, being ignored, growing older, not being attractive, being 
lonely, and not having enough money to live a fun and joy filled life. 

Perfect Melancholy 

Where the Sanguine is loud, the Melancholy is quiet. These people like to have the 
quietness of their surroundings because it helps them to think and contemplate. Sanguines 
need people to discuss things with and determine the best course of action when a problem 
arises. Melancholies prefer to think about the problem and then determine an appropriate 
course of action over time. I n fact, loud and obnoxious Sanguines are one of the ultimate 
gripes that Melancholies have with the world. Melancholies often just don't understand why 
these "other" people feel the need to talk all the time. Melancholies are also very sensitive 
and deep people and need other people to understand their sensitive nature. This sensitive 
nature is very hard for Sanguines to understand. Sanguines just don't understand why 
Melancholies feel the need to contemplate and analyze when there are plenty of fun and 
exciting things to do and talk about in life. 

Where the Sanguine's life is loud, the Melancholy's life is quiet. This quietness is not 
only good for respective contemplation of the world, but it is also good because it allows a 
Melancholy to feel what is going on around them. Melancholies tend to dress in very 
traditional fashions. Both men and women will wear minimal jewelry, black, brown, gray, 
and navy colors. When a Melancholy person does wear an outfit that has color, it is typically 
a primary color. Often, a Sanguine will give a Melancholy a very loud and flashy outfit for a 
holiday or birthday. The Melancholy will feel the need to wear this outfit because it was 
given to them, but will dislike the outfit because it is out of their nature and too flashy for 
their taste. 

Where the Sanguine's life is open, the Melancholy's life is closed. Melancholies 
operate on a need to know basis only. Where you can learn a Sanguine's whole life story in 
about thirty-minutes, it may take an entire lifetime for a Melancholy to open up to a person 
about who they really are. When problems arise. Melancholies expect other people to just 
know what is wrong, and then take care of the situation. Melancholies expect you to feel 
what is going on inside of them. Even their nonverbals are very closed in nature. 
Melancholies tend to have small precise gestures that are close to the body. They do not 
feel the need to flail their arms like the Sanguines do. Melancholies also like to have very 
clean-cut and noticeable symmetry in their physical appearance. If a Melancholy walked into 
a room and found out that he or she had a piece of toilet paper attached to her or his shoe, 
it would mortify the Melancholy. The Sanguine would laugh at the situation and then keep 

Chapter Thirteen - 190 

telling the story to anyone who would listen. The Melancholy, on the other hand, would 
probably go into a form of depression obsessing on how that made them look to others and 
who had seen them like that. Where Sanguines are very touchy-feely. Melancholies are 
touch-me-nots. In fact, hugging a Melancholy is a lot like hugging a tree. Political examples 
of these two personalities are President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. Clinton is a 
Popular Sanguine who loved to touch and be touched; whereas. Gore was a very 
melancholy and stiff person. 

Melancholies are very schedule-oriented individuals. This can be great because it 
helps organizations to keep striving ahead. At the same time, you can become so overly 
scheduled in life that nothing gets accomplished. Once when interviewing an applicant for a 
job, we were discussing what hours he thought he would be able to work. He said he 
needed to consult his schedule and we said, "go ahead." He then proceeded to pull out a 
full size three- ring binder. For each day, he had a full two- page spread that had fifteen- 
minute increments outlined on where he was supposed to be. He also had seven different 
colors of ink that represented different types of information on his schedule. After consulting 
this planner, he then said, "let me check my other one just to make sure." At this point, he 
pulled out a palm-pilot and gave us exact times he would be able to work. While all of us sat 
in absolute shock (what happens when you have a group of Sanguines interviewing), we 
were drawn to this man because of his unique ability to schedule. At the same time, it was 
his ability to schedule his life that ended up becoming a problem later. When a project 
needed to get done, he didn't have the ability to stay later than his specific office hours 
because he had already scheduled in other commitments. Once out of curiosity, I looked at 
his schedule and saw that he had even penciled in time to eat, sleep, and shower. He even 
had a thirty-minute relaxation period on Wednesday nights from 8:00-8:30. While being 
scheduled is definitely a strength for a melancholies, if a schedule becomes more important 
than living it can be a weakness. 

Melancholies also have a hard time finding and keeping personal relationships. What 
relationships they do develop tend to be very strong and deep relationships. Where the 
Sanguine will have hundreds of friends and constant activity, the Melancholy will develop a 
small inner-circle of people they truly care about through their life. When I was in college 
living in the dorm there was a guy on my floor named Caleb. Caleb was an obvious perfect 
melancholy. His goal in life was to complete his genealogy from his family all the way back 
to Adam and Eve. He had books upon books about his family history both in the United 
States and in Europe. Well, I decided that this guy needed a new friend that would help to 
get him out of his dorm room occasionally. He didn't go out to parties or do anything that / 

Chapter Thirteen - 191 

saw as fun, so I took it upon myself to become his new best friend. I would drag him places 
and make him do things with me and all of my friends. Because of me, people on our floor 
who didn't even know Caleb existed knew who he was; people had assumed that his 
roommate lived alone because they had never seen Caleb leave his room. Amazingly, after 
that year I saw him only once. I the high energy Sanguine, had simply been too 
overbearing for him and when the year was over, he found his escape. Figure 14.3 has a list 
of the strengths and weaknesses of a Melancholy. 















Too I ntroverted 

Over planning 







Figure 14.3 Melancholy Strengths 
and Weaknesses 

J ust like the Sanguine has specific 
emotional needs, Littauer and Littauer (1998) 
propose that Melancholies also have four basic 
emotional needs: Sensitivity, Support, Space, 
and Silence. Melancholies need to have others 
be sensitive to their feelings. Melancholies need 
to know that you understand what they are 
feeling. Often when a Melancholy gets 
depressed they will stay depressed for a period 
of time and need you to come where they are 
and demonstrate empathy. Sanguines can have 
fifteen manic-depressive states in the hour they 
get up in the morning (I woke up - depressive 
- I took a shower - manic - I stubbed my toe - depressive - I get to eat Poptarts - Manic). 
A second emotional need for Melancholies is support. My friend, Kris, was going through a 
stage of chronic depression and needed me to come and be with him and support him in the 
pit of depression. Sadly, I was not able to be with him in that pit 100% of the time, but I 
was able to support him when he was down. Where I tried my best to demonstrate 
empathy, my happy, bubbly nature sooner or later would surface and drive him crazy. 
Thankfully, he understood that I am just a naturally Sanguine person, and that even when I 
am depressed I function through depression in a different way because of my personality. A 
third emotional need for Melancholies is the need to be alone. Melancholies just need down 
time some times. Unlike the Sanguines who thrive on people and get depressed when they 
don't have an audience. Melancholies feel claustrophobic when they are around too many 
people and some times just need to have some downtime. This downtime can be very 
unhealthy for a Melancholy who is depressed because he or she will sit and have compulsive 
negative thoughts, and these thoughts could lead to the Melancholy doing harmful things to 

Chapter Thirteen - 192 

her or himself. The last emotional need that Melancholies have is a need for silence. This 
goes along with the previous need of being alone, without people. Silence is golden in the 
eyes of the Melancholy. Melancholies truly believe in the ancient Turkish riddle that says, 
"Perfect is the thing that if you say its name, you destroy its meaning." 

In life. Melancholies have a basic desire to have perfection. Melancholies will get 
depressed when life isn't perfect. While we all cognitively understand that perfection is 
impossible. Melancholies have an internal drive that makes them strive towards perfection. 
This innate strength has allowed Melancholies to do many great things in history. Let's face 
it, if Michelangelo had been a Sanguine, the Sistine Chapel would still have a tarp thrown 
over the pews and paint by number grid on the ceiling. However, when one strives towards 
a goal that is humanly unrealistic, it can cause a Melancholy to be in a state of constant 
depression. Melancholies also become depressed when they believe that the emotional pain 
they are going through is unbearable. Since Melancholies are deep and introspective people, 
they often feel the weight of emotional pain in a different way than the other three 
personalities. They let it drag them to deeper levels of pain than the other personalities. 
When a Melancholy sees no way out from under this pain, they become depressed. Lastly, 
Melancholies get depressed because people do not understand what they are feeling and 
going through. Melancholies so desperately want to be understood and loved through the 
silent pain they are experiencing. When a Melancholy gets depressed he or she may 
withdraw from people in an unhealthy manner. They may take to bed or become 
agoraphobic refusing to leave their house, and quite possibly use drugs or alcohol as a way 
to blot out imperfections and failures. A Melancholy's basic desire is to have perfection. 
They are so afraid of making a mistake and being a failure, having to compromise or lower 
their standards, or that no one will ever be able to understand them. 

Powerful Choleric 

Cholerics are easy to find. J ust look for the person who seems to be leading a group, 
and you've probably got yourself a Choleric. Cholerics are the kind of people who will join 
organizations if they think there's the possibility of getting a leadership position in the 
group. Once, I actually joined an organization for the pure purpose of leading it. I didn't 
know what the organization truly did, their goals, or its purpose, but I sure knew that I 
could lead the organization - and I did. Cholerics are also noticeable because of their 
intensity, their "always on the go" attitude, and their quick pace. Cholerics always have 
things to do, people to see, and projects to complete, so don't even dare to stand in their 
way unless you want to see the wrath of a Choleric. Cholerics are always doing, never 

Chapter Thirteen - 193 

being. Cholerics are the people who lead motivational seminars on getting rich and being 
more productive. These people are very picky about how things should be done, and 
generally are right. Where the Melancholy will diligently think about and then implement a 
plan of strategy when a problem arises, a Choleric will make a split-second decision on how 
to handle the problem and then proceed with all her or his might. And, generally speaking, 
Cholerics make good decisions. This often infuriates the Melancholy who will spend a lot of 
time trying to come up with an appropriate solution only to find out the Choleric came up 
with the same idea and implemented it already. At the same time, this brashness and split- 
second decision-making can get a Choleric into trouble. 

At one job I had, I was overseeing a good number of people who were implementing 
a number of projects conceptualized by myself and a small inner group of leaders in the 
organization. One of my subordinates came to me with an idea that he thought was new. I 
quickly told him that we had already discussed that idea before he was hired and had 
decided not to do it. I told him not to waste his time trying to do it because I would just be 
forced to veto it if it came across my desk again. I thought I was being very judicious in the 
way that I handled my subordinate, but he (who happened to be a Melancholy) felt that I 
had been rude and insensitive to his feelings. We eventually became friends, but it took a 
long time before he was able to trust me with his ideas. Cholerics are going so fast, that 
they often forget that they might be stepping on the "little- people" in the way of their goals. 

You can tell a Choleric by their nonverbals from across the room. A Choleric wears 
clothing that looks sharp, but is functional. There area a number of very specific gestures 
that are totally Choleric oriented: pointing or shaking their fingers at people; pounding their 
fist on objects or in their hands to add emphasis to what they are saying; hand on hip along 
with the "I can't believe you just did that look." Cell phones were designed for Cholerics on 
the go. What better invention of the 20**^ Century than a tool that allows you to complete 
work during that useless driving and walking time!? 

Cholerics are goal oriented and production oriented. They always have some 
direction they are headed in, and do whatever it takes to make sure the task gets 
accomplished. Figure 14.4 has a list of the strengths and weaknesses of a Choleric. 

The decisions that a Choleric makes are often dead on target, but sometimes a 
Choleric may make bad decisions because he or she does not think the decisions out. A 
great example of Cholerics making bad decisions in American History can be seen in the Bay 
of Pigs mistake. Too many aggressive Cholerics got together and did not completely analyze 
the situation, but went headstrong into the worst military defeat in the US Military's history. 
Cholerics need to be careful to get all necessary information before making a hasty decision. 

Chapter Thirteen - 194 

















Overly I nvolved 






Figure 14.4 Choleric Strengths and 

Littauer and Littauer (1998) proposed 
that Cholerics have four basic emotional needs: 
Loyalty, Control, Appreciation, and Credit. 
Cholerics have an emotional need to have 
loyalty from those around them. Since 
Cholerics are constantly leading people, having 
loyalty from those they are leading becomes 
very important. If an individual is not loyal, it 
makes a Choleric feel as though he or she has 
not been an effective leader. Cholerics also 
need to have a sense of control. Cholerics like 
to know that they have control over their lives 
at all stages of life. If you are dealing with a 
Choleric child, giving her or him some responsibility is a simple way to increase her or his 
self-esteem and feelings of worth. Cholerics also like to be appreciated for their dedicated 
service. Cholerics are hard workers, and they want to be appreciated for their loyalty to 
others or organizations that they work for, both paid and voluntary work. Lastly, Cholerics 
want to get credit for the work that they do. Cholerics do a lot of work and want to know 
that other people notice the work that they are doing. 

When I was in high school, I belonged to the youth group at my church. I ran almost 
everything possible. I spent more time at the church working on projects than the minister 
did (OK slight exaggeration). At first, I was constantly complimented for the work that I was 
doing, but after time I became a wall hanging and I stopped getting the compliments. As 
soon as I stopped being recognized for the work that I was doing, I stopped doing the work. 
At that point, people thought I was mad or angry because I wasn't doing the behavior that I 
had done for a long time. Cholerics thrive on getting credit for their good works. 

Cholerics have a basic desire to have control in their lives. Cholerics become 
depressed when they feel that they are not in control. When a Choleric wakes up and feels 
that he or she is no longer in control, depression is going to hit them until they are able to 
regain control in their lives. Also, any life problems that cause an unbalance in a Choleric's 
life can cause depression. Problems with finances, job, spouse, children, or health can all be 
problems that cause a Choleric's life to spiral into a depressive state. Lastly, a Choleric will 
become depressed when he or she feels totally unappreciated. As a way to deal with stress 
and depression, Cholerics may work harder, exercise more, or avoid unyielding situations. 
While some people will see the working harder and increased levels of exercise as beneficial. 

Chapter Thirteen - 195 

these can become obsessions that lead to an individual becoming a work-a-holic or possibly 
developing a body obsession disorder. Cholerics, as a whole, are very prone to social- 
anxiety disorders. When they believe that they will do, or have done, something wrong or 
even perceptually wrong they will obsess on this mistake and fear that it will make them 
look dumb, inferior, not capable, or irresponsible. Ultimately, Cholerics fear losing control of 
their lives, financial disasters, and/or becoming weak and incapacitated. 

Peaceful Phlegmatic 

If a Choleric, Sanguine, Melancholy, and Phlegmatic were trying to get from point A 
to point B, very different methods would be used. A Choleric would just quickly, in a frantic 
pace, with arms flailing go from point A to point B. A Sanguine would start on their way, see 
an old acquaintance along the way get into a great conversation about old times. They 
would tell stories, and if the Sanguine ever made it to point B, they probably wouldn't even 
know why they were there in the first place. A Melancholy would sit down and map out the 
most effective way to get from point A to point B. In today's world, the Melancholy would 
probably go on the Internet and have a mapping program develop a number of possible 
paths that they could take from point A to point B. Then the Melancholy would cross- 
reference these computer-generated maps with the most recent Atlas they can find. While 
the other three are moving (in different fashions) from point A to point B, the Phlegmatic 
person just thinks that there's no reason to travel from point A to point B in the first place, 
so why not just stay where they are and take a nap. The primary statement that a 
Phlegmatic makes is, "Why stand when I can sit, and why sit when I can lay down." 

Where the Cholerics are filled with constant energy and an innate desire to move and 
get things accomplished, the Phlegmatic is steady, consistent, and evenly balanced. When 
they walk across the room they can be noticed because they generally just seem to flow - 
as if walking on clouds. They tend to wear the most casual clothing. If they can spend their 
entire lives without putting on a dress or tie, their lives could be perfect. Phlegmatics use 
minimal gestures, because moving takes energy and why do something that is just not 
necessary. Figure 14.5 provides a list of the basic strengths and weaknesses that a 
Phlegmatic has. 

Chapter Thirteen - 196 





















Figure 14.5 Phlegmatic Strengths 
and Weal<nesses 

As a whole, Phlegmatics are easygoing and 
adaptable. In fact, Phlegmatics are sometimes 
referred to as the chameleon personality 
because they are so easily adaptable. When 
they test on the Temperament Testing Scale 
they can seem fairly balanced because they 
have learned how to take on attributes of all 
four of the personality types. Phlegmatics have 
a tendency for being low key and their laid- 
back quality may allow them to become lazy. 
Phlegmatics also have no conceptualization of 
time. I have a number of phlegmatic friends 
who do not know the meaning of the phrase 
"on time." One time when I had reservations for a birthday dinner, I had to tell my friend 
Jennifer to be there an hour early just to make sure she would be on time. To all of our 
surprise, she showed up on time and I hadn't even started to get ready. Once, when my 
best friend Constinia and I had a dinner date, she got wrapped up in a television show and 
was nearly two hours late. 

The basic desire that Phlegmatics have is to have peace. When a Phlegmatic's life is 
in chaos, needs to confront something, or has pressure to produce, it may cause a 
Phlegmatic to become depressed. My friend Janet was asked to fire one of her employees. 
She became seriously depressed because she knew that she was going to have to confront 
one her employees and let him go. For days, she made herself sick worrying about the 
confrontation that she knew was coming. After two days off because she had made herself 
physically ill, she went into her office only to find out that the employee had already put in 
his two-week notice. Also, Phlegmatics are not production-oriented people. My best friend 
Constinia and myself were writing an article together. I kept getting irate because I didn't 
think she was writing her portion fast enough. My constant nudging of her to get her portion 
done, only made it harder for her to get it done. The more I pressured her, the more 
helpless she felt, and the harder it was for her to get the article written. 

When confronted with stress and depression, Phlegmatics have a tendency to find 
escape in books or television. To a Phlegmatic, finding escapes in books and television 
shows allows them to disassociate themselves with the problem that is plaguing them, and 
allows them to find momentary peace and relaxation. Phlegmatics will also eat and sleep as 
a way to be merry and happy. Phlegmatics eat to get to a relaxed state. Phlegmatics will 

Chapter Thirteen - 197 

also withdraw from people and just kind of tune out life. Phlegmatics do not want to be in a 
chaotic state. Some Phlegmatics will turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to blot out reality of 
a problem or to get power to overcome a fear. The basic fears that Phlegmatics have an 
that they will be pressured to work all the time, get left holding the bag on a project, or face 
a conflict that appears overwhelming. 

Personality Blends 

Most people are not just one strong personality type. While there are some that truly 
are just one type, most of us have a clear primary personality and a clear secondary 
personality that drives our behavior. Still others have two strong primary personality types. 
The basic combinations are Sanguine-Choleric, Choleric-Melancholy, Melancholy-Phlegmatic, 
and Phlegmatic-Sanguine. Each of these pairs can occur with either personality type as the 
primary and either as the secondary. For information about the natural blends of the 
personalities, see Table 14.6. 


When people decide to teach, their temperamental and personality patterns are not 
separated from their classroom. Your biological temperament does impact your classroom. 
Often teachers teach out of their own temperamental patterns. Even the way that we 
control our students is done through our temperaments. Sanguines control by charm and 
wit - "You'll just love this new idea that I've had." Melancholies control through a threat of 
moods - "If you do that I'm probably going to get depressed." Cholerics control others 
through a threat of anger - "You know what happened last time you did that!" And 
Phlegmatics control through procrastination. "If I wait long enough, someone else will do it 
and get it done." Our temperaments are such an important part of who we are and how we 

Chapter Thirteen - 198 



P ayersj 

Witty = 

: Leaders 

- Extroverted 


Easy Going - 

- Optimistic 



Not Goal Oriented - 

- Outspol<en 

Ana yzers \ 

1 ntroverted i 

\ Workers 

: Decisive 

Pessimistic i 

: Organized 

Soft-Spol<en : 

: Goal Oriented 







Figure 14.6 Temperamental Blends 

Overall, this information is useful when you allow it to influence the way that you 
interact with and understand other people. If you learn everything there is to l<now about 
personality, and still treat everyone as if they are identical to you, then the point of this 
information has been lost. The first major im plication for this information in the classroom is 
how both a teacher's and a student's temperamental patterns affect the educational 
environment. When you create a situation where two people will invariably interact, 
understanding how those interactions will affect one another is extremely im porta nt. If a 
highly neurotic student is having a panic attack on the day of a test, the last thing he or she 
needs to hear from her or his teacher is, "Don't worry. It's just a test, not the end of the 
world." Teachers need to be trained to interact with their students based on temperament 
differences. Eysenck and Eysenck (1995) and Littauer and Littauer (1998) reported that 

Chapter Thirteen - 199 

when teachers teach to an individual student's temperament that the child performs at a 
significantly higher rate than when a teacher uses a general style of teaching. At the same 
time, teachers should be aware that preferential treatment appears to be given to 
extroverted (Sanguine) children in the elementary and junior high levels; and hence, 
extroverted children tend to out perform their more introverted (Melancholy) peers. In later 
years however, introverts tend to out perform their extroverted counterparts. Eysenck and 
Eysenck (1995) suggest that: 

This is due largely to the fact that relatively free and easy methods of 
teaching adopted in most primary schools suit extroverted children, who thrive on 
informality and like to flit from topic to topic fairly quickly. I ntroverts prefer the 
formal teaching atmosphere of the later secondary school. They like to get their 
teeth into a topic and persevere with it, and generally do better at secondary and 
tertiary levels where emphasis is on specialism, (p. 320) 

What we can see from this finding is that teachers across the board are not teaching 
to student's temperamental styles and thus impacting the learning that occurs. 

If you want to know your students' temperaments, you can use the scale discussed 
in this chapter. If you are teaching younger students, ask them to think about a play. Would 
they rather be an actor? The person in the spotlight soaking up the applause, having fun? 
Would they rather be the writer? Meticulously going over each revision of the script trying to 
make it perfect? Would they rather be a director? The person telling everyone where they 
need to be and when they need to get there having complete control over the show? Or 
would they rather be in the audience? Sitting back and just enjoying the show in a peaceful 
atmosphere? This is a good way to get a quick picture of what a person's personality is. 

Remember, "So far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men [and women]" 
Romans 12: 18. When you enter into your classroom, realize that your temperament and 
personality affects the affect in your classroom. If you are dealing with a Sanguine student, 
and you're a Melancholy teacher, expecting them to become just like you is unrealistic. Help 
each of your students to become fulfilled in your classroom in the way that is best for them. 
For a further discussion on teaching with Personality Plus, see Littauer and Littauer's (1998) 
book Getting Along with Almost Anybody. 

References and Recommended Readings 

Beatty, M. J., McCroskey, J. C, & Heisel, A. D. (1998). Communication apprehension as 
temperamental expression: A communibiological paradigm. Communication 
Monographs, 65, 197-219. 

Chapter Thirteen -200 

Beatty, M. J., Valencic, K. M., Rudd, J. E., & Dobos, J. A. (1999). A "dark side" of 

communication avoidance: Indirect interpersonal aggressiveness. Communication 

Research Reports, 16, 103-109. 
Beatty, M. J., & McCroskey, J.C. with Valencic, K.M. (2001). Ttie biology of communication: 

A communibiological perspective. Cresskill, NJ : Hampton. 
Begley, S. (1998, May 5). A gene for genius? Smart DNA could explain how IQ is inherited. 

Time, CXXXI (21), 72. 
Begley, S. (2000, April 10). Decoding the human body. Newsweel<, CXXXIV (15), 50-57. 
Eysenck, H. J. (1998). Dimensions of personality. New Brunswick: Transaction. 
Eysenck, H. J., & Eysenck, M. W. (1995). Mind watching: Why we behave the way we do^ 

London: Prion. 
Golden, F., & Lemonick, M. D. (2000) The race is over. Time, 156 (1), 18-23 
Lemonick, M. D. (1999, September 13). Smart genes? A new study sheds light on how 

memory works and raises questions about whether we should use genetics to make 

people brainier. Time, 154 (11), 54-58. 
Littauer, F. L. (1983). Personality plus: How to understand others by understanding 

yourself Grand Rapids, Ml: Fleming H. Revell. 
Littauer, F. L. (1986). Your personality tree. Dallas: Word. 
Littauer, F. L. (1995). Put power in your personality! Match your potential with America's 

leaders. Grand Rapids, Ml: Fleming H. Revell. 
Littauer, F. L., & Littauer, M. (1998). Getting along with almost anybody: The complete 

personality book. Grand Rapids, Ml: Fleming H. Revell. 
Nash, J . M. (1998 April 27). The personality genes: Does DNA shape behavior? Time, 191 

(16), 60-61. 

Chapter Thirteen -201 


Chapter Fifteen Objectives 

1. Review some jobs that have likelihood of burnout. Review where you fit into the 
various jobs discussed. 

2. Discuss which teachers are most likely to suffer burnout. Review why this group is 
likely to suffer burnout. 

3. Discuss the five major symptoms of teacher burnout. Give an example of each 

4. Review how people entering the burnout syndrome feel about their students, co- 
workers, and others. 

5. Review how teacher burnout might impact professional performance in the classroom 
and communication with students, co-workers, and supervisors. 

6. List the causes of burnout and how to handle it before it happens to you. 

7. What are the major types of crises that can lead to burnout? Give an instructional 
example from your own school for each type of crisis. 

8. List successful and unsuccessful methods for handling/coping with burnout/stress. 
Discuss communication strategies for dealing with potential burnout. 

A teacher's job is multifaceted. A teacher's job is never done. A teacher's job is 
difficult. A teacher's job is rewarding. A teacher's job is grueling. A teacher's job is 
demanding. A teacher's job is enjoyable. A teacher's job is arduous. A teacher's job is 
playing many roles. 

As teachers we have many, many instructional and communication roles which 
others in our environment expect us to perform without flaws or problems. As teachers, we 
are the single most important entities in some of our students' lives. As a result, we often 
have monumental communication demands placed upon us. We have communication 
demands placed upon us by the community, parents, supervisors, other teachers, and our 

The average teacher spends more time communicating with others in her or his 
school system than performing any other task. In fact, most all of a teacher's duties are 
linked to some form of communication, either verbal or nonverbal. It is no wonder that one 
in three teachers will feel some type of fatigue, exhaustion, weariness, or even burnout by 

Chapter Fifteen - 202 

the end of a school year. There is nothing more demanding or taxing than communicating 
with numerous persons day in and day out. A teacher is constantly adapting, readjusting, 
and changing to meet the communication needs of her or his audience. This chapter will 
focus on the many roles of the classroom teacher, symptoms of burnout, causes of burnout, 
and methods for preventing or reducing teacher burnout. 

Teaching: A Multifaceted Job 

As stated earlier, a teacher has a multifaceted job. The roles that a teacher performs 
are many. Some of the most common roles teachers are expected to perform are: 
controller, pedagogical manager, supporter, evaluator, facilitator, disciplinarian, formal and 
informal authority, expert, socializing agent, change agent, arbitrator, and primary 
communicator. All of these roles are demanding, require communication, and reflect on the 
teacher's performance in the eyes of others. Teachers rarely communicate in isolation and 
their communication is not a one-way, hypodermic needle type of communication. Teachers' 
communication is an interactive process, in which teachers communicate, others react, and 
the process continues. Hart (1986) suggests the interactive process of teaching: "Teachers 
act. They act on people. And they are acted upon in return. This is the physics of educating" 
(p. 5). 

Galvin (1990) views the many roles of teachers as interactive. In viewing roles as 
interactive, she posits a description of three dimensions of interactive roles. The three 
dimensions are: the personality and background of the teacher; the relationships the 
teacher is involved in while holding the position of teacher; and the school expectation and 
feedback. Each of the dimensions impacts a teacher's life and performance. 

Galvin (1990) states "your personal characteristics and previous experience affect 
classroom behavior" (p. 196). For example, if you are a very responsive and immediate 
instructor, you will expend a lot of time and energy establishing a positive, affective 
relationship with your students. If you attended college where there was an emphasis on 
the interpersonal, nonverbal, organizational, and intercultural aspects of a classroom 
environment, then you would have different expectations about how you should manage, 
organize, and teach your classes. 

In addition, Galvin suggests that our students' personal characteristics and previous 
experiences affect our classroom behavior. For example, if our students are homogeneous 
in terms of socioeconomic status, religion, background, language, and so on then these 
characteristics impact their expectations of us and how we organize our classroom. 

Chapter Fifteen - 203 

She states, "your relationships with students, faculty, and administration will also 
influence your role" (p. 197). If you seem to have a strong communication rapport with 
most of your students, then you will have less difficulty communicating with most of your 
students, whereas, if you have a poor communication rapport with most of your students, 
then you will have more difficulty communicating with most your students. If you are 
homophilous with, and well-liked by, most of your colleagues, you may have a better 
communication relationship with them. On the other hand, if you are too dissimilar and not 
well-liked by most your colleagues, then you may have a less-than-perfect communication 
relationship with them. Lastly, if you understand organizational policy, work within the 
system, and are not too aggressive with your supervisor, then you may survive better than 
teachers who do not work within the system, do not obey organizational policy, and are 
aggressive with their supervisors. 

"Institutional expectations directly affect your teaching" (p. 197). All of us are 
expected to follow the established guidelines of the organization. If we manage recess, 
collect lunch money, do bus duty, handle extracurricular activities, and turn in grades when 
expected, we will probably be left alone by our administrators. Whether we like it or not, 
there are many mundane expectations attached to our job which we must follow in order to 
avoid conflict with our administrators. 

In conclusion, "roles are inextricably bound to the communication process. Teacher 
and student roles are developed and maintained through communication" (Galvin, 1990, p. 
197). The roles we perform as teachers are often many and complex. The roles we perform 
as teachers all involve some form of verbal or nonverbal communication. It is the 
communication attached to these roles that is one of the primary instigators of teacher 
burnout. Since the teachers' roles we will be discussing require major amounts of 
communication, it is likely some of us will be burned out after several years, or perhaps only 
months, of attempting to meet these roles. Before we discuss symptoms of burnout, we will 
review the many roles of an instructional manager. 

Roles of an I nstructional Manager 

While there are hundreds of roles that a teacher performs on a daily basis we have 
chosen to use the primary role functions provided by Galvin (1990). She explicates five 
major role functions. They are: providing content expertise; providing learning 
management; providing evaluative feedback; providing socialization; and providing personal 

Chapter Fifteen - 204 

Providing Content Expertise 

"The finest teachers care passionately about their subject. They find joy in tall<ing 
about the field of study that pervades their lives" (Galvin, 1990, p. 200). Regardless of our 
content area of expertise, each of us is committed to disseminating knowledge to our 
students so that they can grow, develop, and foster a love of learning. Whether we are 
English, math, science, communication, home economics, or foreign language teachers, we 
are constantly striving to learn more and enrich ourselves in our field of content so that we 
can keep up-to-date with our content area. We not only want to stay up-to-date for 
ourselves but so that we have current knowledge which we can disseminate to our students. 

Learning i^lanagement 

"Not only must teachers know their subjects; they must communicate them 
effectively with learners" (Galvin, 1990, p. 201). Learning management means creating a 
classroom environment in which there are numerous instructional opportunities to learn, to 
demonstrate learning, and to communicate with the instructor. Every teacher can be 
successful by using instructional strategies or methods which enhance student learning and 
recall. Every teacher can be successful by implementing communication strategies which 
allow the student to ask questions, discuss subject matter, bring up new ideas, or comment 
on previous ideas. Learning management is not simply finding the right teaching style for 
you or the best instructional method. Learning management is being able to effectively 
communicate with the student so the student wants to ask questions, pursue more content, 
and recall the content at a later date. The most successful teachers are cognizant of the 
importance of effective teacher communication in relation to learning management. The 
most successful teachers are effective communicators of content. 

Providing Evaluation and Feedbacic 

One of the more difficult roles we have to fulfill is that of providing evaluations and 
feedback to our students. The evaluation or feedback process often interferes with the 
successful transmission of information to our students. Students, regardless of their age, 
usually perceive feedback to be evaluative, most likely negative, and a way the teacher 
uses to demonstrate her or his power. Grades, of course, are the most common form of 
feedback in the instructional process. Teachers must work hard at mastering a number of 
ways of giving evaluations or feedback to their students. Grades cannot be the only form of 
feedback. For most of us, if grades were the only form of feedback, we would have quit long 
ago. The same is true for many of our students. 

Chapter Fifteen - 205 

Providing feedbacic and evaluations in sucin a way tinat students will not be "turned 
off" to the teacher, the task, or the content, takes a very highly skilled communicator. 
Teachers must decide what feedback works well, when, and how to use it. This suggests 
that we must be constantly communicating with our students, and changing to adapt to 
their needs. This, basically is what we are doing. As teachers we are constantly giving 
evaluative feedback of some type to our students and they are constantly evaluating us. 
The skilled communicator knows when to use peer feedback, peer assistance, written 
feedback, oral feedback, one-on-one feedback, one-to-many feedback, encouragement, 
supportiveness, and responsiveness. 

Providing Socialization 

"Classrooms are the settings for academic socialization to an entire field and to ways 
of thinking" (Galvin, 1990, p. 202). Classrooms are the environments where students learn 
about the world, societal rules, peoples of the world, economy, governments, everyday 
events, cultural happenings and displays, and the communication process. We provide our 
students insight into all the above. Galvin notes: 

As a representative of an academic field and an academic way of life, a 
teacher discusses his or her intellectual positions, research interests, and the 
process of intellectual growth. Students question, react, and contribute 
positions learned elsewhere, (p. 202) 

While many outside of education like to think our impact in the socialization arena is low, we 
know better. Our communication impact on our students assists them in cultural, social, and 
academic awareness. 

Personal Role Models 

"Teachers teach who they are as well as what they believe intellectually" (Galvin, 
1990, p. 203.). Through our verbal and nonverbal communication behaviors we teach our 
students who we are, what we are, and what we believe. From the first moment a student 
spies us in our schools, he or she is formulating an opinion of who we are based upon our 
communication behaviors. We should constantly ask, "How do our students see us?" Do 
they view us as friends, mentors, counselors, enemies, rule breakers, rule maintainers, 
active participants in the classroom, passive participants in the classroom, conflict 
managers, or as irrelevant to them? 

Chapter Fifteen - 206 

We teach our students how we feel about them, the classroom, the subject, the text, 
the school, the administrators, and the educational model through our communication. We 
cannot not communicate our feelings to our students. We cannot not communicate how we 
feel about them. We cannot not communicate how we feel about ourselves to them. Our 
students expect to see us as friends, positive role models, and mentors. Our students 
expect to see us as competent communicators, knowing how, when, and what to 
communicate, and being able to communicate effectively. They expect us to be effective 
communication role models, which means we are constantly on the spot to be "perfect" 

The preceding five functions encompass most roles that teachers are expected to 
fulfill in the classroom. The key to successful fulfillment of the five functions is successful, 
competent, teacher communication. Learning to communicate effectively is not as easy as 
one might think. Like any other subject it takes time, effort, study, and practice. And like 
any other subject we can have successes and failures. Being a competent communicator can 
reduce classroom problems and disturbances, and increase student affect. Attempting to 
fulfill all these roles and the communication demands of each role may be a factor in 
teacher burnout. Below is a discussion of symptoms and causes of teacher burnout. Lastly, 
methods for handling or coping with burnout will be discussed. 

Teacher Burnout 

Every few months there is a new listing of jobs that cause burnout. It seems that on 
every list the job of "teacher" is very near the top of the list, if not in the top five jobs that 
cause burnout. Here is a listing of some jobs that commonly carry the potential for burnout 
besides teaching: psychologist; nurse; doctor; social worker; air traffic controller; 
counselor; stock market trader or analyst; truck driver; insurance executive or salesperson; 
lawyer; garment industry buyer; dentist; minister; middle level mangers; and child care 
persons. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the potential burnout jobs. This is only a 
sampling of the jobs that have the potential for employee burnout. 

The fact remains that "teacher" is usually near the top of every list of potential jobs 
that cause burnout. Why is our job so taxing? Why are we likely candidates for burnout? 
What is burnout? Job burnout is an affliction where an employee begins to slowly but 
steadily and surely feel fatigued, weary, tired, discouraged, uncomfortable, disenfranchised, 
disengaged, hostile, and inadequate in her or his job position. Teacher burnout is when a 
teacher begins to gradually but surely feel fatigued, weary, tired, discouraged. 

Chapter Fifteen - 207 

uncomfortable, disenfranchised, disengaged, inostile, and inadequate about \r\er or \r\\s job 

Burnout or "battle fatigue" or "school fatigue" does not occur overnight; it is a slow, 
creeping, insidious, affliction that steadily works its way into a teacher's spirit. Eventually, if 
unnoticed or not managed, burnout can lead to feelings of dislike, discontent, hostility, and 
non-caring on the part of the teacher. Let us be specific about two points: 

1. Teachers who are caring, committed, dedicated, and competent 
communicators are most likely to be prone to experience burnout. 

2. Teachers who are constantly talking (whining) about burnout, overwork, and 
over commitment are not likely to be candidates for burnout. In fact, these 
whining teachers are more than likely contributing to the more competent 
teachers' burnout. 

It is the rare person who recognizes burnout in her or himself before a colleague, 
friend, or spouse recognizes it. Those who talk about how "burned out they are" are 
probably not. Paradoxically, it is the committed, dedicated, hard working, competent 
communicators and teachers who are prone to burnout. The rarely recognize it until 
someone else points it out to them and then they often don't believe their colleague. Why, 
then, are teachers who are competent communicators prone to burnout? Because they are 
constantly bombarded with many communication circumstances, which require them to be 
experts. They are experiencing communication overloads on a daily basis. The average 
teacher talks to or with more than thirty persons on a daily basis. Each of these 
communicative situations demands a different style of communication. Those of us who are 
in high communication demand jobs are simply more prone to burnout, even if we are the 
most competent of competent communicators. It is ironic that competent communicators 
are prone to burnout, but it makes sense. Below is a discussion of the symptoms of teacher 

Symptoms of Teacher Burnout 

In order for someone to be a candidate for burnout, they must have a number of the 
symptoms and they must have the symptoms for a long period of time. Burnout does not 
occur overnight. Burnout is a process of beginning to feel weary, tired, and unconcerned 
about our job and the people we used to care about. Remember, you must have had a 

Chapter Fifteen - 208 

number of the symptoms below for a long period of time before you can say you are 
experiencing burnout. 

Communication Symptoms 

Communication disorders or negative change in one's communication style is a 
major, if not the major, symptom of teacher burnout. A teacher who is normally caring, 
concerned, dedicated, and committed gradually begins to communicate non-caring, non- 
concern, non-dedication, and non-commitment. This type of change in communication style 
is a definite sign that the teacher may be experiencing burnout. Other forms of 
communication may be present. For example, the teacher may communicate hostilities, 
anxieties, frustrations, and inadequacies that they never communicated before. They 
become hostile, anxious, frustrated, and often feel inadequate in their communication 
attempts. They have lost their self-assuredness, confidence, and dedication. They will often 
communicate in a hostile manner with colleagues, administrators, and students, when they 
never did in the past. Communication disorders could also include teacher destructive 
communication strategies such as: calling students, colleagues, or administrators by ugly 
names; attempting to control all communication situations; withdrawing from many 
communication situations; creating communication distractions when others are talking; 
being rude in conversations by interrupting others or ignoring others' communications; 
talking in a dull, monotone voice; mumbling; rambling in conversations; disregarding or not 
listening when others are talking to them; often asking others to repeat comments or 
questions; making ugly jokes about others; seem to have misplaced their sense of humor; 
and communicating with nonverbally aggressive or isolating behaviors (e.g., physically 
pushes students, or keeps the door to office closed when it used to be open and so on). 

Physiological Symptoms 

Physiological symptoms are also major predictors of teacher burnout or fatigue. 
These symptoms can be isolated by the individual but they often don't pay attention to 
physiological changes. Some of the symptoms we will refer to are non-gender specific, while 
others clearly are female or male symptoms. Some physiological symptoms of burnout are: 
High blood pressure; high blood sugar or increased glucose level; weight gain or weight 
loss; increased or a slowed heart rate; dryness of the mouth; insomnia; increased sleeping 
patterns; profuse sweating; dilation of eyes; increase in aches and pains; headaches; 
migraines; swallowing problems; digestive problems; hypertension; increase, recurrence, or 
emergence of allergies, asthma, or other medical problems; colitis; ulcers; difficulty 

Chapter Fifteen - 209 

urinating or need to urinate more often; menstrual problems; and hot or cold flashes. Often 
a person who is experiencing burnout, has chronic, continued physical deterioration which 
others notice but they often don't notice. Occasionally we can recognize another teacher in 
our school who is having a physical metamorphosis right before our eyes. He or she is 
physically falling apart. 

Behavioral Symptoms 

Behavioral symptoms or actual behaviors are also predictors of teacher burnout or 
fatigue. Some of the behavioral symptoms are: Becoming accident prone; falling; not 
watching where walking; emotional outbursts; odd physical behaviors or ticks develop; 
impulsive actions occur; nervous giggle or laughter; needs a prescription drug or alcoholic 
reinforcer during the day; begins or increases smoking; consumes more food; and seems 
nervous or anxious most of the time. Last but not least are clear-cut job related or 
organizational symptoms. 

Organizational Symptoms 

Organizational symptoms are behavioral and attitudinal changes which occur in 
teachers as a function of being burned out. In reading these behaviors keep in mind that 
they are changes in a person's normal behavior. Below are some of the organizational 
behaviors or symptoms teachers exhibit when approaching burnout: Tardiness or lateness 
for work or class; cavalier attitude about paperwork, assigned duties, and school policy; at 
times border line insubordination; refusal to do any extra assignments other than what is 
the normal teaching assignment; refusal to participate in teacher or school workshops; 
breaks school rules; ignores school rules; student projects, papers, and assignments turned 
back late, if at all; skips or fails to perform minor duties, such as in cafeteria during lunch; 
leaves class often; ignores students who don't follow school policy; encourages students 
and others teachers to break school policy; and generally conveys the attitude that "I can 
do what I want, you can't fire me," or the attitude that says "I just don't care anymore." 
Figure 16.1 is a measure you might use which lets you determine how you feel about your 

In conclusion, no one behavior or attitude is predictive of teacher burnout or fatigue. 
As stated earlier, there must be a number of symptoms that occur over a long period of 
time to assume that one is experiencing burnout. The first symptoms to look for are either a 
negative change in communication style or physiological symptoms. It is the caring. 

Chapter Fifteen - 210 

competent communicators and teachers who are most prone to burnout. If you are one of 
these, begin watching for burnout before it has consumed you. 

Teacher Burnout Measure 

Directions: Complete the following measure and calculate your score. This measure is 
designed to determine how you currently feel about your job and its related aspects. There 
are no right or wrong answers. Work quickly and circle your first impression. Please indicate 
the degree to which each statement applies to you by marking whether you: 

Strongly Agree 




Strongly Disagree 






1. I am bored with my job. 

2. I am tired of my students. 

3. I am weary with all of my job responsibilities. 

4. My job doesn't excite me any more. 

5. I dislike going to my job. 

6. I feel alienated at work. 

7. I feel frustrated at work. 

8. I avoid communication with students. 

9. I avoid communication with my colleagues. 

10. I communicate in a hostile manner at work. 

11. I feel ill at work. 

12. I think about calling my students ugly names. 

13. I avoid looking at my students. 

14. My students make me sick. 

15. I feel sick to my stomach when I think about work. 

16. I wish people would leave me alone at work. 

17. I dread going into a classroom. 

18. I am apathetic about my job. 

19. I feel stressed at work. 

20. I have problems concentrating at work. 

SCORING: Add up your scores for all 20 items. 

INTERPRETATION: 20-35 means you have few burnout feelings; 36-55 means you have 
some strong feelings of burnout; 56-70 means you have substantial burnout feelings; and 
71-80 means you are experiencing burnout. 

Figure 16.1 Teacher Burnout Measure 

Causes of Teacher Burnout 

While there may be many causes of teacher burnout, the two primary causes are 
continued job stress over long periods of time and communication overloads. These two 
factors combined with other variables such as personal, financial, physical, or emotional 

Chapter Fifteen - 211 

problems can cause a good, effective teacher to become a poor, ineffective teaciner. Again, 
job stress over long periods of time can contribute to burnout, as can, communication 
overloads over long periods of time. Both combined form a deadly effect of causing a good, 
caring, dedicated teacher to gradually but slowly turn into a poor, ineffective, non caring 
teacher. Of course, the outcomes of burnout are devastating. The teacher may feel useless 
in her or his job. The teacher may negatively impact student behavior, performance, 
communication, and affect. The teacher may lose the esteem and respect of her or his 
colleagues and administrators. And lastly, the teacher may lose esteem and respect for her 
or himself. It is a shame but more and more teachers are reporting burnout and there 
doesn't seem to be a quick, workable solution available. We should do all we can do to avoid 
burnout and assist any colleagues we think are experiencing burnout. 

One major cause of burnout can be attributed to a crisis that may arise in an 
individual's life. According to Roberts (1991), a crisis "can be defined as a period of 
psychological disequilibrium, experienced as a result of a hazardous event or situation that 
constitutes a significant problem that cannot be remedied by using familiar coping 
strategies" (p. 4). Pittman (1987) explains further, "A crisis results when stress comes to 
bear upon a system and requires change outside the system's usual repertoire" (p. 4). 
Pittman (1987) goes on to discuss the different types of crises that can arise. All crises 
affect an individual at work because these crises have a tendency of zapping one's strength 
away, which makes it very difficult for the person to concentrate, and ultimately leads to 
lower productivity, harsher feelings towards one's work, and eventually burnout. 

Bolts from the Blue 

Though this form of crisis is the least likely to strike, these crises can cause a person 
to experience psychological disequilbrium. This type of crisis is a crisis that is completely 
unavoidable and just comes out of nowhere: house burns down, collapsed economy, air 
plane crash, lottery ticket wins, black sheep of the family returns home. 


Humans experience developmental crises all through our lives. Events like births, 
marriages, deaths, child launching (when a child leaves the nest), retirement, and death are 
all examples of developmental crises. These crises are unavoidable and often influence us in 
ways that are completely unexpected. A person may love teaching, but when her or his 
spouse dies, the teaching is no longer rewarding and the person becomes burned out. 

Chapter Fifteen - 212 


Structural crises are crises tinat occur because a member of tine family on a recurring 
basis does not allow the family to exist in equilibrium. Examples of structural crises are 
alcoholic/drug addicted family members, violent family members, or adulterous family 
members. These members of our family prevent us from being able to concentrate on 
anything but their care. Eventually all of our energy goes into caring, or enabling, this 
family member that outside factors (such as work) just seem like annoyers. 


Caretaker crises are crises that occur when a person who is supposed to have power 
is not exercising her or his power correctly. If a subordinate suddenly finds that he or she 
has to do not only their job, but also their boss's job at the same time, this can lead to a 
caretaker crisis. This kind of crisis can effect a family when a child finds her or himself in a 
parental position. In essence, the person who has legitimate power is forcing a subordinate 
who does not have legitimate power into a position that requires the necessary legitimate 
power for action to occur. This leads to burnout because a person is given too much to do 
too quickly, with no preparation. 

Methods for Avoiding Burnout 

1. One of the primary means of avoiding burnout is to avoid overloads for long 
periods of time. Remember it is the caring, high achieving teacher who is most likely to 
suffer burnout. Therefore, on occasion we need to say in a firm, but polite way "NO" to 
someone's request to perform an extra duty or do an extra job. Often we don't realize how 
overloaded we are until we are to the point of exhaustion and then we don't know what to 

2. Every time we accept a new assignment, we should attempt to realign or 
redistribute other assignments. If this means moving another responsibility onto another 
colleague, then we should do so. Each of us can only effectively handle so many 
responsibilities before we aren't handling any of them well. Before we get caught in the 
"overload trapping" let's give up some of our responsibilities. It is bad enough to be 
overloaded, but it is worse to do a poor job. 

3. Avoid communication with others which might lead to conflict. Conflict in an 
organization can wear us down, take time away from our jobs, and leave us in a state of 
depression, confusion, and burnout. For example, severe conflict such as labor versus 

Chapter Fifteen - 213 

management can cause an employee to feel overloaded, depressed, depersonalized, and 

4. Reduce the physical demands or stresses placed on us at work and home. While 
this suggestion may seem trivial, sometimes demands such as moving furniture, carrying 
heavy loads, lifting, working in a poorly lighted environment, working in a foul environment, 
working in high temperatures, or working in overly crowded, highly dense environments can 
cause stress to increase. If we can reduce physical stresses then we might be able to reduce 
psychological stresses. 

5. We should attempt to reduce uncertainty in our school environment. Miller, Ellis, 
Zook, & Lyies (1990) suggest that uncertainty reduction can have a positive impact on 
stress and help prevent employee burnout. By participating in certain decision making 
groups, procuring needed information about our jobs, and seeking needed feedback from 
others, employee uncertainty can be reduced and burnout can be avoided. 

6. Teachers need a communicatively responsive support group available to them just 
as many other American workers and professionals have. Teachers need to communicate 
with someone who understands, has empathy for, and can communicate about their 
problems. Too often schools assume that teachers can handle any problem because they 
handle so many problems in their daily educational lives. Teachers are like other 
professionals, they are very good at handling problems which arise in the work 
environment, but terrible at managing their own problems. 

7. Teachers who are on the road to burnout should reduce the communication 
demands in their environment or at least give themselves "five minutes off from 
communication." This is not to suggest that teachers should avoid communication with 
others. It is a suggestion to have more control over whom, how long, how often, and when 
we communicate with someone or about a certain issue. Often we feel in order to be 
effective communicators we have to communicate all the time, when in fact in order to be 
an effective communicator we need to have effective communication. Occasionally take "five 
minutes off from the communication" that surrounds you in your school. This allows you to 
collect your thoughts and feel less stressed. 

8. Occasionally say to yourself, "good job, nice work, way to go, I made it through 
another day." Cognitively and orally restructuring how we react to our days and situations 
can make any day or situation more manageable. As H. Peck Sr. used to tell his children, 
"Sometimes you have to be your own best cheerleader." As B. Peck used to tell her 
children, "Be kind to yourself, stop being so hard on yourself." In conclusion, practice 
random acts of kindness and caring on yourself once in awhile. 

Chapter Fifteen - 214 

Mentoring to Prevent Burnout 

There's an old story about a parakeet named Pretty Boy. Over many years Pretty 
Boy's master had taught him to sing a number of songs. The master would name a song, 
and Pretty Boy would just start to sing away. One day the master was using a vacuum 
attachment that was just perfect to clean Pretty Boy's cage. The phone rang and Pretty 
Boy's master picked up the phone and stopped paying attention to the hose. The next thing 
the master knew the parakeet got sucked up into the vacuum cleaner. In fear, the master 
ripped open the vacuum cleaner's bag finding Pretty Boy among the dirt and grime. The 
master quickly rushed Pretty Boy to the nearest sink and gave Pretty Boy a bath. Realizing 
the error in this bath, the master quickly grabbed a hair dryer to dry the scared bird. A 
week later, a reporter named Marlene from the local paper heard about the famous 
parakeet's mishap. She went to the master's house and asked the master how Pretty Boy 
was doing. Without expression, the master turned and looked at Marlene and said, "Pretty 
Boy doesn't sing much anymore. He just sort of sits and stares." 

The story of Pretty Boy is a great example of some of the problems teachers face in 
the schools. During teacher education at the collegiate level, teachers are taught to sing a 
lot of great songs. Sadly, when the teacher is placed into the school, they are often not 
prepared for what is expected. The vacuum hose called students quickly causes many 
unexpected problems, the bath of paperwork drowns the teachers even more, and the hair 
dryer of administration quickly tries to take care of situations in an ineffective manner. All of 
these things combined together cause a teacher who at one point was ready to sing on 
request, to become stagnant and just sort of "sit and stare." According to an article in 
Techniques: Connecting Education & Careers (2000), 50% of teachers in urban areas leave 
in their first year. This number is even higher for teachers living in rural areas. With the 
coming crisis of teacher shortages, coming up with new ways to retain teachers is becoming 
increasingly important. One way to retain teachers is through in-school and out-of-school 
mentoring programs. 

Mentoring, as a concept, goes back thousands of years to Homer's epic poem Tiie 
Odyssey. Homer tells the story of an elderly and wise sea captain named Mentor who gives 
Odysseus's sun, Telemachus, guidance while his father is gone on his long journey. In 
modern times, the word mentor is used to refer to a relationship where one individual with 
more knowledge and experience aids another individual who has less knowledge and 
experience. Bell (2000) defines a mentor as "someone who helps someone else learn 
something that he or she would have learned less well, more slowly, or not at all if left 

Chapter Fifteen - 215 

alone" (p. 53). Blair-Larsen (1998) believed that the basic goal of a mentoring program 
"whether implemented at the state or local level is to offer intervention that orients new and 
returning teachers to the school and community and to provide instructional and 
interpersonal support that fosters professional development and retention of teachers" (p. 

While there are a number of different ways to enter into a mentoring situation, we 
discuss three different types of mentoring programs. First, individuals can enter into a 
mentoring partnership like Bell (2000) suggests. In this form of mentoring, the mentor and 
the person being mentored realize that they can learn from each other. As we become more 
grounded in our fields, we often forget to listen to new perspectives and ideas. By 
mentoring an individual who has less experience, a more seasoned professional can learn 
some new ideas while imparting the wisdom they have received over the years through 

A second mentoring perspective is through co-mentoring groups. Co-mentoring 
groups, as Lick (2000) suggests, involve the whole faculty as a mentoring tool. Lick 
describes the co-mentoring groups as those "in which members of the group mentor one 
another. In constructive co-mentoring groups, each person acts as a sponsor, advocate, and 
guide. They teach, advise, critique, and support each other to express, pursue, and finalize 
goals" (p. 47). In this type of mentoring concept, mentoring is an ongoing process in which 
everyone plays a role. While these types of groups are hard to get started and keep 
maintained, the benefits of mentoring beyond just the first year of teaching can be very 

The third approach to mentoring is a new approach that a number of universities are 
using around the nation to keep up with first-year teachers entering the field. Eisenman and 
Holly (1999) noticed that most mentoring programs do not provide types of support 
necessary for continued professional development of the novice teacher. For this reason, the 
research team investigated the use of telementoring as a possible fix to correct this 
problem. Telementoring is using new technology to allow professional teachers to 
communicate with other teachers and university professors as a means of mentoring. 
Students were able to log onto a specific web page to keep in touch with students they went 
to school with, ask questions, and discuss problems related to the field. Overall, this method 
of mentoring was shown to be effective and all of the teachers involved in the mentoring 
program stayed beyond their first year. 

In summary, if you are burned out or moving toward burnout, you will not be any 
good in the classroom, for your school, or to yourself. You will have hostile feelings about 

Chapter Fifteen - 216 

others, feel dehumanized, feel alienated, and feel as if you are an inadequate communicator 
and teacher. In order to remain a competent communicator and professional you must learn 
to reduce stress, reduce communication overloads, and reduce workloads. If burnout 
overcomes us, we will not be effective professional educators, communicators, or personal 
role models. If you are not good to yourself, no one else will be good to you either. Good 
teachers are hard to find so let's take care of ourselves. 

References and Recommended Readings 

Bell, C. R. (2000). The mentor as partner. Training & Development, 54, 52-56. 
Blair-Larsen, S. M. (2000). Designing a mentoring program. Education, 118, 602-604. 
Bloch, A. M. (1977). The battered teacher. In A. S. Alschuler with J. Carl, R. Leslie, I. 

Schweiger, & D. Uustal (Eds.). Teaciier burnout. Washington, DC: National Education 

Canter, L., & Canter, M. (1994). Tlie iiigii performing teaciier: Avoiding burnout and 

increasing your motivation. Santa Monica, CA: Lee Canter and Associates. 
Eisenman, G., & Thorton, H. (1999). Telementoring: Helping new teachers through the first 

year. THE Journal, 26, 79-82. 
Galvin, K. M. (1990). Classroom roles of the teacher. In J. A. Daly, G. W. Friedrich, & A. L. 

Vangelisti (Eds.). Teaching communication: Theory, research, and methods, (pp. 

195-206). Hillsdale, NJ : Lawrence Eribaum. 
Golembiewski, R. T., & Munzenrider, R. F. (1988). Phases of burnout: Developments in 

concepts and applications. New York: Praeger. 
Lick, D. W. (2000). Whole-faculty study groups: Facilitating mentoring for school-wide 

change. Theory into Practice, 39, 43-49. 
McCroskey, J . C. (1998). An introduction to communication in the classroom (2"^ Ed.). 

Acton, MA: Tapestry Press. 
Mentoring May. (2000). Mentoring may aid teacher retention. Techniques: Connecting 

Education & Careers, 75 (4), 9. 
Miller, K. I., Stiff, J. B., & Ellis, B. H. (1988). Communication and empathy as precursors to 

burnout among human service workers. Communication Monographs, 55, 250-265. 
Miller, K. I., Ellis, B. H., Zook, E. G., & Lyies, J. S. (1990). An integrated model of 

communication, stress, and burnout in the workplace. Communication Research, 17, 

Pittman, F. (1987). A theory of family crisis: Ideas about stress and snag points. In Turning 

points: Treating families in transition and crisis (pp. 3-27). New York: Norton. 

Chapter Fifteen - 217 

Richmond, V. P., & McCroskey, J. C. (1992). Organizational communication for survival. 

Englewood Cliffs, NJ : Prentice Hall. 
Roberts, A.R. (1991). Conceptualizing crisis theory and the crisis intervention model. In A.R. 

Roberts (Ed.), Contemporary perspectives on crisis intervention and prevention (pp. 

3-8). Englewood Cliffs, NJ : Prentice-Hall. 
Shinn, M., Roasrio, M., Morch, H., & Chestnut, D. E. (1984). Coping with job stress and 

burnout in the human services. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 


Chapter Fifteen - 218 


To Mrs. Russell: 
Without You This Never 
Would Have Happened 

Growing up, I was the child that everyone dreaded to have show up in their 
classroom. I was unruly, talkative, and slow. As early as Kindergarten the teachers decided 
that I was too slow to keep up with the other children, so I was placed with other slow 
learners. All throughout my elementary career I was anything but the ideal student. I was a 
troublemaker. In the second grade, students who misbehaved were forced to wear a red 
block of wood with a gigantic sad face painted on it called a sad face block. When a student 
was forced to wear the block, s/he could not talk to anyone but the teacher. I personally 
think I still have a rope chafe from where the rope bit into the back of my neck on almost a 
daily basis. 

My grades were also the poorest declaration of a school system. If I was lucky, I got 
the occasional C. My parents hoped that one-day I would actually be allowed to graduate 
high school, or at least get a GED and go work at some fast food restaurant. In the third 
grade, my teacher truly hated me. When my grandfather had visited one day, he demanded 
that I be removed from the teacher's classroom because of the spiteful and mean spirited 
way that she related to me. 

Then when I was in the fourth grade, the resource (the term used for slower 
students) classroom was taken away because they needed the space for "normal" students. 
After searching throughout the entire building, the administration decided that our class was 
to be held in a janitor's closet. Throughout my entire elementary career I was constantly 
being told by teachers and administrators that I was stupid, slow and just not good enough 
to be with the other students. To say that my self-esteem was "Shot to Hell" would be 
putting it nicely. I often felt like I had been God's only mistake. I felt useless, dumb, and 
bad. Being forced to wear a red block that symbolized that I had made a mistake, forced me 
to become introverted and unaware to life's joys. Being told that I was not good enough to 
have a classroom, but that there was a lovely janitor's closet where I could learn, made me 
think that I was only as good as the trash that inhabited my classroom. Constantly being 
told that there was no hope for me and that I might as well not even try, had killed the 
spirit of a once bright and eager child. 

At the beginning of my sixth grade year, I was given the opportunity to join the 
school orchestra. The only problem was that if I joined orchestra I would not be able to be 

Appendix A - 219 

in resource any longer. My parents and the school administrators hashed it out and it was 
decided that I would be allowed to join the orchestra. Therefore, I joined the main stream of 
the school for the first time. 

My homeroom teacher was a gentlewoman of about forty-five. She welcomed me 
into her class on the first day of school with a big smile and the desire to teach. The sixth 
graders were located in portables or classrooms that a school district can transport from one 
place to another when a school needs more classes and it would be too expensive to add on 
to the school. This was the first time that I was in a classroom where I could only see and 
hear my teacher. Before this, all of the "regular" classrooms had been in open-concept 
classrooms - these are classrooms where there are no walls and doors between the 
connecting classrooms. In these classrooms, students could see and hear everything that 
was going on in every room around them. This had always made it extremely hard for me to 
focus on what the teacher was saying, and since I was a poor student, I had always been 
placed in the back of the room near the other classrooms. 

Having a closed room in the sixth grade allowed me to focus only on what the 
teacher was saying, and not everything else that was going on around me. My homeroom 
teacher was named Mrs. Russell. Mrs. Russell was a first year teacher at my school, even 
though she had been teaching for years elsewhere. She was friendly and would only be 
negative when she absolutely had to discipline a child. 

Mrs. Russell decided at the beginning of the year that every student in the room was 
going to have a specific job within the classroom. I was quickly assigned to be the desk 
monitor. I half think that I got this specific job because my desk was the most horrendous 
area anyone could ever imagine. My job was very simple, after school each day I would 
check everyone's desk and make sure that it was clean. If the person's desk was clean, I 
would put a blue piece of paper on it. If a student collected five blue strips they would then 
get candy from Mrs. Russell. If their desk was dirty, they would receive a yellow strip of 
paper and be forced to give up all of their blue strips. If a student received two of these, 
they would be held after school in detention. I was the one who came up with the entire 
idea. Mrs. Russell used this format of checking desks until the day she retired in May 1997. 
For the first time in my life I had a passion about something. I loved the power that being 
the desk monitor actually gave me. I never once abused the power because I knew that 
Mrs. Russell had instilled trust in me to be just. Over and over she would compliment me on 
doing a great job. She also would say things like, "You're going to grow up and be 
something pretty special." "You can do anything you want in life Jason, as long as you put 
your mind to it." 

Appendix A - 220 

Mrs. Russell was the first teacher who had ever been nice to me. She told me that I 
was a person. She showed me that I was a good person despite what the sad block had 
said. She told me that I was smart; I just had to apply myself and do the work. She told me 
that I was worthy of living as a human being. Many people talk about that one teacher that 
just absolutely changes their life. Mine would definitely have had to have been Mrs. Russell. 

That year my grades went from C's and D's to A's and B's. The dramatic change 
came simply because one teacher loved and cared enough to take the time to work with me 
and show me how much she cared. As one former president of the National Speakers 
Association, Cavett Roberts, once said, "They don't care how much you know, until they 
know how much you care!" 

At the end of my sixth grade year I was encouraged by Mrs. Russell to apply to the 
honors junior high school. I discussed it with my parents and we decided that I should try to 
apply. I filled out the paper work and acquired the proper recommendations, but figured I 
had no chance of making it. 

About a month later, my principal announced over the loud speaker that anyone who 
had applied to a magnet school needed to come to the main office. All of the students who 
had applied to the honors junior high mingled around the room. Some leered at me 
wandering what "the dummy" (what many classmates referred to me as) was doing there. 
Since my last name starts with a "W," I was the last one to get their letter of acceptance or 
rejection. I took a huge breath and gulped as I slid my finger under the envelope's sealant. 
I was in! I leaped for joy and told everyone I saw. I had gone from being one of the dumb 
resource kids to being in an honors junior high school. There were many people around the 
room who had not been accepted into the program. People that had always stuck their 
noses in the air when I walked by thinking of me as the "dummy" did not even get into the 
school. I had finally come around in my academic life. 

Not only did I go to the honors junior high, but I also went to the honor's high school 
and ended up graduating Magna Cum Laude from college. My road to academic and 
intellectual maturity has been a tough one at many times. I often wonder how many kids 
like myself were left on the side of the academic road. How many brilliant kids never meet 
their Mrs. Russell and therefore never achieve the potential that they actually have. I also 
wonder where I would be if I had not had a teacher who showed me that she cared. 

Currently I am finishing my doctorate in communication studies and curriculum and 
instruction (who would have guessed). I have also had the opportunity to teach classes on 
the University level. If anything, Mrs. Russell has inspired me to be the kind of teacher that 
she was for me. I hope that I will always recognize a diamond in the rough. I hope that I 

Appendix A - 221 

will never pass a student on thinking that they just are not smart enough. I hope that I will 
boost my students' self-esteem, not destroy it. Mrs. Russell is a very hard act to follow as a 
teacher, but is a wonderful role model. 

I'll never forget the day I entered into my old elementary school for Mrs. Russell's 
retirement party. I had never stepped foot in the building since I left. I had kept in touch 
with Mrs. Russell. When I had graduated from high school, she and her husband sent me a 
graduation present. When I had a short stint as a radio talk show host for a Christian radio 
station, Mrs. Russell was my biggest fan. 

Walking into that school brought a flood of emotions upon me. I remember looking 
at the door that led to the janitor's closet where I had spent a lot of the fourth grade. I 
remember seeing classrooms and feeling the torment that went along with those rooms. But 
then there was Mrs. Russell, the woman whom I had come to say thank you. Even now as I 
write, I still have huge tears that swell in my eyes as I think about her generosity and loving 

I gave her a small teddy bear (the school's mascot) with a huge bouquet of balloons 
from my family. (My dad had wanted to build a monument in her honor, but that would 
have been going a little over board, right?) I also gave her a copy of a paper I had written 
in college dealing with an event or person that changed your life. 

It often amazes me at how God knows when we need someone the most and 
miraculously places him or her in our lives at those times. Without Mrs. Russell in my life, 
who knows where I would have gone and what I would have done? 

When I graduated with my undergraduate degree, I dedicated my undergraduate 
thesis (just like I will for my master's thesis and my doctoral dissertation) to "Mrs. Russell - 
With out you this never would have happened." 

Reprinted with Permission from the Author 

Wrench, J. S. (2000). To Mrs. Russell. In D. James (Ed.) Teens Can Bounce Back: Stories 
for the Waves of Life, (pp. 85-92). Camp Hill, PA: Horizon Books. 


We sincerely hope after reading this textbook, that you can be Mrs. Russell for all of 
your students. Mrs. Russell was a teacher who was like you. She did her job and built affect 
in her classroom. Building affect in the classroom is unbelievably important. This story could 
have been about you. 

Appendix A - 222 


Accomodator (Type IV Learner): These learners perceive information concretely and 
process it actively. They learn well by trial and error, with teachers who serve as evaluators 
and remediators, but who encourage self-discovery. They are dynamic learners with a very 
practical orientation; they prefer to teach themselves and then share what they have 
learned with others. 

ADDI E: I nstructional design model that stands for Analyze- Design- Develop-I mplement- 

Affective Learning: Learning that emphasizes behaviors and objectives that have some 
emotional overtones and encompasses a learner's likes and dislikes, attitudes, values and 

Assimilator (Type II Learner): These learners perceive information abstractly and 
process it reflectively. Schools are traditionally designed for these learners, who value 
sequential thinking, details and expert opinion. They are data collectors, more interested in 
ideas than applications, and they learn best with teachers who assume the role of 
information giver. 

Attitude: A predisposition to respond to people, ideas, or objects in an evaluative way. 

Behavioral Self: Aspect related to self-concept that evaluates how one acts or what one 
does (e.g., I play, I read, I ride a bike, I go to school, I do nothing, etc.). 

Belief: Our perception of reality about whether something is true or false. 

Bolts From the Blue: A crisis that comes out of no where (e.g., house burns down, you 
are robbed, etc.). 

Bullying: The use of verbal and/or nonverbal messages to intimidate another person. 

Caretaker Crisis: A crisis that occurs because a person who is suppose to have power is 
not exercising her or his power correctly (e.g., when the child has to take care of her or his 

Chronemics: The ways in which different cultures perceive and use time. 

Closed-Ended Questions: Type of question that provides a small range of possible correct 
answers. Answers can be predicted, require limited thought by the student, and can be 
answered with brief responses. 

Cognitive Learning: Learning that emphasizes recall or recognition of knowledge and the 
development of intellectual abilities and skills. 

Communication: The process of a person or persons stimulating meaning in the mind of 
another person or persons by means of verbal and/or nonverbal messages. 

Communication Apprehension: The fear or anxiety associated with either real or 
anticipated communication with another person or persons. 

Glossary - 223 

Converger (Type III Learner): These learners perceive information abstractly and 
process it actively. They seek utility and enjoy solving problems that test theories against 
common sense. They resent being given answers, and they have a limited tolerance for 
"fuzzy" ideas that cannot be applied practically. They learn best with teachers who act as 
coaches while facilitating hands-on experience. 

Crisis: A period of psychological disequilibrium, experienced as a result of a hazardous 
event or situation that constitutes a significant problem that cannot be remedied by using 
familiar coping strategies 

Developmental Crisis: A crisis that comes when entering a part of the life cycle (e.g., 
birth, marriage, death, etc.). 

Diverger (Type I Learner): These learners perceive information concretely and process it 
reflectively. They are innovative, imaginative, and concerned with personal relevance. They 
need to clarify the ways in which a new concept or area of study links with previous 
experiences before they are receptive to learning it. They learn best through methods that 
encourage brainstorming and empathy. 

Esteem Needs: Needs affiliated with the desire to have status, dignity, respect, 
recognition, attention, and to be appreciated by others. 

Evaluation Apprehension: The fear or anxiety associated with either real or anticipated 
evaluative situations in the classroom. Often EA relates to test anxiety. 

Formative Feedback: Form of feedback/ evaluation where learners are assessed 
throughout an instructional unit to determine where problems are encountered in mastering 
prerequisite or needed skills. 

Haptics: The study of the type, amount, uses of, and the results of tactile behavior. 

Identity Self: Aspect related to self-concept that evaluates who or what we are (e.g., I am 
a student, I am a friend, I am a club president, I am a thug, etc). 

Immediacy: The degree of perceived physical or psychological distance between people in 
a relationship. 

Instructional Communication: The process of the teacher establishing an effective and 
affective communication relationship with the student/learner so that the learner has the 
chance/opportunity to achieve the optimum/ideal/best success level in the instructional 

Instructional Objectives: Statements that describe what students will be able to do after 
completing a prescribed unit of instruction. 

J udging Self: Aspect related to self-concept that evaluates what we do and who or what 
we are (e.g., I am an effective student, I am a poor student, I am a lousy football player, I 
am a bad student, I am the troublemaker in class, etc.). 

Kinesics: The study of the communicative aspects of gestures and bodily movements. 

Glossary - 224 

Learning: The acquisition of l<nowledge/information/sl<ills winicin results in a cinange in 
tlninl<ing and/or beinavior in one or all of the three learning domains. 

Learning Environment: Physical and/or psychological circumstances/surroundings in 
which learning takes place. 

Learning Preference: The choice of one learning situation or condition over another. 

Learning Style: The manner in which an individual perceives and processes information in 
learning situations. 

Learning Theory: Problematic social scientific theory for human behavior that alleges that 
humans are born as "blank slates" with no personality characteristics, so humans must 
learn their personalities. 

Love and Belongingness Needs: Needs that encompass a hunger for affection, caring, 
belongingness, and perhaps love. 

jviastery Learning System: System of learning that allows each student to spend 
whatever time is needed to master content before being presented with new material. 

jviodified i^lastery Learning System: System of learning based on the mastery learning 
system but limits the number of opportunities students have for demonstrating mastery of 
instructional objectives. 

Need for Affection: A learner's need associated with being liked and giving and receiving 
affection from others. 

Need for Control: A learner's need associated with being capable of making decisions. 

Need for Inclusion: A learner's need to have successful associations and interactions with 
other students. 

Oculesics: The study of eye behavior, eye contact, eye movement, and the functions of eye 

Open-Ended Questions: Type of question that provides a wide range of appropriate 
responses and require a higher level of thinking. 

Overpersonal: Ramification of a student not achieving her or his need for affection in the 
classroom that leaves her or him too open, too honest, reveals too much (often 
inappropriate) information about themselves, rush relationships, throw caution to the wind, 
quick to reveal intimate information about themselves, and prone to ignore academic needs 
in order to satisfy their need for affinity. 

Personality: A person's phenotype, or the interaction between an individual's genotype 
(see temperament) and her or his environment (nurture, diet, socialization, etc.), which is 
a reflection of her or his experiences, motivations, attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors. 

Personality Traits: An individual's predispositions for responding in a certain way to 
various situations. 

Glossary - 225 

Physiological Needs: Basic needs such as food, water, air, sleep, rest, and need for 
activity or stimulation. 

Poker Chip Theory: Theory of learning that metaphorically sees the teacher as a poker 
dealer who has the ability to either take away a player/learner's chips. The chips represent 
the player/learner's self-esteem. 

Proxemics: The study of the ways in which humans use and communicate with space. 

Psychomotor (Behavioral) Learning: Learning that emphasizes performance of a motor 
act or skill. 

Receiver Apprehension: The degree to which individuals are fearful about misinterpreting, 
inadequately processing, and/or being unable to adjust psychologically to incoming 

Reflected appraisal: Shaping of one's self-concept by messages received from others. 

Rhetorical/ Relational Theory of Instructional Communication: Theory of instructional 
communication proposed by Beebe and Mottet that examines student and teacher needs 
and goals in the classroom. 

Safety Needs: Needs for safety or protection from threats of harm or actual physical harm. 
Skill Lesson: The mental and motor activity required to execute some manual tasks. 

Self-Actualization Needs: Needs associated with the desire to do or be what you are 
uniquely suited for. Maslow only believed that a VERY select group of people ever truly self- 
actualized in history (Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, and Ghandi). 

Self-Concept: The beliefs and attitudes we have about ourselves, or the totality of the 
perceptions we have about ourselves. 

Self-Esteem: Refers to the way a person evaluates her/himself in terms of overall worth. 
The way we perceive ourselves and our actions and our opinions regarding how other 
people perceive us. 

Social Comparison: Shaping of one's self-concept through conscious and unconscious 
comparison of others. 

Structural Crisis: A crisis that occurs because of a member of the family - often recurrent 
(e.g., alcoholic family member, abusive family member, etc.). 

Student Misbehavior: Verbal or nonverbal communication behaviors which interfere with 
student learning or another student learning. 

Summative Feedback: Form of feedback/ evaluation where learners are provided feedback 
by a teacher at the completion of a unit of instruction. 

Teacher Apprehension ( Fear of Teacher) : The fear or anxiety associated with 
interacting or communication with teachers. 

Glossary - 226 

Teacher Clarity: The process by which an instructor is able to effectively stimulate the 
desired meaning of course content and process in the minds of students through the use of 
appropriately-structured verbal and nonverbal messages. 

Teacher Indolence: Form of teacher misbehavior epitomized by repeated teacher absence, 
repeated tardiness, unprepared and disorganized, deviation from syllabus, late return of 
work, and information overload. 

Teacher Incompetence: Form of teacher misbehavior epitomized by unclear lectures, 
apathy towards students, unfair testing, boring lectures, information overload, lack of 
knowledge of subject matter, unintelligible foreign or regional accents, inappropriate 
volume, and bad grammar/spelling. 

Teacher Misbehavior: Verbal or nonverbal communication behaviors which interfere with 
student learning. 

Teacher Offensiveness: Form of teacher misbehavior epitomized by inappropriate 
sarcasm/putdowns, verbal abuse, unreasonable/arbitrary rules, sexual harassment, 
negative personality, and favoritism/prejudice. 

Temperament: An individual's genotype, characteristics present early in life caused by 
human biology. 

Traditional Learning System: System of learning focuses on the teacher as the dispenser 
of information and is targeted to the average student, so the responsibility of learning rests 
with the student. 

Underpersonal: Ramification of a student not achieving her or his need for affection in the 
classroom that leaves her or him cold, unfeeling, cautious about relationships, reveal only 
superficial information, because of reluctance to reveal information the teacher and other 
students inaccurately interpret and inappropriately respond to the student's communication 

Values: Our enduring conceptions of the nature of right and wrong, good and bad. 

VARK Model: Learning style model created by Neil Fleming to represent the Visual-Aural- 
Reading-Kinetic learning modalities. 

Vocalics (paralanguage): The study of the communicative value of vocal behavior and 
includes all oral cues in the stream of spoken utterances except the words themselves. 

Vulture Statements: Self-generated, self-defeating statements that people make to 
themselves that have a negative effect on both self-esteem and self-concept. 

Writing Apprehension: The fear and anxiety associated with writing situations. 

Glossary - 227 

Glossary - 228 

I ndex 

Ability, 73, 84, 85 

Abstract Conceptualization, 44 

Academic Achievement, 4, 82 

Academic Needs, 3, 45 

Accommodator, 44 

Action Verb, 22, 23 

Active Experimentation, 44 

Active/Constructive Behaviors, 127 

Active/ Destructive Behaviors, 128 

ADDIE Model, 3, 12, 13, 14, 15 

Affective Learning, 6, 44, 45, 229 

Affective Learning Levels, 6 

Affective Orientation, 46 

Alessi, J r., S. J ., 27 

Allen, M., 71, 186 

American Society for Training and 

Development, 10 
Ames, C, 110, 111 
Ames, R., 110, 111 
Analysis, 5, 12 
Andersen, J ., 39 

Animated Communicator Style, 173 
Appropriate Student Behaviors, 140 
Assessment, 4, 5, 44, 41, 53, 92, 94, 100 
Assimilator, 44, 229 
Attentive Communicator Style, 174 
Aural, 42, 233 
Austin, N. A., 41 


Baker, E.L., 121 

Ball, O.E., 55 

Bandura, A., 120 

Barbazette, J., 40 

Barbe, W.B., 52 

Barker, L.L., 16, 27, 28, 111 

Bassett, L., 71 

Bauman, I ., 71 

Baume, D., 53 

Beane, J . A., 27 

Beatty, M. J., 145, 206 

Beebe, S. A., 7, 8, 9, 11, 232 

Begley, S., 206 

Behavioral Self, 80, 158, 229 

Behavioral Symptoms of Teacher Burnout, 

Bell, C. R., 223 
Bellon, J. J., 143 
Bernthal, P. R., 10, 11 
Biech, E., 8, 12, 14, 16, 27, 28, 40 
Blair-Larsen, S. M., 223 
Bloch, A. M., 223 
Bloom, A.D., 120 
Bloom, B. S., 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 16, 27, 28, 

40, 44, 58, 116, 117, 119, 120, 180 
Bloom, B.S., 16, 27, 28, 40, 120 
Blount, N.S., 40 
Book, C.L., 40 
Borg, W. R., 27 
Bourhis, J ., 71 
Bowers, J. W., 186 
Brandenberg, D.C., 111 
Branson, R. K., 12, 16 
Braskamp, L.A., 111 
Bridging, 4, 49, 50 
Briggs, K.C., 54 
Brophy, J., 71, 111 
Brophy, J. E., 71 
Bruno, A., 52 

Bullying, 130, 135, 143, 144, 229 
Burnout, 6, 213, 214, 217, 219, 221 

Canfield, J., 90 

Canter, L., 91, 143, 168, 223 

Canter, M., 91, 143, 168, 223 

Carbo, M., 52 

Carnevale, A. P., 40 

Categories of Student Behaviors, 5, 127, 

Cavanaugh, D.P., 55 
Cegala, D.J., 16, 27, 28, 111 
Chall, J. S., 8, 11 
Chance, P., 120 
Chavez, L., 91 
Check, J.F., 40 
Chesbro, J. L., 58, 186 
Chesebro, J . L., 186 
Chestnut, D. E., 224 
Choleric, 6, 190, 192, 198, 199, 200, 201, 

Christophel, D.M., 40 

Index - 229 

Chronemics, 182, 229 

Civikly, J. M., 186 

Classroom Anxiety, 4, 65, 66, 67, 68 

Classroom Management, 5, 137, 142 

Cognitive Learning, 5, 229 

Cognitive Learning Levels, 5 

Collingwood, V., 40 

Colteryahn, K., 10, 11 

Communication Apprehension, 4, 17, 28, 

40, 41, 42, 58, 59, 54, 55, 57, 58, 59, 

91, 111, 143, 144, 145, 156, 168, 169, 

186, 187, 223, 229 
Communication Strategies, 3, 4, 68, 88 
Communication Symptoms of Teacher 

Burnout, 215 
Communicator Style, 6, 170, 172 
Competition, 5, 104 
Comstock, J ., 186 
Conceptual Level, 46 
Conceptual Tempo, 46 
Concrete Experience, 44 
Conolly, J., 143 
Content Expertise, 211 
Contentious Communicator Style, 173 
Converger, 44, 230 
Cooley, C. H., 168 
Cooperation, 5, 104, 106 
Coopersmith, S., 91 
Covington, M., 91, 111 
Cox, J. L., 12, 16 
Craig, W., 143 
Creative Commons, 2, 10 
Crisis, 229, 230, 232 
Crisis - Bolts from the Blue, 218 
Crisis - Caretaker, 219, 229 
Crisis - Developmental, 218, 230 
Crisis - Structural, 106, 180, 219, 232 
Criterion- Referenced Evaluation, 94, 95, 

98, 101 

Daly, J . A., 27, 39, 40, 41, 42, 59, 53, 60, 

71, 112, 223 
Davis, P., 10, 11, 40 
Dembo, M., 58 
Descriptive Feedback, 5, 97 
Design, 3, 12, 14, 229 
Development, 4, 5, 12, 14, 17, 54, 55, 

77, 110, 159, 223 
Diverger, 44, 230 
Dobos, J. A., 145, 206 
Doek, E. D., 143 

Dolin, D. J., 155 

Dominant Communicator Style, 172 

Dornbusch, S.M., 111 

Doyle, W., 155 

Dramatic Communicator Style, 172 

Dreikurs, R., 143 

Duckworth, E., 58 

Dunn, K., 58, 52, 53 

Dunn, R., 58, 52, 53, 55 

Dyke, R., 55 

Edgerly, J.W., 111 

Eisenberg, E. M., 186 

Eison, J .A., Ill 

Elkind, D., 121 

Ellis, B. H., 224 

Embedded Figures Task, 43 

Englehart, M. D., 16, 27 

Esteem Needs, 230 

Evaluation, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 44, 

50, 63, 64, 65, 94, 211, 230 
Evaluation Apprehension, 4, 63, 64, 65, 

Evaluative Feedback, 5, 94 
Everle, B.M., 55 
Evertson, C. M., 71 
Extinction, 138, 139 
Eye Contact, 182 
Eysenck, H. J., 206 
Eysenck, M. W., 206 

Fairbairn, D.M., 40 

Feedback Loop, 11 

Ferrarra, F., 27 

Field Dependent, 43 

Field Independent, 44 

Flanders, N. A., 71 

Fleming, N., 42, 53, 206, 233 

Formative Feedback, 92, 230 

Friedrich, G. W., 27, 39, 40, 41, 42, 59, 

53, 112, 223 
Friendly Communicator Style, 175 
Friere, P., 121 

Frymier, A., 7, 11, 58, 183, 187 
Fundamental Interpersonal Relations 

Orientation, 50 
Furman, J . P., 12, 16 
Furst, E. J., 5, 16, 27 

Index - 230 

Gainer, L. J., 40 

Gall, J. P., 27 

Gall, M. D., 27 

Galvin, K. M., 223 

Ginott, H., 91 

Glasser, W., 58 

Golden, F., 206 

Golembiewski, R. T., 223 

Gooding, C, 42 

Gorham, J ., 1, 2, 7, 27, 40, 42, 61, 53, 

145, 180, 187 
Gregor Mendel, 190 
Gronlund, N., Ill 
Grunwald, B., 143 
Guskey, T., 121 


Halzer, R. J., 143 

Handler, J. R., 143 

Hannum, W. H., 12, 16 

Haptics, 181, 230 

Hays, E. R., 155 

Heisel, A. D., 145, 206 

HerberJ. N., 58 

Herber, H. L., 58 

Hierarchy of Needs, 43, 54 

High Achievers, 84 

Hill, K., 71 

Hill, W. H., 5, 16, 27, 71, 120, 228 

Hirsch, E.D., 121 

Hodell, C, 8, 12, 16, 27 

Holmes, J., 40 

Holmes, R., 59 

Hoover, J. H., 143 

Horn, E., 59 

Horn, R.E., 42 

Houser, M. L., 58 

Hughes, D.C., 40 

Humor Assessment, 183, 184, 185, 188 

Hunt, D.E., 53, 54 

Hurt, H. T., 16, 71, 143, 155 

Hypocrites, 189, 190 

Identity Self, 81, 158, 230 
Immediacy, 180, 181, 186, 230 
Implementation, 12, 15 

Impression Leaving Communicator Style, 

Inappropriate Student Behavior, 141 
Infante, D. A., 143 
Information Processing, 42 
Instructional Communication, 1, 4 
Instructional Context, 3, 9 
Instructional Needs, 51 
Instructional Objectives, 3, 10, 230 
Instructional Procedures, 10, 11 
Instructional Strategy, 3, 8 
Interpersonal Needs, 3, 48 
Ivey, M. J., 155 


Jessie, K., 52 

Johnson, D.W., 111 

Johnson, R.T., 111 

Jones, L. S., 58 

Jones, V. F., 58 

Judging Self, 81, 158, 230 

Kagan, J ., 54 

Karp, S.A., 55 

Kazanas, H. C, 7, 17, 28 

Kearney, P., 143, 144, 145, 155 

Keefe, J.W., 54 

Kelley, D.H., 40 

Kelly, B.W., 40 

Keltikangas-Jarvinen, L., 144 

Kibler Model of Instruction, 3, 1, 9, 10, 

12, 16, 27, 28, 111 
Kibler, R.J., 16, 28, 111 
Kinesics, 182, 230 
Kinetic, 42, 233 
King, F. J., 12, 16 
Klausmeier, H.J ., 40 
Knox, A. B., 41 
Kohn, A., Ill 
Kolb, D., 44, 45, 54 
Kowalski, P., 156 
Krathwohl, D. R., 5, 6, 7, 8, 16, 27, 28, 

44, 58 

Laing, R. D., 168 

Lawson, K., 28 

Learning Management, 211 

I ndex - 231 

Learning Preference, 231 

Learning Style, 4, 61, 41, 44, 45, 48, 231 

Learning Style Inventory, 44, 48 

Learning Theory, 231 

Lemonick, M. D., 206 

Leonard, G., 58 

Lick, D. W., 223 

Littauer, F. L., 206 

Littauer, M., 206 

Lyies, J. S., 224 


Mager, R.F., 28, 111 

Martin, M. M., 59 

Masia, B.B., 16, 28, 44, 58 

Maslow, A. H., 43, 54, 55, 59, 232 

Mastery Learning, 5, 115, 231 

Matching, 4, 49 

McAliley, C, 42 

McCarthy, W., 54 

McCaulley, M.H., 54 

McCroskey, J . C, 7, 8, 9, 11, 16, 17, 28, 
30, 41, 42, 44, 51, 56, 58, 59, 60, 57, 
58, 59, 70, 71, 72, 74, 91, 112, 121, 
123, 127, 143, 144, 145, 149, 155, 
156, 168, 169, 180, 181, 186, 187, 
188, 190, 206, 223, 224 

McCroskey, L. L., 11, 71, 91 

McFarlane, E., 41 

McGhee, P. E., 186 

McPherson, M. B., 143, 155 

Measurement, 93, 111 

Mehrabian, A., 186 

Meisgeier, C, 54 

Meisgeier, E., 54 

Melan, E., 144 

Melancholy, 6, 190, 192, 195, 196, 197, 
198, 199, 201, 203, 205 

Meltzer, A. S., 40 

Menesini, E., 144 

Mentoring, 6, 221, 223 

Miles, D.T., 16, 28, 111 

Miller, K. I., 224 

Miller, M. D., 71 

Mills, C, 53 

Milone, M.N., 52 

Milton, O., Ill 

Moderate to Good Achievers, 84 

Modified Mastery Learning, 5, 118, 231 

Morch, H., 224 

Mottet, T. P., 7, 8, 9, 11, 59, 143, 155, 
186, 232 

Munzenrider, R. F., 223 
Murphy, E., 54 
Myers, I.B., 54 
Myers, S. A., 59 


Napell, S.M., 41 

Nash, J., 207 

Natriello, G., Ill 

Naughton, J., 10, 11 

Negative reinforcement, 138 

Nicholls, J ., 55 

Niebrand, C, 59 

Nonachievers, 84 

Norm- Referenced Evaluation, 94, 95, 98, 

Norton, R., 170, 171, 172, 173, 175, 176, 

178, 187, 224 
Nussbaum, J ., 39 
Nyquist, J.D., 41 

Oliver, J., 54 

Oliver, R., 143 

Oltman, P.K., 55 

Omelich, C, 111 

Open Communicator Style, 174 

Orecklin, M., 144 

Organizational Symptoms of Teacher 

Burnout, 216 
Ory, J.C, 111 
Overpersonal, 231 
Owens, R. E., 144 
Owleus, D., 144 

Pakaslahti, L., 144 

Passive/Constructive Behaviors, 128 

Passive/ Destructive Behaviors, 128 

Pearson, J .C, 41 

Pepler, D., 143 

Pepper, F. C, 143 

Perceptual Modality, 41 

Peretti, F., 145 

Perrin, J ., 55 

Personal Role Models, 212 

Personality Blends, 6, 203 

Personality Plus, 190, 205 

Personality Type Indicators, 47 

I ndex - 232 

Peters, R. J., 41 

Phlegmatic, 6, 190, 192, 201, 202, 203 

Physical Aggression, 131, 132 

Physical Aggression - Control/Task, 132 

Physical Aggression - Object Violence, 132 

Physical Aggression - Physical 

Confrontation, 132, 133 
Physical Appearance, 182 
Physiological Needs, 232 
Physiological Symptoms of Teacher 

Burnout, 215 
Piaget, J., 144 
Pignatti, B., 144 
Piskurich, G., 8, 12, 16, 27, 40 
Pittman, F., 224 
Plax, T. G., 143, 144, 145, 155 
Poker Chip Theory of Learning, 4, 87 
Pollack, W., 145 
Pollio, H.R., 111 
Popham, W.J., 121 
PRCA-24, 58, 59 
Preassessment, 10, 92 
Precise Communicator Style, 175 
Price, G.E., 53, 55 
Providing Socialization, 212 
Proxemics, 181, 232 
Psychomotor Learning, 7 
Psychomotor Learning Levels, 7 
Punishment, 139, 141, 142 
Punishment I, 139 
Punishment 1 1, 139 
Punyanunt, N. M., 183, 187 
Purkey, W. W., 91 

Raskin, E., 55 

Rayner, G. T., 12, 16 

Reading, 16, 40, 58, 42, 53, 55, 71, 143, 
155, 233 

Receiver Apprehension, 4, 60, 232 

Reflected Appraisal, 159 

Relaxed Communicator Style, 174 

Reynolds, C.R., 55 

Rhetorical and Relational Perspectives, 7 

Richmond, V. P., 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 11, 17, 41, 
42, 59, 60, 57, 58, 71, 72, 91, 112, 
121, 127, 143, 144, 145, 146, 155, 
169, 180, 181, 183, 184, 186, 187, 
188, 224 

Riegel, T.R., 55 

Roach, K. D., 9, 11, 146, 155 

Roasrio, M., 224 

Roberts, A.R., 224 

Rocca, K. A., 59 

Rogers, C, 121 

Rosenfeld, L. B., 168 

Rothwell, W. J ., 10, 11, 7, 17, 28 

Rowe, M., 42 

Rowell, E., 186 

Rubin, R.B., 112 

Rudd, J. E., 145, 206 

Safety Needs, 232 

Sanguine, 6, 190, 192, 193, 194, 195, 

197, 198, 201, 203, 205 
Saywell, J., 41 
Schutz, W., 59, 169 
Scott, M. D., 16, 58, 71, 72, 143, 155 
Scott, R.L., 42 
Seller, W.J., 42 
Self, L., 53 

Self-Actualization Need, 232 
Shaping, 138, 232 
Shinn, M., 224 
Shor, I., 121 
Silvernail, D. L., 91 
Simon, M., 91 
Simon, S. B., 169 
Smith, E., 42 
Smith, V. R., 144 
Social Comparison, 161, 232 
Sorensen, G., 144 
Spielberger, C. D., 72 
Stiff, J. B., 224 
Stipek, D., 59, 72, 112, 156 
Stipek, D. J., 59, 72, 112 
Stock, G., 42 
Student Affect, 3, 44 
Student Misbehavior, 5, 232 
Student Self-Concept, 4, 74, 77, 80, 84, 

85, 88 
Style-Flexing, 4, 49, 50 
Summative Feedback, 92, 232 
Swassing, R.H., 52 
Swensen, C. H., 169 
Swift, J., 42 
Symptoms of Teacher Burnout, 6, 214 

Talley, M., 187 
Tardash, A., 143 

I ndex - 233 

Teacher Apprehension, 60, 61, 62, 232 
Teacher as a Coordinator and Innovator, 

Teacher as a JVlanager, 36 
Teacher as a JVloderator, 32 
Teacher as a Speal<er, 30 
Teacher as a Trainer, 35 
Teacher Clarity, 178, 233 
Teacher Misbehavior - Incompetence, 150, 

Teacher Misbehavior - Indolence, 152, 

Teacher Misbehavior - Offensiveness, 151, 

Teacher Misbehaviors, 5, 150 
Teacher Self-Concept, 5, 158, 159, 166 
Telementoring, 222, 223 
Temperament, 6, 47, 191, 194, 202, 233 
Temperament Testing Scale, 191, 194, 

Terwilliger, J .S., 112 
Toepfer, J r., C. F., 27 
Torrance, E.P., 55 
Towne, N., 168 
Tyler, R.W., 28 


Underachievers, 84 
Underpersonal, 233 
Urbanska, W., 91 

Valencic, K. M., 145, 206 
Vangelisti, A. L., 27, 39, 40, 41, 42, 59, 
53, 112, 223 

VARK, 42, 233 

Verbal Aggression, 143 

Victims, 133, 135, 136 

Visual, 42, 233 

Vocalics, 181, 233 

Vulture Statements, 163, 169, 233 


Walker, O.M., 42 

Wanzer, M. B., 156, 186, 187 

Watson, K.W., 16, 28, 111 

Watson, R., 12, 16, 17, 28, 111 

Weaver, R.L., 42 

Wellins, R., 10, 11 

Wells, H. C, 90 

Wheeless, L. R., 72 

Wigley, C. J., 143 

Winters, R., 144 

Witkin, H.A., 55 

Wlodkowski, R., 60 

workplace learning and performance, 9, 

10, 11, 8 
Wrench, J . S., 1, 2, 7, 8, 11, 41, 42, 60, 

72, 91, 131, 132, 183, 184, 188, 228 
Writing Apprehension, 4, 233 
Wulff, D.H., 41 

Zenharusern, R., 55 
Zillmann, D., 183, 187 
Ziv, A., 183, 188 
Zook, E. G., 224 
Zuckerman, D.W., 42 

Index - 234