|Abstract or Summary
- This investigation was designed to determine whether or not the
nonverbal behaviors of junior high and secondary school science students
could be systematically analyzed. It was further
determine what relationship exists between the nonverbal behaviors
of students and their attitude. The hypotheses investigated were as
H₁: A valid and reliable instrument for the systematic observation
of junior high school and/or secondary school student
nonverbal behavior can be developed.
H₂: A significant positive relationship exists between the measured
nonverbal behaviors exhibited by high school and/or
junior high school students and their attitude toward their
teacher and/or their class.
The first phase of the study involved pilot work. Ten video
tapes were made of junior high and secondary school students in typical
lecture-discussion activity. Student behaviors were recorded in handwritten
descriptions, and these descriptions together with results reported
in the professional literature were compiled into an instrument
designed to systematically quantify student nonverbal behavior.
After the instrument had been completed the researcher administered
a questionnaire to 181 students to determine their attitude
toward their teachers and courses. From the population of 181 students
a sample giving an extreme positive response and a sample giving
an extreme negative response to the questionnaire were drawn.
From the samples 54 20-minute video tapes were made -- 27 from the
positive sample and 27 from the negative sample. The behaviors were
then quantified using the instrument designed for that purpose. The
behaviors as related to attitude were then analyzed using discriminant
Hypothesis One was accepted based on the implicit characteristics
of the instrument, the nature of its development, and the method
of encoding behaviors. The method of development provided a comprehensive
catalogue of behaviors based on a sound theoretical framework,
The behaviors were actually signs rather than categories which contributed to precise definitions of each cue and virtually eliminated
the need for observer inference when the behaviors were coded. The
number of choices an observer was forced to choose among was small,
which further contributed to coding accuracy. Finally, time sampling
with a short time interval was used which prevented the "loss" of an
appreciable number of behaviors, and generally high coefficients of
inter-observer agreement were obtained, which contributed to the
instruments objectivity. These factors argue cogently for the instrument's
validity and reliability. Thus, Hypothesis One was accepted
based on the arguments cited.
Hypothesis Two was completely accepted in all cases. Two different
data measures were analyzed for the entire sample with both
measures showing highly significant relationships (p < . 005 for most
cases) between attitude and nonverbal behaviors. In addition a selected
subsample was analyzed as a check against a possible bias in
the sampling procedure. The results of the final analysis strongly
supported the results obtained from the total sample.
In sum the following variables were found to be significantly related
to positive attitude toward the teacher. (1) Gaze direction
toward teacher, (2) Taking notes, (3) Smiles, (4) Interactions with
teacher, and (5) Frequency of raising hand. Positive attitude was
found to be weakly related to (6) Forward lean, and (7) Object manipulation.
Negative attitude was found to be related to the following
variables. (1) Head on hands (or fist) with hands on desk, (2) Eyes
closed, (3) Frequency of yawns, (4) Frequency of negative head shakes,
and (5) Frequency of turning head to greater than 90° from immediate.
A weak relationship was found between negative attitude and (6) Supporting
head, (7) Self manipulation for girls, and (8) Head down for
boys. In each of the cases cited above a weak relationship does not
imply statistical insignificance. All variables were significant at 05
and most were significant well beyond . 005.
The results of the study support findings reported in the professional
literature by Hall, Mehrabian, and Rosenfeld.