(11) Pupil Evaluations of Teacher Messages in Three Channels of Communication

Hannelore Wass
University of Florida

Abstract: This study explored pupils’ perception and integration of multi- channel information contained in teacher-to-pupil communications. A set of videotaped scenes was produced in which three female elementary teachers enacted messages with varied positive (praising, friendly), neutral (without valuative content), and negative (blaming, unfriendly) connotations in three channels of communication: verbal (content), vocal (tone of voice), and visual (facial expression. smile or frown). Three hundred seven elementary pupils in grades three to six were asked to rate these messages as either “Good,” “Bad,” or “Not Good – Not Bad.” Results indicate that the verbal channel has the strongest impact, determining 80 per cent of the pupils’ over-all evaluation of a teacher’s message. Differences between grades were found. showing decreasing influence of the verbal channel with advancing grades. Negative verbal messages are perceived with similar strength at all four grade levels. Non-verbal messages tend to strengthen or weaken verbal messages. When the verbal channel carries neutral messages more children in lower grades than in upper grades turn to non-verbal channels for valuative clues.

Citation: Wass, H. (1973). Pupil evaluations of teacher messages in three channels of communication. Florida Journal of Educational Research, 15(1), 46-52.

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