López-Ozieblo, Renia (2016) Cultural Aspects of Immediacy in an Asian Classroom Context. Elia (15). pp. 13-34. ISSN 15765059

Among the various factors affecting students’ learning, immediacy is
probably the one that has been most studied over the last four decades. Immediacy,
a term coined by Mehrabian (1967), refers to verbal and nonverbal behaviours
used by interlocutors to decrease physical and physiological distance between
them, thus creating affinity, liking and affect. However, a number of questions arise
as to the suitability of the various immediacy scales and their cultural significance
in a non U.S. context, such as Hong Kong. Furthermore we were interested in
possible differences in teachers’ perception based on students’ motivation. This
paper presents the first part of an immediacy study, based on students of the
Department of English of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (looking into
mapping patterns of behaviours that increase immediacy). The results indicate
that Hong Kong students prefer the holistic approach of the Chinese traditional
teacher, a teacher who goes beyond just teaching in class, and that nonverbal
actions are not high in their list of preferred behaviours in teachers, such as
gestures, walking around the classroom or standing close to students (unlike what
has been observed among U.S. students).

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