Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

David Shellman


According to the Academic Development Institute (Walberg, 2010), elementary and middle school students linger behind students from other economically advanced countries on achievement tests and fall further behind during the school years. With a need to improve classroom instruction and enhance cognitive learning for students, this study focuses on immediate communication behaviors of the classroom teacher, both verbal and nonverbal, and student academic motivation as factors in improving learning proficiency in both math and reading. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teacher immediacy behaviors and teacher/student rapport on student motivation, engagement, and academic growth.

The researcher utilized a nonexperimental, quantitative research design to guide this study. Teacher and student data were collected using the Verbal and Nonverbal Immediacy Scale, the TRAAM (Teacher Rating of Academic Achievement Motivation), and AIMS (Atmosphere, Instruction, Management, Student Engagement) Classroom measure. Participants were encouraged to be honest in reporting information concerning teacher communication behaviors.

The data revealed that teacher immediacy behaviors, both verbal and nonverbal, were perceived differently in terms of student and teacher perceptions. The results showed that teacher self-ratings of their immediacy behaviors were significantly higher than student ratings of teacher immediacy behaviors. The results showed that teachers who display communication behaviors verbally had a positive impact on student reading proficiency while teachers with high nonverbal immediacy skills made a significant impact of academic achievement in math. The results also revealed that motivation was significant in determining competence in both reading and math.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.