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To avoid such misunderstandings, a teacher needs to note and remember students’ preferred gaze patterns at times when students are free to look wherever and at whomever they please. Traditional seats-in-a-row desk arrangements do not work well for this purpose; as you might suppose, and as research confirms, sitting in rows makes students more likely to look either at the teacher or to look at nothing in particular (Rosenfeld, Lambert,&Black, 1985; Razack, 1998). Almost any other seating arrangement, such as sitting in clusters or in a circle, encourages freer patterns of eye contact. More comfortable eye contact, in turn, makes for verbal communication that is more comfortable and productive.

Wait time

Another important nonverbal behavior is wait time , which is the pause between conversational turns. Wait time marks when a conversational turn begins or ends. If a teacher asks a question, for example, the wait time both allows and prompts students to formulate an appropriate response. Studies on classroom interaction generally show that wait times in most classes are remarkably short—less than one second (Good&Brophy, 2002). Unfortunately wait times this short can actually interfere with most students’ thinking; in one second, most students either cannot decide what to say or can only recall a simple, automatic fact (Tobin, 1987). Increasing wait times to several seconds has several desirable effects: students give longer, more elaborate responses, they express more complex ideas, and a wider range of students participate in discussion. For many teachers, however, learning to increase wait time this much takes conscious effort, and may feel uncomfortable at first. (A trick, if you are trying to wait longer, is to count silently to five before calling on anyone.) After a few weeks of practice, discomfort with longer wait times usually subsides, and the academic benefits of waiting become more evident.

As with eye contact, preferred wait times vary both among individuals and among groups of students, and the differences in expected wait times can sometimes lead to awkward conversations. Though there are many exceptions, girls tend to prefer longer wait times than boys—perhaps contributing to an impression that girls are unnecessarily shy or that boys are self-centered or impulsive. Students from some ethnic and cultural groups tend to prefer a much longer wait time than is typically available in a classroom, especially when English is the student’s second language (Toth, 2004). When a teacher converses with a member of such a group, therefore, what feels to the student like a respectful pause may seem like hesitation or resistance to the teacher. Yet other cultural groups actually prefer overlapping comments—a sort of negative wait time. In these situations, one conversational partner will begin at exactly the same instant as the previous speaker, or even before the speaker has finished (Chami-Sather&Kretschmer, 2005). The negative wait time is meant to signal lively interest in the conversation. A teacher who is used to a one-second gap between comments, however, may regard overlapping comments as rude interruptions, and may also have trouble getting chances to speak.

Even though longer wait times are often preferable, they do not always work well with certain individuals or groups. For teachers, the most widely useful advice is to match wait time to the students’ preferences as closely as possible, regardless of whether these are slower or faster than what the teacher normally prefers. To the extent that a teacher and students can match each other’s pace, they will communicate more comfortably and fully, and a larger proportion of students will participate in discussions and activities. As with eye contact, observing students’ preferred wait times is easier in situations that give students some degree of freedom about when and how to participate, such as open-ended discussions or informal conversations throughout the day.

Social distance

When two people interact, the physical space or distance between them—their social distance —often indicates something about how intimate or personal their relationship is (Noller, 2006). Social distance also affects how people describe others and their actions; someone who habitually is more distant physically is apt to be described in more general, abstract terms than someone who often approaches more closely (Fujita, et al., 2006). In white American society, a distance of approximately half a meter to a meter is what most people prefer when talking face-to-face with a personal friend. The closer end of this range is more common if the individuals turn sideways to each other, as when riding on an elevator; but usually the closest distances are reserved for truly intimate friendships, such as between spouses. If the relationship is more businesslike, individuals are more likely to situate themselves in the range of approximately one meter to a three meters. This is a common distance, for example, for a teacher talking with a student or talking with a small group of students. For still more formal interactions, individuals tend to allow more than three meters; this distance is typical, for example, when a teacher speaks to an entire class.

Just as with eye contact and wait time, however, individuals differ in the distances they prefer for these different levels of intimacy, and complications happen if two people expect different distances for the same kind of relationship. A student who prefers a shorter social distance than her partner can seem pushy or overly familiar to the partner. The latter, in turn, can seem aloof or unfriendly—literally “distant”. The sources of these effects are easy to overlook since by definition the partners never discuss social distance verbally, but they are real. The best remedy, again, is for teachers to observe students’ naturally occurring preferences as closely as possible, and to respect them as much as possible: students who need to be closer should be allowed to be closer, at least within reasonable limits, and those who need to be more distant should be allowed to be more distant.

Questions & Answers

what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
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what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
how to synthesize TiO2 nanoparticles by chemical methods
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
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Source:  OpenStax, Educational psychology. OpenStax CNX. May 11, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11302/1.2
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