Term of Award

Spring 1998

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Garth Petrie

Committee Member 1

Harbison Pool

Committee Member 2

Cordelia Douzenis

Committee Member 3

Deborah Thomas

Committee Member 4

Patricia Lindauer


This study was designed to provide insight into the use of selected nonverbal behaviors as a behavior management tool in the elementary and middle school setting. The study included both experimental and control groups of preservice teachers in their senior year. The experimental group of preservice teacher participants was trained in the use of selected nonverbal behaviors. They received training in the use of nonverbal behaviors of expectancy, immediacy, withitness, dress, haptics, kinesics, prosody, and proximity. The control group received no such training.

Another group of preservice teachers were trained in observing and tallying student disruptions within the classroom. The researcher designed an observation instrument and manual specifically for this study. Student disruptions were divided into the following categories: (a) aggression, (b) inattention, (c) disrespect, (d) out of seat, (e) talking, and (f) touching. A category, "Other," was included to ensure that all disruptions were tabulated. This was a blind study in that the observers did not know who was trained or that training was even provided.

The data were analyzed by the use of independent-sample t-tests to see if statistical differences existed between the groups. Although no significance was found, there were observable differences in the mean number of student disruptions between the experimental and control groups. The experimental group had lower means in more categories of disruptions and overall than the control group. Although the control group reduced its mean number of disruptions from Visit 1 to Visit 3, the experimental group maintained a lower and more consistent mean number of disruptions for all three visits.

Conclusions were that preservice teachers, as a group, have a high number of classroom disruptions; 92% of classroom disruptions occurred within the categories of Disrespect, Inattention, Out of Seat, and Talking; and, within the categories of Aggression, Inattention, Out of Seat, Talkingand overall, the experimental group had fewer mean classroom disruptions than the control group. Further observations included that if classroom disruptions were reduced, the concerns of preservice teachers in the area of classroom management would be addressed. Suggestions for further study are included.


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