Cultural aspects of immediacy in an Asian classroom context

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3 Citations (Scopus)


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).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-34
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Classroom
  • Credibility
  • Immediacy
  • Nonverbal behaviour
  • Sino-speakers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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