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A Nonverbal Communication Study On The Application Of Classroom Seating Arrangements In Academic Setting At Hanoi School Of Public Health.pdf

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Output file VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES DEPARTMENT OF POST GRADUATE STUDIES ĐỖ THỊ THU TRANG A NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION STUDY ON THE APPLICATION[.] VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES DEPARTMENT OF POST-GRADUATE STUDIES ĐỖ THỊ THU TRANG A NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION STUDY ON THE APPLICATION OF CLASSROOM SEATING ARRANGEMENTS IN ACADEMIC SETTING AT HANOI SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH (NGHIÊN CỨU GIAO TIẾP PHI NGÔN TỪ VỀ VIỆC ÁP DỤNG CÁC CÁCH SẮP XẾP CHỖ NGỒI TRONG LỚP HỌC TẠI TRƯỜNG ĐẠI HỌC Y TẾ CÔNG CỘNG) M.A MINOR THESIS Field: English Linguistics Code: 60 22 15 Course: 15 Supervisor: Assoc Prof NGUYEN QUANG (Ph.D.) HANOI - 2009 TABLE OF CONTENTS PART I: INTRODUCTION……………………………………………… ….1 I Rationale…………………………………………………………………………………… II Aims of the study……………………………………………………………………………3 III Scope of the study………………………………………………………………… ………3 IV Methods of the study…………………………………………………………… V Design of the study………………………………………………………………………… PART II: DEVELOPMENT………………………………………………… CHAPTER I: LITERATURE REVIEW……………………………………………………… I.1 What nonverbal communication? I.2 Classroom communication styles and classroom seating arrangements………… .7 I.2.1 Teaching styles……………………………………………………………… I.2.2 Seating arrangements and teacher-student interactions…………………………………… I.2.3 Basic classroom seating arrangements……………………………………………………….11 I.2.4 Evaluation of classroom seating arrangements………………………………………… …21 CHAPTER II: METHODOLOGY……………………………………………………………23 II.1 Comments on the survey questionnaires……………………………………………… 23 II.2 Comments on the informants…………………………………………………………….24 CHAPTER III: FINDINGS AND DISCUSSIONS………………………………………… 25 III.1 The proxemics of classroom seating arrangement………………………………………26 III.1.1 The physical environment…………………………………………………………………… 26 III.1.2 The social environment……………………………………………………………………… 29 III.2 The application of classroom seating arrangements in ELT classes at Hanoi School of Public Health………………………………………………………………………… 31 III.2.1 Students responses…………………………………………………………………………… 32 III.2.2 Teachers’ responses……………………………………………………………………………33 PART III: CONCLUSION……………………………………………………35 I Summary of main findings………………………………………………………………….35 II Limitations……………………………………………………………………………… 36 III Suggestions for further study…………………………………………………………… 36 IV Implications……………………………………………………………………………….37 LIST OF TABLES Tables Table Content The teachers’ perceptions of teaching styles used Page 25 The students’ perceptions of physical environment in traditional Table lecture-style classrooms 27 The teachers’ perceptions of physical environment in traditional Table lecture-style classrooms 28 The students’ perceptions of social environment in traditional Table lecture-style classrooms 29 The teachers’ perceptions of social environment in traditional Table lecture-style classrooms 30 The students’ perceptions of the application of different classroom Table seating arrangements for different teaching styles 32 PART I: INTRODUCTION I Rationale It has now been widely accepted that the physical environment plays an important role in the learning and teaching process Cornell (2003) holds that the shift from passive learning to active learning requires students to be physically and mentally more uninterrupted, sitting is becoming a more engaged process where students are allowed “greater movement and positioning” (Cornell, 2003:3) Cornell believes that this more engaged process of learning reduces or eliminates drowsiness and muscle fatigue However, no research has provided evidence of whether or not and how the physical arrangement of seating supports the interaction and the efforts of students and the teacher Moreover, Sommer (1967) finds that the seating position that a student selects in a general-purpose classroom is highly correlated with his/her participation in the class For decades, the term “classroom” was characterized as a rectangular room where the “focus was directed to the front where the instructor exercised complete control of the pace, content, and sequence of activities” (Cornell, 2003:1) by using a blackboard and an overhead projector However, the traditional style of instruction, where the teacher delivers the information and students sit silently taking notes, is slowly being replaced with student-centered learning (Nair, 2000) This implies that the traditional type of seating arrangement (desk rows) should be replaced by more flexible ones, such as Ushape, modular or circular to foster interaction among students themselves, support communication with teachers, and motivate individual students to learn Halpern (1994) also agrees with Nair (2000) that effective learning rarely occurs passively As a result, “educators have come to realize that effective instruction focuses on active involvement of students in their own learning, with opportunities for teacher and peer interactions that engage students’ natural curiosity” (Halpern, 1994:11) Wolff (2002) states that in addition to more student-centered learning that current literature indicates a need for changing learning expectations to prepare students for the changing roles and responsibilities in work, family and community for the 21st century She discovers that cooperative, project-based learning is identified as a pedagogy that prepares learners for these new expectations by “conceiving, developing, and implementing projects relevant to the learners’ needs.” (Wolff, 2002:3) Through collaborative and project-based education, students have a means to learn critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, negotiation skills, and how to take responsibility for their own learning In 2002, Wolff conducted a study on design features of the physical learning environment that support and enhance cooperative, project-based learning at the community college level She found that all of the participants stated the need for flexibility in spaces used for cooperative and project based learning, i.e the classrooms Of the thesis author‟s training institution, Hanoi School of Public Health has a history of years It is a new school with a new major in Vietnam However, public heath is popular in almost all developed countries Most subjects such as epidemiology, environment, population, disaster, accidents and injuries, reproductive health, occupational health use course books and documents translated from English Therefore, English language teaching and learning at this school is considered one of the top priorities Moreover, many lecturers have graduated from world-famous universities, thus, having a lot of opportunities to experience different methods of teaching and different ways of seating arrangement The Dean of the school, Assoc Prof Dr Le Vu Anh, was one of the first Vietnamese medical workers to study public health in the United States He has offered good advice on rearranging students in a language lesson to make it more effective Actually, this has become a practical and necessary demand for a new classroom environment II Aims of the study The study aims at:  Reviewing and discussing different teaching styles and seating arrangements  Investigating the effects of seating arrangements on the socio-physical environment of the classroom  Discussing possible seating arrangements for various class activities at Hanoi School of Public Health III Scope of the study There are various seating arrangements for lecture halls, classrooms and laboratories However, this study focuses on four basic types of classroom seating arrangements They are: desk rows, U-shape, modular and circular The thesis is confined within the investigation and the application of classroom seating arrangements in academic setting at Hanoi School of Public Health with English classes as sample Finally, it is ideal to travel to developed countries such as the United States, where different seating arrangements are available, to take photographs, record or videotape some lectures as materials for the research Due to time constraint, geographical distance, financial difficulty and the scope of a minor thesis, the data used in this study are collected only by conducting survey questionnaires and based on the author‟s observation and experience Therefore, the thesis should only be regarded as a preliminary study with tentative conclusions IV Methods of the study The theoretical background presents a critical review of different publications The source of relevant information comes from books and the Internet The method used for the study is largely quantitative with illustration of tables The discussions of research findings are based mainly on the statistics of the survey questionnaires Comments on the statistics come from consultation with the supervisor, discussion with colleagues and the author‟s personal observation as well as her own experience V Design of the study The study consists of three main parts: Part I: Introduction Part II: Development – This part includes the following chapters Chapter I: Literature review Chapter II: Methodology Chapter III: Findings and discussions Part III: Conclusion PART II: DEVELOPMENT CHAPTER I: LITERATURE REVIEW I.1 What nonverbal communication? The term “non-verbal” is commonly used to describe all events of human communication that transcend spoken or written words According to Knapp (1980), nonverbal communication should not be studied as an isolated unit but as an inseparable part of the total communication process Nonverbal communication may serve to repeat, contradict, substitute for, complement or elaborate on, accent or emphasize, or regulate verbal communication Obviously, nonverbal communication is important because of the role it plays in the total communication system, the tremendous quantity of information cues it gives in any particular situation and because of its use in such fundamental areas of our daily life as politics, medicine, the arts, advertising, television, education, job interviews, and courtship It has been said, for example, that when we receive contradictory messages on verbal and nonverbal levels, we are more likely to trust the nonverbal message It is assumed that nonverbal signals are more spontaneous, harder to fake and less apt to be manipulated It has also been speculated that those who prefer nonverbal cues over verbal ones show a right-brain dominance Estimates have it that, in a normal two-person conversation, the verbal components carry less than 35 per cent of social meaning of the situation; more than 65 per cent of the social meaning is carried on the nonverbal level According to Knapp (1980: 4-21), the theoretical writings and research on nonverbal communication can be divided into the following seven areas:  Kinesics or body motion  Physical characteristics attractiveness, clothing) (including physique or body shape, general  Touching behaviour or haptics (tactile communication is probably the most basic or primary – as )  Paralanguage (including voice qualities and vocalizations)  Proxemics (the study of the use and perception of social and personal space)  Artifacts (including the use of objects such as jewellery and cosmetics and other decorations that may serve as nonverbal stimuli)  The environment or environmental factors within which the interaction occurs Nguyen Quang (2001:19) has a clear and sufficient classification of nonverbal communication as stated in the following diagram: COMMUNICATION Verbal communication Intralanguage - Lexicon - Rules of grammar - Rules of phonetics - Rules of language use and interaction skills -… Nonverbal communication Paralanguage Extralanguage - Vocal characteristics: + Pitch + Volume + Rate + Vocal quality - Types of vocal flow - Vocal interferences - Silence/Pauses -… Body language/Kinesics Object language/Artifacts Environmental language - Eye contact - Facial expressions - Physical characteristics - Gestures - Postures - Body movements - Touch/Haptics/Tactile - … - Clothing - Setting (seating arrangement included) - Conversational distance/Proxemics - Time/Chronemics - Lighting system - Colour - Heat - … - Jewellery - Accessories - Make-up - Artificial scents - Gift - Flowers - …… I.2 Classroom communication styles and classroom seating arrangements Seating arrangements are a main part in a teacher‟s plan for classroom management Not only the teachers need to consider the physical arrangement of the room but also the nature of the students involved Arranging the physical environment of the room should be taken into consideration so that teaching and learning can occur as efficiently as possible The teacher needs to be able to walk around the room without the students having to move their desks The teacher needs to take into account that students seated in the center or front of the classroom tend to interact more frequently with the teacher and the number of behavioral problems tend to increase as the students sit farther from the teacher Also, students in the back and corners of the room are more likely to be off task than those close to the front or to the teacher‟s desk There are many seating arrangements that the teachers can use Each type of classroom arrangement has both advantages and disadvantages To make the lesson most effective, the teacher should fit the teaching style with the appropriate arrangement of students I.2.1 Teaching styles Hativa (2000) lists the following skills of teachers: • Examine, interpret, and share learning; • Understand how students learn; • Learn the knowledge in their field; • Conduct research on learning and teaching; • Share their experiences Additionally, an effective teacher also understands how to promote a love for selflearning in students Bess (2000: 53) argues that “student preferences for teaching strategies are for active and challenging learning, where they are involved, where learning is connected to real life, and where there are opportunities for mutual responsibility” Scott-Webber, Marini, and Abraham (2000) have divided possible teacher-student relationships into different types of communication styles They include one-on-one, 11 teacher to be in close physical proximity to high maintenance students (Shores, Gunter & Jack, 1993; Wolfgang, 1996) • There is some evidence that it is useful to limit visual and auditory stimulation that may distract students with attention and behavior problems (Bettenhausen, 1998; Cummings, Quinn et al., 2000) • There is good reason to strategically place students with special needs or behavior problems in close proximity to the teacher‟s desk (Bettenhausen, 1998; Wolfgang, 1996) Shores and his colleagues (1993) recommend that this be done not only to monitor student problem behaviors, but also to facilitate teacher delivery of positive statements when compliant or otherwise appropriate behaviors are exhibited • Finally, it is advantageous to keep the classroom orderly and well organized (Bettenhausen, 1998; Stewart & Evans, 1997) I.2.3 Basic classroom seating arrangements Classrooms are the places where educational activities are conducted at the highest In arranging the classrooms such factors as the number of students, quality and color of the walls and furniture, inside temperature, illumination, air-conditioning, cleanness and the arrangement of the students in the classroom have an indirect but important effects on their levels of learning With one glance at a classroom, an experienced teacher can tell you what kind of class takes place in that room Effective communication in the classroom is essential to the success of both the students and the teachers The kind of communication as well as the amount of communication that occurs in the classroom has long been thought to be partially a function of the seating arrangement of students While there probably is an infinite number of ways of arranging a classroom, there are most common: traditional, horseshoe, and modular 12 The traditional arrangement for classrooms typically consists of about five or six perfectly straight rows, each containing five to seven chairs equidistant from each other The students‟ desks are not touching each other but are lines up in rows and columns and facing the teacher The teacher is usually only able to walk from the front to the back in this set up, not walk from side to side without making students move The straight-row arrangement evolved to make the best use of the only adequate lighting then available – natural light from side windows In spite of developments in lighting which make the straight-row arrangement unnecessary, this traditional arrangement persists, in fact dominates According to the author‟s observation, almost all universities in Vietnam have this classroom arrangement The horseshoe (or U-shape, semi-circular) arrangement is frequently employed in smaller classes, such as seminars Some rooms are not physically conductive to this arrangement for larger classes because of the “dead space” in the middle Consequently, a “double horseshoe” (or circular or “fishbowl”), two semi-circular rows with one inside the other, is also frequently observed The modular arrangement (clusters) is used when 3-5 students work around one table There are four or five desks pushed together so every desk is facing another one The fifth desk, if needed, would be put on the end of the group of four The classroom would have clusters scattered around, so the teacher is free to walk around the room without bumping into students‟ desks or chairs According to Atherton (2005), there are four basic non-specialized classroom layouts: the traditional lecture-style classroom arrangement (desk rows), U-shaped seating (horseshoe, semi-circle), modular (clusters), circular (“fishbowl”) Each of these encourages or inhibits certain kinds of interaction and thus the types of learning that can occur (See Figures 1-4.) 13 Figure 1: Desk rows Figure 2: U-shape 14 Figure 3: Modular Figure 4: Circular 15 I.2.3.1 The traditional lecture-style seating arrangements In the traditional lecture-style, the teacher stands in the front of the room and all the students‟ desks face the teacher Since all the students are facing forward and the teacher is in the front of the classroom, he or she is the primary source of knowledge This is a perfect situation for testing because each student has their own space Desk ro ws minimizes the amount of non-productive talking amongst the students as well as assisting the students in focusing on the major concepts of the particular lesson since the desks are spread apart as much as possible Whole group instruction, lectures, and independent seatwork are ideal when the desks are in rows The use of a variety of media, for example, maps, computer projection, board-work, overhead projection are also most conducive to the desk row arrangement Desk rows exhibit good teacher-controlled classroom management Community-based classroom management is difficult to promote because the desks are in rows Because the desks are in rows and the students are separated, the opportunity for inappropriate behavior is minimized On the other hand, maybe the inappropriate behavior is more easily observed in a classroom with the desks in rows The main teaching goals of a teacher whose classroom is set up in rows is lecture and whole group instruction With the desks being in rows, it is easy for the teacher to give lectures, whole group instruction, and tests because there is less opportunity for the students to be out of line The objective of these activities is to have the students focus and concentrate on the key information of the lesson, with a minimal amount of distraction In the testing environment, the teacher is attempting to assess the progress of the class and each individual student as accurately as possible By spacing the students in rows, each student has the opportunity to demonstrate his/her mastery of the curricular material On the other hand, desk rows is not ideal for group work or group discussions Group work and group discussions are an important part of the curriculum It is difficult to this when the desks are in rows Since the desks are in rows, some students will be closer to the blackboard and the teacher than others This is a major disadvantage for the students who are seated in the back rows This type of classroom is controlled and 16 organized by only the teacher Desk rows promote a one-sided classroom environment Again, with this type of seating arrangement, group work and group discussions are difficult to Before assigning seats to students the teacher needs to a sociogram The teachers need to quickly map social interactions between and amongst students so they know where to place the students Also, they need to decide which students can handle being in the back of the classroom The students are in a perfect test taking arrangement if the teacher is monitoring the class The students are all facing the teacher and can see the blackboard, overhead projector, screen and other instructional aids It is easy for the teacher to monitor all the students The problem with this arrangement is some students are going to have to sit in the corners and in the back of the room In these locations in the classroom students participate and interact less and more behavioral problems occur This arrangement is also not good for group work or projects Taking the time to have the students get into groups and move their desks is taking away important instructional time I.2.3.2 U-shape seating arrangement The objective of group work is communication and peer interaction The development of these communication skills is integral in the growth of the whole student The ability to effectively work with others in a group is a life skill It is much more conducive to communicate in U-shape or semi-circle rather than in a traditional row seating arrangement It is important to look into the face of your peer while you communicate with them, as opposed to looking at the back of your peer‟s head The transition from desk rows to an arrangement that allow for more peer learning would be exciting for students It would be a chance for them to discuss problems with their peers and get involved in group learning This type of seating arrangement allows the teacher to be able to see all the students in the classroom Group discussions happen with the desks set up this way Teacher-led discussions are easily started when the desks are arranged in a circle or semicircle All the students are able to see the blackboard and the teacher, as well as each other Teacher proximity is good because the teacher has easy access to all the students and vice versa The circle or semicircle set up is good for high maintenance 17 students because there is not much that the students can that the teacher will not see The circle or semicircle seating arrangement makes it easy for all the students to be actively engaged in the group discussions, teacher led discussions, and even lectures There is no front or back of the room There is no priority seating so there is more equality and no real rank order among the peer hierarchy This arrangement, on the other hand, is not ideal for testing since the students are directly next to one another With the students sitting next to each other, it makes it easy to share work, when that is not the objective on an individual test of knowledge The goal of most test taking is to test a student independently, not in a group The teacher could, however, create two or three tests evaluating the same material and still utilize this same classroom setup Group work is a rather difficult activity to manage because the students are spread out around the entire room This is the case for teachercontrolled classroom management because the teacher is the main source of information On the contrary, the circle arrangement would be ideal for community-based classroom management because the ownership for maintaining the learning environment is shared between the teacher and the students Depending on the focus of the assignment, the circle arrangement may or may not allow the students to work easily with each other For example, if the assignment was for the students to work with a partner, this arrangement would be perfect because they had someone directly next to them If the assignment was a group project, where the students were supposed to discuss a „hot topic‟, then a circle is not the best set up because the students would have to rearrange their desks in order to talk with each other The teaching goals for the U-shape or semicircle arrangement are group discussions and teacher-led discussions With this classroom, there is constant opportunity for the students to bring and contribute ideas to the discussion The teacher does not give too much guidance However, the circle also works well with constructivist direct instruction The teacher had clear vision of everyone as he gave his presentation This informal setting ... within the investigation and the application of classroom seating arrangements in academic setting at Hanoi School of Public Health with English classes as sample Finally, it is ideal to travel... classification of nonverbal communication as stated in the following diagram: COMMUNICATION Verbal communication Intralanguage - Lexicon - Rules of grammar - Rules of phonetics - Rules of language... II Aims of the study The study aims at:  Reviewing and discussing different teaching styles and seating arrangements  Investigating the effects of seating arrangements on the socio-physical
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