Immediacy and Care Practices

The conceptual foundations of immediacy theory and care theory overlap significantly (Bevis & Watson, 1989; Frymier, 1993, 1994; Gorham, 1988; Watson,

Table 6.2 immediacy and care Pedagogy Attributes

Verbal immediacy Care Attributes
Personal examples and some self-disclosure Models words of acceptance and promoting self-worth
Appropriate student praise or acknowledgment Permission giving
Supporting an active feedback process Creating a flexible discussion or course requirements
Hearing students' opinions Follow-up on student-initiated topics
Encouraging classroom discussions Supporting group approval for warmth and receptivity or discussion
Allowing for emotions and feelings in the discussion Open to students or engaging them outside of class
Nonverbal immediacy Care Attributes
Relaxed body posture Uses classroom space away from the formal structure
Uses body movements as gestures Smiling at the class
Engaging in student eye contact Nonintrusive touch
Habitualized schemata that is seen as a natural flow Anticipating and monitoring student needs
Holistic understanding of students beyond the course objectives Connected to humanness with empathy, feelings, or personal barriers
Vocal expressiveness Positive personality
Presence and active engagement or connect with feeling

2008) so I combined these concepts in the Affective Classroom Assessment Tool. I generated lists of verbal and nonverbal behaviors that suggest the use of immediacy and care theory can easily be looked at from both perspectives. Immediacy theory is found in communication research, and care theory has been discussed in nursing, education, and spiritual care practices. The verbal and nonverbal communication styles were separated in the tool in an effort to see what the professor used in one or both areas. Table 6.2 provides a distribution for both domains.

These verbal and nonverbal ways of being in the classroom environment present opportunities for creating a high level of intersubjective learning that has a low power differential between students and instructors. It is easy to see how these practices in the classroom bring about a positive
learning experience for the student and are certainly learning-focused methods. However, they may not include a single affective pedagogical strategy. It can be argued that there are many strategies that support better learning but that may not include affective methods. In fact, such learning methods could be purely cognitive using a lecture-explaining instructional approach, and the faculty and students would still have a highly effective learning environment if the classroom instructor was using practices from immediacy and care theory. When these behaviors are tied to affective pedagogy, it may be assumed that this will make the effectiveness even better.

Ways of Knowing

In 1978, Carper started an approach to learning that is as entrenched in nursing as Bloom's Taxonomy is in education. Her work describing the ways of knowing were later expanded and deepened by other nurse leaders (Jacobs-Kramer & Chinn, 1992). The four ways of knowing allow for an evaluation of where the learning is originating. The ways of knowing are: aesthetic, ethical, personal, and empirical. In addition, a fifth way of knowing has been discussed in other circles. It is uniquely different and was previously presented in Chapter 1 of this text. The intersubjective way of knowing is a valuable way to gain new insights and self-awareness (Crossley, 1996; Polkinghorne, 1983; Prus, 1996).

The following would be the anticipated subcategories for each of the domains of knowing. Aesthetic knowing includes storytelling, use of metaphor, pictures, art, literature, visualizations, music, and creating sacred rituals. Ethical knowing includes a discussion regarding beliefs, values, moral judgment, ethical principles and dilemmas, and ethical praxis. Personal knowing involves one's personal expression, heuristic problem solving, relationship building, reflectivity for personal awareness, and personal conscious awareness strategies. Empirical knowing is not expected to include affective methods, but the teaching method would include readings and articles, theories and models, and research.

Intersubjective knowing includes strategies that are often subconscious but then come forward when using psychodrama, Gestalt strategies, empathetic interview, role plays, some reflective strategies, and interactive dialogue.

Each of the major categories of affective pedagogy and their subgroups helped to create the Affective Classroom Assessment Tool for use in assessing the classroom. The Tool offers insights into the instructor's toolbox of teaching methods and how much is considered affective or would fall into other teaching characteristics. However, despite its utility as a classroom assessment tool, this device does not answer how effective these processes are. That will require additional research information. At this point, it would likely be helpful to examine how the Affective Assessment Tool may be used in classroom research. Vignette 6.1 describes the life of a researcher—going to classrooms and collecting data on the tools used by four teachers in three different courses. Vignettes 6.1 and 6.2 together provide examples of an interpretive study that brought several data points together to create an understanding of what was occurring in these three different affectively driven classrooms (Ondrejka, 1998).

Vignette 6.1

I just spent 5 days in three different post-baccalaureate classes, and I evaluated all the various affective pedagogical methods that were being used to teach the students, including traditional teaching methods. After obtaining approval from several Institutional Review Boards (IRB) and obtaining faculty permission to be in the classes, I then needed to introduce myself to the class and tell them what I was doing there. I was amazed at how they accepted my presence over the 15 hours of class. I attended a nursing course, a theology–pastoral care course, and a social work course. The pastoral care course had two instructors who taught separately or teamed up during classes; I treated this as one instructor for classroom affective data collection. I was looking to see which teaching methods occurred or did not occur in these classes related to affective pedagogy. Students told me these four faculty were exceptional teachers, and maybe I could identify some clues as to what they were doing or not doing to be exceptional teachers. Here is my data sheet for the assessment and what I found. If I use 10 occurrences to set a baseline as my minimum for looking at their affective teaching style, I can start to see themes of practice.

Affective classroom Assessment tool data for three Professional settings

Category Social work
30-minute time blocks
30-minute time blocks
30-minute time blocks
Instructional Pedagogy
Lecturing and explaining 14 17 4
Training and coaching 3 3 0
Inquiry and discovery 4 9 9
Experience and reflection 12 9 13
Groups and teams 3 1 0
Verbal Immediacy and Care
Use of humor 9 9 2
Faculty self-disclosure, personal stories 6 5 3
Model words of acceptance 1 3 10
Appropriate student praise/ acknowledgment 0 8 7
Permission giving 9 15 17
Supporting active feedback process 17 26 21
Flexible discussion and course requirements 3 16 7
Listen to students' opinions 13 27 7
Follows up on student topics 1 1 0
Encourages classroom discussions 17 25 23
Support group approval and receptivity 1 4 18
Allows for emotions and feelings 0 8 2
Open to students outside of class 0 3 1
Faculty–students outside of class 0 1 4
Nonverbal Immediacy and Care
Vocal expressiveness 7 21 8
Relaxed body posture 25 24 21
Nonformal use of classroom space 13 29 18
Uses body movements/ gestures 2 9 9
Smiles at the class 13 28 17
Engages in student eye contact 20 24 20
Nonintrusive touch 0 0 7
Positive personality 13 15 21
Anticipates and monitors student needs 0 0 0
Holistic understanding 0 0 15
Connected to humanness 1 8 13
Presence 0 2 9
Habitualized schemata 0 3 9
Aesthetic Knowing
Storytelling 3 2 1
Problem solving in metaphor 7 2 0
Use of pictures, art, literature 7 2 14
Use of visualizations 1 0 3
Use of music 0 9 8
Creating sacred space (ritual) 0 9 0
Ethical Knowing
Beliefs, values, moral values 5 5 4
Ethical principles 2 3 4
Ethical praxis 3 2 1
Other 1 0 0
Personal Knowing
Personal expression 1 3 4
Heuristic problem solving 6 5 0
Relationship building 0 4 5
Reflectivity for personal awareness 6 10 13
Personal conscious awareness 2 8 4
Subconscious awareness 0 0 2
Other (metaphysical/spiritual insight) 0 0 2
Empirical Knowing
Readings and articles 2 16 5
Theories and models 6 25 5
Research 0 3 0
Other 2 0 1
Intersubjective Knowing
Psychodrama 0 0 0
Gestalt methods 0 0 0
Empathetic interview 2 0 0
Role plays 4 8 0
Interactive dialogue and reflective strategies 4 6 9
Other 1 0 2

These instructors did not use the same strategies for most categories, but they definitely used certain affective tools in a similar fashion. It seems they were also more familiar with certain methods and these were thus the methods they used with greater regularity. The only practices that were used by all three disciplines were related to verbal and nonverbal Immediacy or care practices. The verbal practices used by all faculty were: supportive active feedback process and encouraging class- room discussion. The nonverbal practices used by all faculty included relaxed body posture, nonformal use of classroom space, smiling at the class, engaging in student eye contact, and positive personality.

My study of classroom affective teaching also collected data from the instructors during class preparation and, after the class was over, related to their understanding of using affective methods. In addition, I collected data from students in all three classes using small groups and one-to-one interviews of those who were willing to meet with me after the group data collection. They all had code names used to track the narratives, and these narratives were later used to create themes. Vignette 6.2 provides the narratives collected from these groups that were later integrated into a crystallized theme analysis to arrive at major themes within these classroom experiences.

Vignette 6.2

Students are a great resource in identifying what makes their learning more effective. They don't know the theory, but they can tell you what worked or didn't work for them to understand affective concepts. Just listen to this group tell a researcher about their classroom experiences. “So, I would like to ask all of you students a question. It is about the class that is just now ending. What were the affective teaching techniques you found most helpful for your learning experience?” (After explaining what “affective” means, the researcher asked for code names, and then recorded the group discussion.)

What were the affective teaching techniques you found most helpful and least helpful for your learning experience? [researcher interjections for clarity]

Source Data from Social Work Course

The drawing and metaphor [of my anger] was very valuable for me. One of the biggest things I realized about my anger has come out of listening to other people talk and say what makes them angry, because it mainly depends on the question [I thought I was being asked] when drawing the metaphor.


I agree [with Bailee]. That it was very good for me to see what my anger looked like. I'm not sure if it was the discussion with others or how they viewed my anger [that taught me more about my anger]. [Described examples of new insights into her anger.] I was doing the anger workout book with family members that I live with. I had an “ah ha” that they [my family] have their own issues too. Culturally [in our family] we don't talk about anger. That is the reason why I am this way, because everyone else around me is that way and that is how I was brought up.


I also like the metaphor. I didn't realize how much I don't feel I know how to control it [anger]. It just gets to a certain point and then explodes.


It was the workout book that was really valuable for me. I learned a lot about myself doing those exercises.


I did the workout book. I learned more about my anger after doing that because when I did the metaphor, it was at the beginning of class when I really thought I knew myself. I thought I had my anger completely under control, or it was instigated by someone who wasn't willing to talk about things maturely, or someone who was treating me unjustly. I learned my anger can escalate [for other reasons].


The self-disclosure of the instructor showed his genuine self and was very valuable for me. I began to see that my anger is okay, and it can be controlled to be more of what I want it to be. [Ross described how he had actually been using it consciously and setting the level of calibration he believed to be appropriate in certain situations.]


I was raised thinking that any anger was destructive because it was uncomfortable for people. So in my metaphor I have two different pictures. I have one of the old [thinking]. [She went on to describe a newer view] but I am still hung up with the idea that anger is destructive, and I know consciously that is probably not where I want to be.


One of the things I liked that didn't put me at risk so much was when he would role play up there, and he played the role of the client. And it wasn't just me responding back to him; it was all of us responding back to him and that made it safe.


I [liked] the way he role played. I thought that was really good. I got a lot from hearing other people. [But] I personally couldn't ask questions. I just didn't feel comfortable asking questions. [When asked if it would have been easier for her to ask questions if the group would have been smaller, she said,] Yes. It was just too large a group for me to speak out.


I think one of the valuable pieces with this particular teacher and the experience of role playing is that he valued other people's experience and expertise. He didn't have the edge of being the person who has all the knowledge. He tries to include everyone and values each person from where they are coming from. I also thought we had a pretty good small group [discussion].


What interested me was he interacted with the audience, but he also brought in new aspects that he knew would affect the learning process. [His authentic role plays were very powerful.] He was really good. Scary sometimes. I was going to ask him if he took acting lessons. When he first [asked us to] start drawing our metaphor, I was resistant to that because trying to force someone to be creative about something personal like that, well for me it was like “ugh!” It was really an exercise of original thought in picture form, but there was benefi after you did it. It was good. I mean, I got input. So I saw the benefi of it as we went through it.


I was surprised at the reaction I had when he was playing the role of the teenager. It really affected me. He was kicking desks and walking around and screaming. I could handle that if I wanted to, but I didn't want to have to, so I chose not to. I was surprised at my own reaction to that—he is really authentic at each role that he played.


[The anger metaphor] is the thing that I think about when I look back [at this class], especially with my two big issues that I drew my metaphor to represent. I'll think about the metaphor and I'll be like, “Okay, this is me paddling down the river.” I did the workout book. [She had many insights scattered through her transcript on how the insight gained from the workout book helped her understand her anger.] But my own personal realization of my anger, which was huge for me, was through the workbook. [She felt much of the class just came together, but she did not see the teacher as a warm instructor.] I feel very away from him. Like he is the professor, and I'm the student. I think I might have spoken with him one time after class, and he's very withdrawn and almost too serious, very serious. I never felt warmth from him. I felt like coldness. The times I saw something different from him was when he did the role plays. I was taken aback by his actions, whoa.

Source Source Data from Theology Course

I would have liked to see the blessings and concerns reversed with the centering piece. [Classes started with centering and meditation and then into blessings and concern.] I felt like the centering brought me into or prepared me to sit there quietly and pay attention to the subject. I've always liked the role plays because, again, my learning disability makes it so I can pay more attention if there is action going on rather than a person talking. I think my favorite was the video of the baby because it demonstrated very clearly what they were talking about. My learning comes much better just from listening to people bounce stuff around and hearing the professors participate [interactive dialogue].


I liked the personal part of the class where we opened with devotion of having to present a song and meditation. Items of prayer, or [suggesting something] to pray about, or our celebrations. I like the combination of the lectures and the role plays and discussions in class. The integration back and forth helped me more as opposed to just lectures.


It's not just the role of the role play as a technique, but using the role play in very real situations that we have either encountered or will encounter. I thought those were always very powerful parts of Joretta's classes.


One of the things I've learned [is] that if you take any classes from Joretta, there is going to be role playing. It is sort of multilayered; for example, you are the person who gets stuck being the pastor, which is always the real “hot seat.” One of the very strong pieces I get constantly from Joretta is, “Why is it we are doing what we are doing,” and so she is a very reflective teacher. [Joretta's model for questioning includes asking,] “Why has this person come at this particular time, and why have they come to you; what is it you think you're doing [for them]?” She keeps reflecting back to us the same kind of questions she asks herself, and then she models that.


In Ed and Joretta's classes I feel invited to learn. I found a little niche that I wanted to explore for myself. I was invited; I felt invited to go on and do as much as I wanted and was capable of doing.


For me it was when we made the clay mandalas. That was really fun and neat. I have to admit, in most of our centering, I've done meditation and all that type of thing, but doing it in a classroom [did not connect for me].

Source Data from Nursing Course

[The entire course] was a good balance for me [compared to] the science-related or skill-related classes. And then seeing how this lends itself as importantly to me in practice. The caring theory piece is one of the reasons why I'm here. When we talked about the nurse artist and things like that, it seemed a very natural fit for me.


This class personifies and definitely links together the real purpose of this program and why I am here. So for me to step into this environment was truly an opportunity for me to draw deeply within myself. It is a little flowery for me at times. You can kind of kick back and say, “You know the pressure is off here, and I can start thinking about myself and put my life in perspective, and that is such a real value, and grounding value, in this busy world.
I was particularly interested in the mandala, which Chaleise had talked about. Also the [class that involved] the dance. [What was] hard was, I couldn't get over whatever hang-up I had that I wasn't supposed to be doing this. The class was nonthreatening; it was neutral. You were never wrong, you were never probably completely right with everybody, but there were no grounds for arguing.


[What I liked best] was all the things that involved movement, and some personal experience that is the dancing was good. The focus and centering pieces that Fran would start with, discussions were good, and they were group-centered and not teacher-centered.

The data for the student groups and the one-to-one interviews and four faculty were evaluated using a theme analysis. Crystallization of all data was used to create an interpretive analysis for this study (Ondrejka, 1998).

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