Date of Award

Winter 12-18-2019

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership


Ian Mette

Second Committee Member

Catharine Biddle

Third Committee Member

Kendall Zoller

Additional Committee Members

Richard Ackerman

Paul Knowles


This study set out to measure the impact of nonverbal communication (NVC) teacher behaviors on student perceptions of rapport and to determine which of these behaviors were conscious. Six teachers at three grade levels were participants in the study. The NV behaviors of teachers were quantified and their effect on student perceptions of rapport was measured by student surveys. Teachers’ awareness of their NVC skills was established thorugh an analysis of interviews. The mixed-methods convergent parallel methodology contributed to a rich collection of data that was analyzed using multiple strategies. The literature provides extensive evidence that NVC behaviors contribute to student perceptions of rapport. Evidence is particularly robust at the college level (Andersen,1980 ; Finn et al., 2009; McCroskey et al., 1995). This study resulted in multiple findings. The teachers in this study shared a wide variety of NV behaviors that contributed to rapport, although with varying levels of awareness. The level of awareness did not have an impact on student perceptions of rapport, consistent with Pentland and Heibeck’s (2010) study. Finally, although the study makes a contribution to future research, teachers’ NV behaviors did not yield significant results when correlated with perceptions of rapport.