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Abstract

The Communication Department Department of SUNY New Paltzs mission as stated on their
website is to prepare students for graduate degrees and careers in the field of
communication. According to the SUNY New Paltz website, the department of Communication
and Media, soon to be divided, has 15 faculty members and 500 students. To determine the
levels of affective learning and teacher evaluation within the Communication and Media
department, the current study conducted an anonymous survey. The survey measured affective
learning and teacher evaluation with teacher apprehension, cognitive processing styles, teacher
clarity, and teacher credibility. The research questions of the current study are is there a
difference between males and females in affective learning in the Communication Department at
SUNY New Paltz and is there a difference between males and females in teacher evaluation in
the Communication Department at SUNY New Paltz. The participants include 64 males (42.1%)
and 88 females (57.9%). The mean age was 20.85 (SD =1.27) with a range from 18 to 25. The

results of the current study suggest that teacher apprehension and teacher evaluation both play an
important role in the learning environment for students at SUNY New Paltz.
key words: affective learning, teacher evaluation, teacher apprehension, cognitive processing
style, teacher clarity, and teacher credibility.

The Levels of Affective Learning and Teacher Apprehension of the Students in the
Communication Department at SUNY New Paltz
The Communication Department of SUNY New Paltzs mission as stated on their
website is to prepare students for graduate degrees and careers in the field of
communication. The department of Communication and Media, soon to be divided, has 15

faculty members and 500 students. To determine the levels of affective learning and teacher
evaluation, the department among these students conducted the following survey.
The variable teacher apprehension, which is the anxiety or fear a student has when
receiving information or talking with a teacher (Wrench, Richmond, & Gorhan, 2009) was
measured. The next variable was the cognitive processing styles of the students in the
department, whether they be visual or verbal learners. People have these different learning styles
because of different ways of processing information both in a classroom setting and outside of
one (Chen & Sun, 2012). It is important to note way in which students process information
when discussing teacher and student relationships. Our third variable was affective
learning. Affective learning is the emotion process students have while learning (Johnson,
2007). Our final variable was the credibility of the instructor, or how much the students trust or
believe the information the instructor is providing them.
Affective Learning
The concept of affective learning is important when thinking about student- teacher
satisfaction in the classroom. The current study will focus on affective learning as one of the
variables that will be tested and evaluated with an anonymous survey. Scholars define affective
learning as changes in interest, attitudes, and values, and the development of appreciation and
adequest adjustment (Hsu, page 2). Similarly, another scholar indicates that affective learning
is about the feelings, values, appreciation, enthusiasms, motivations, and attitudes of the learners
toward the content, the instructor and the setting (Aydin, page 1). When it comes to
understanding the concept of affective learning, it is important to note that there are distinct
classifications that should be addressed. The classifications are as follows; The learning
affective learning objectives into five groups (receiving, responding, valuing, organization, and

characterization) based on the principle of internalization (Aydin, page 1). A simplified


definition of affective learning based off of the two previous ideas is that affective learning is
the students emotional process while learning (Johnson, page 3). One scholar believes that it is
important to understand how learning occurs and why. Learning is thought to be crucial to
instructional communication scholars and they continue to argue that without learning there is no
real value in instruction (Henning, 2010).
Research examining affective learning has investigated the importance of learning in the
classroom and in instructional communication research. More specifically, research examining
affective learning has investigated the teacher- student assessment, student- student interaction,
classroom environment and community, computer mediated communications, course content,
and teacher clarity. For example, research has found when an emphasis is placed on learning
and teachers exhibit behaviors that reveal this emphasis, student perceptions become more
favorable and learning potential is increased (Henning, page 8). Further, scholars have found
that very small changes in a written assessment can make a difference in affective learning (Katt
& Collins, 2009). These examples clearly display the importance of learning through both
students perceptions and teachers expectations that lead to affective learning.
Research that discusses interpersonal relationships is a key concept to the current
study. One scholar found that there are positive relationships between the learners perceptions
of task and social attractiveness of the instructor as well as their perceptions of affective learning
and evaluations of their instructors (Aydin, page 5). Likewise, another scholar explains that
positive student- student relationships relate to learning because affect influences cognitive
learning, whereas affective learning is the initial instructional goal (Johnson, 2007). Further,
scholars explain that students who report greater levels of motivation to learn are the ones who

have a strong sense of classroom community. Having more motivation to learn leads to higher
levels of affective learning (Edwards, Edwards, Torrens, & Beck, 2011). Teachers providing
feedback to students can affect the way students feel about the class. For example, scholars
explain that a difference in a word or two can change the way a student learns (Katt & Collins,
2009). These examples of interpersonal relationships clearly explain their importance of how
and why they contribute to affective learning.
Research that explores classroom environment is another key component to the current
study. Scholars found that teacher confirming behaviors can help this process happen by
providing a warm, caring and supportive environment for student community to grow and
flourish (Edwards, et. al., page 17). Further, connected classroom climate focuses on
supportive and cooperative student- student communication and that student- student interaction
has been associated with positive affect (Johnson, page 9). These examples of classroom
environment clearly explain having a connected classroom with both the students and the
teachers lead to positive student motivation and affective learning.
Research that explores affective learning based on the content itself is another important
factor to the current study. According to scholars, affective learning is based on the positive
attitudes of the students toward the course content itself (Edwards, Bresnahan, & Edwards,
2008). Further, affective learning is the primary interest of when it comes to the content of the
course and the behaviors suggested for that course (Richmond, 1990). These examples clearly
explain that if a student is simply not interested in the course and the content being covered, they
are not going to learn as well. According to one scholar, it is believed that students with high
affective learning are more likely to value course content and tend to be more engaged in the
learning process (Mazer, 2013). However, if they like the course and the content being covered,

the students are going to be more willing to learn and will be more likely to do better in the
course overall.
Research that explores teacher clarity is the final key concept to understanding affective
learning for the current study. Scholars explain that teacher clarity, the extent to which an
instructor presents the course content in an understandable and organized manner, has been
positively associated with student affective evaluations of the teacher, affective evaluations of
the course, student motivation, and self-reports of cognitive learning (Comadena, Hunt, &
Simonds, page 242). One scholar believes that when a teacher provides better vocal qualities,
the students will perceive their instructor as having more confirmation behaviors, and in
turn, the students will have less fear and anxiety throughout the learning process (Hsu,
2012). This is important for the current study because understanding ones teacher influences
the students learning ability. An example that would hinder ones ability to understand their
teacher is an accent. If a student does not understand their teacher, more than likely the student
will not understand the content in the course. One scholar explains that this can be improved by;
nonnative teachers may have to try harder in building interpersonal relationships with
students by more frequent uses of confirmation behaviors, such as showing interest in
students and taking time responding to students questions. Confirming behaviors
should help increase students receptivity to nonnative speaking instructors teaching,
which in turn should improve students learning outcomes ( Hsu, page 10).
Work Cited
Aydin, I. E. (2012). Relationship between affective learning, instructor attractiveness and
instructor evaluation in videoconference- based distance education courses. Turkish
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Comadena, M. E., Hunt, S. K., & Simonds, C. J. (2007). The effects of teacher clarity, nonverbal
immediacy, and caring on student motivation, affective and cognitive learning.
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Edwards, C., Bresnahan, K., & Edwards, A. (2008). The influence of humorous positive
computer-mediated word-of-mouth communication on student motivation and affective
learning. Texas Speech Communication Journal, 33, 1-8.
Edwards, C., Edwards, A., Torrens, A., & Beck, A. (2011). Confirmation and community: The
relationships between teacher confirmation, classroom community, student motivation,
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Henning, Z. (2010). Teaching with style to manage student perceptions: The effects of so
communicative style and teacher credibility on student affective
learning. Communication Research Reports, 27, 58-67. doi:
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Hsu, C. (2012). The influence of vocal qualities and confirmation of nonnative english-speaking
teachers on student receiver apprehension, affective learning, and cognitive learning.
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