Instructor immediacy and some instances of academic sexual harassment involve similar behaviors, yet have quite different consequences. This report describes two studies that investigate how college students evaluate descriptions of instructor immediacy behaviors and descriptions of sexually harassing behaviors. Data from both studies indicate that, first, harassment descriptions are considered much less appropriate than immediacy descriptions. Second, females tend to make more extreme judgments than do males. Finally, the number of harassment descriptions influences ratings of the behaviors themselves and of the instructor who enacts them. The data suggest that the interpretation of potentially harassing behaviors in some cases is a dynamic, interactive, relational process. The data also suggest that the behavior with the greatest potential for misinterpretation is teacher-student touch.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics