Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

August 1978


Purpose. The problem of this study was to assess the effects of four proxemic zones (intimate, personal, social, and public) on the performance of randomly selected sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students from East Tennessee State University Laboratory School. Method. Literature was reviewed in order to define the concept of proxemics, to present evidence of the Importance of proxemics in human cultures, and to provide specific educational research findings dealing with the concept of proxemics. The 120 subjects of the study were randomly selected from the sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade population of the East Tennessee State University Laboratory School. The subjects were randomly assigned to four treatment groups and one control group. The four treatment groups received instruction, at varying distances, on the purposes, functions, and organization of the United Nations. The control group received a pseudo-treatment to control for "Hawthorne Effect," The pseudo-treatment consisted of viewing two films unrelated to the United Nations instruction. At the conclusion of a thirty-minute Instructional period each group was administered a post-test. The post-test was a twenty-item objective questionnaire concerning the purposes, functions, and organization of the United Nations. Differences between means of post-test scores of the five groups were tested for statistical significance in a one-way analysis of variance. Pair-wise comparisons between groups were tested by a Newman-Keuls statistical technique. The .05 level of significance was adopted in all cases. Results of the data analysis indicated that the mean post-test scores of the students Instructed in the four proxemic zones were significantly superior to the mean post-test score of the control group. The mean for students instructed in the intimate proxemic zone was significantly superior to the means for students instructed in the other three proxemic zones. No significant differences were analyzed in other pair-wise comparisons. Summary. Results of this study did not provide absolute guidelines for distances in which instruction should be provided. The fact that there was no evidence of differences in the effectiveness of Instruction in the personal, social, and public proxemic zones, does not mean that there are no conditions under which instruction in these zones might be more effective. However, the instruction presented in the intimate proxemic zone proved to be the most effective when compared to presentations made in every other proxemic zone. Conclusions. The results of the experiment provided evidence that the effectiveness of instruction was greatest when presented in the intimate proxemic zone. An examination of post-test means indicated progressively decreasing means for the personal, social, and public proxemic zones— the scores being 15.79, 15.46, and 14.54, respectively. A tentative proposition indicated by this array of means is: the closer instructors distance themselves to students, the more effective the instruction will be.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Included in

Education Commons