Education Quarterly Reviews
Published: 30 January 2021
Learners’ Perceptions of the Influence of Teachers’ Nonverbal Communication on Their Aspirations to Pursue STEM Courses
Grace C. W. Ndeke, Anne C. Barmao
Egerton University, Kenya
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Keywords: Learners’ Perceptions, Science Teachers, STEM Courses, Teachers’ Actions, Teacher Dressing and Grooming, Teacher Nonverbal Communication
This paper reports the results of a study that investigated secondary school learners’ perceptions of the influence of their science and mathematics teachers’ nonverbal communication on their aspirations to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related courses in institutions of higher learning. The study further investigated if there were gender differences in learners’ perceptions. The nonverbal aspects of communication focused on were teachers’ actions in class and their dressing and grooming. A sample of 465 form three secondary school learners was selected using stratified simple random sampling technique, out of whom 221 were female while 244 were male from Nakuru County, Kenya. Data was collected using a secondary school learner’s questionnaire. The reliability of the questionnaire was estimated using Cronbach alpha and yielded a coefficient of 0.88. The findings show that learners’ perceived their teachers’ nonverbal communication moderately influences their aspirations to pursue STEM. However, the perception on the influence of maintaining eye contact when asking and responding to questions and being always clean and neat were high. Therefore, science and mathematics teacher education programs should enhance pre and in service teacher awareness of the effect of their nonverbal behaviour on their learners. The Teachers Service Commission which is the national teacher regulator and employer in Kenya should ensure that the policy guidelines on teachers’ dressing and grooming are straightforwardly interpreted by all teachers and properly enforced.