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Earning Influence by Communicating Respect: Facework's Contributions to Effective Instructional Feedback

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Successfully evaluating students' work challenges teachers to achieve both corrective task and identity-protection goals in interaction. This study investigated how face-threat mitigation that students received from their teachers during feedback influenced students' judgments about the quality and usefulness of the feedback their instructors provided and their perceptions of those instructors' credibility. Public-speaking students (N=356) at three universities were surveyed about their instructors' feedback regarding their first graded speech that term. Multiple regression analyses showed that receiving attentive facework during instructional feedback predicted students' perceptions that feedback was fair and useful. Skilled instructional facework also predicted students' less defensive responses to criticism and their higher credibility ratings of their instructors. Findings support attentive instructional facework as a communication mechanism whose skillful use aids feedback's reception and integration and enhances instructors' credibility as worthy feedback providers.
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Keywords: Credibility; Criticism; Effectiveness; Facework; Politeness; Speech Feedback

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2009

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