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“You are such a great teacher and I hate to bother you but…”: Instructors' perceptions of students and their use of email messages with varying politeness strategies

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Abstract:

In this study we examined the impact of polite student emails on instructors' motivation to work with students and both their perceptions of students' competence and potential for success. Participants were 125 university instructors exposed to one of five hypothetical emails utilizing various politeness strategies accompanying a special request. We hypothesized that varying degrees of politeness would be associated with these outcomes by way of their influence on instructors' affect toward students. Our results suggest that the use of politeness strategies does, in fact, influence levels of affect toward students and that, when instructors have higher positive affect toward students, they are more motivated to work with students and have higher perceptions of both students' competence and potential for success in their classrooms.

Keywords: Affect; Email; Politeness; Student Competence; Student Success; Teacher Motivation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03634523.2012.667135

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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