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Abstract

Students often do not look forward to enrolling in public speaking courses, and therefore, it is warranted to examine opportunities to develop a supportive peer communication climate in what is typically seen as an anxiety inducing course. The present study collected data at three points in a semester (first day, mid-semester, and end-semester) to determine if initial perceptions of student-to-student connectedness and instructors’ communication behaviors (humor, nonverbal immediacy, and self-disclosure) lead to positive increases in student-to-student connectedness over the course of a semester in public speaking classes. Changes in perceptions of student-to-student connectedness at mid- and end-semester were predicted by first day perceptions of connectedness, followed by nonverbal immediacy, and teacher humor. Also, connectedness predicted students’ affect for the course, and teacher nonverbal immediacy and humor predicted students’ affect toward the instructor. However, teacher self-disclosure (i.e., amount) was negatively linked to students’ affective learning.