VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES

FACULTY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHER EDUCATION

PH M VĂN KHOA

NONVERBAL EXPRESSIONS OF SUPPORT USED BY VIETNAMESE AND AMERICAN STUDENTS IN GROUP WORK

SUMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF ARTS (TEFL)

SUPERVISOR: ð NG NG C SINH, MA.

Hà N i, May, 2010

ACCEPTANCE PAGE

I hereby state that I: Pham Van Khoa, class 06.1.E10, being a candidate for the degree of Bachelor of Arts (TEFL), accept the requirements of the College relating to the retention and use of Bachelor’s Graduation Paper deposited in the library.

In terms of these conditions, I agree that the origin of my paper deposited in the library should be accessible for the purposes of study and research, in accordance with the normal conditions established by the librarian for the care, loan or reproduction of the paper.

Signature

May, 2010

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all the people whose helps and supports have greatly contributed to the completion of my graduation paper.

First of all, my great thank is extended to the Faculty of English Language Teacher Education, ULIS, VNU for offering me the best conditions to carry out this research. The huge resources and rich documents available in the library are invaluable to the initiation of this paper.

Second, I am deeply indebted to my supervisor, Mr. Dang Ngoc Sinh, M.A., for his tireless efforts to help and advise. He has been resource, guidance and support throughout the progress of my work. Without his help, much obstacle might have stood in my way and this paper could never have been completed as a result.

My special thanks go to Mrs. Le Thuy Linh (Monash University, Australia); Mrs. Nguyen Thi Tuyet Anh (Westminster, Orange County, CA, USA); Nguyen Thi Huong (06.1.E11, ULIS, VNU); Phan Thi Ngoc Le (06.1.E10, ULIS, VNU); Phan Thi Mo (07.1.E20, ULIS, VNU); Nguyen Trong Thuan (Manhattanville College, USA); Hoang Thi Tinh (06.1.E10); Vu Thanh Tung (FPT University) and who have devoted time and efforts sending my survey questionnaire overseas. The success of this thesis is made more possible by them.

I would also like to thank students from Manhattanville College, COE College and New York Institute of Technology (USA); students from class 07.1.E3, i

07.1.E4, 07.1.E6, 07.1.E10, 07.1.E15, 06.1.E1, 06.1.E7, 06.1.E9, 06.1.E10, 06.1.E11, 06.1.E.16 and 06.1.E19 (ULIS, VNU) for being active participants in this study. No word can describe how significant your cooperation and help have meant to me.

Finally, I owe my immense gratitude to my family, especially my mother for all what she has sacrificed for me; to my friends and my beloved 06.1.E10 who have not only helped but also supplied the best encouragement for me.

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ABSTRACT
The thesis completed by Pham Van Khoa, ULIS, VNU, explored the nonverbal expressions of support used by Vietnamese and American students in group work.

Its aim was to investigate what nonverbal expressions were common to Vietnamese and American students in terms of giving support as well as what they thought of the effects these expressions had on the success of their communication. The thesis also compared the similarities and differences in their use of these expressions.

Two main methods employed in this study were survey questionnaire and face-to-face interview. The former surveyed informants on a number of supportive expressions whereas the latter revolved around some particular participants to achieve depth.

The analyzed and discussed data allowed the realization of what nonverbal expressions were common to Vietnamese and American students in terms of support offering. Their attitude towards using nonverbal support was also reflected.

In narrow sense, the output of this study deepened the knowledge of some common nonverbal expressions of support. In broad sense, it facilitated the friendly relationship between Vietnamese and American students in the period of cultural integration and exchange.

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LIST OF TABLES, FIGURES & CHARTS
Table 1: Classification of nonverbal behaviors by Julia Table 2: Nonverbal expressions of support Table 3: Encoded participants Table 4: Participants’ description Table AV 1: Encoded kinesic behaviors Table AV 2: Encoded haptic behaviors Table AV 3: Encoded artifacts Table AV 4: Encoded proximic behaviors Table AV 5: Encoded chronemic behaviors Table AV 6: Encoded paralinguistic behaviors Table AV 7: Encoded silence Table V1: Kinesic behavior as support by Vietnamese students Table V2: Haptic behaviors as support by Vietnamese students Table V3: Artifacts as support by Vietnamese students Table V4: Proximic behaviors as support by Vietnamese students Table V5: Chronemic behaviors as support by Vietnamese students Table V6: Paralinguistic behaviors as support by Vietnamese students Table V7: Silence as support by Vietnamese students Table A1: Kinesic behaviors as support by American students Table A2: Haptic behaviors as support by American students Table A3: Artifacts as support by American students Table A4: Proximic behaviors as support by American students Table A5: Chronemic behaviors as support by American students Table A6: Paralinguistic behaviors as support by American students Table A7: Silence as support by American students iv

Table V8: Vietnamese students’ common nonverbal expressions of support Table A8: American students’ common nonverbal expressions of support

Figure 1: clap hands Figure 2: snap fingers Figure 3: thumbs up Figure 4: V-sign Figure 5: handshake Figure 6: hold hand Figure 7: pat shoulder Figure 8: slap hands Figure 9: bump fists

Chart 1: American students’ opinions Chart 2: Vietnamese students’ opinions

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page Acceptance .......................................................................................... Acknowledgements ............................................................................. i Abstract ............................................................................................... iii Lists of Tables, Figures & Charts ........................................................ iv Table of Contents ................................................................................ vi

Chapter I: Introduction .................................................................... 1 I. Rationale for the Study...................................................................... 1 II. Aims and Objectives of the Study ................................................... 2 III. Significance of the Study ............................................................... 3 IV. Scope of the Study ........................................................................ 3 V. Organization of the Study ............................................................... 4 Chapter II: Literature Review .......................................................... 5 I. Communication ................................................................................ 5 II. Nonverbal Communication ............................................................. 6 1. Verbal Communication ......................................................... 6 2. Nonverbal Communication .................................................... 7 2.1. Definition of Nonverbal Communication .................. 8 2.2. Types of Nonverbal Communication ........................ 9 2.2.1. Kinesics ....................................................... 10 2.2.2. Haptics ........................................................ 11 2.2.3. Physical Appearance .................................... 11 2.2.4. Artifacts ....................................................... 12

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2.2.5. Environmental Factors ................................. 13 2.2.6. Proximics and Personal Space ..................... 14 2.2.7. Chronemics ................................................. 15 2.2.8. Paralanguage ............................................... 15 2.2.9. Silence ......................................................... 16 2.3. Functions of Nonverbal Communication .................. 17 III. Nonverbal Expressions of Support in Group Work ........................ 19 1. Support .................................................................................. 19 2. Group Work .......................................................................... 20 3. Nonverbal Expressions of Support in Group Work................. 22 3.1. Kinesics as Support .................................................. 24 3.2. Haptics as Support .................................................... 26 3.3. Artifacts as Support .................................................. 29 3.4. Proximics and Personal Space as Support ................. 30 3.5. Chronemics as Support ............................................. 31 3.6. Paralanguage as Support ........................................... 32 3.7. Silence as Support .................................................... 33 Chapter III: Methodology ................................................................. 34 I. Participants ...................................................................................... 34 II. Data Collection Instrument ............................................................. 34 III. Procedure of Data Collection ......................................................... 35 1. Stage 1: Designing the Questionnaire .................................... 35 2. Stage 2: Piloting .................................................................... 35 3. Stage 3: Delivering the Questionnaire .................................... 35 4. Stage 4: Encoding the Data .................................................... 36 Chapter IV: Results and Discussion ................................................. 40

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I. Description of Survey Questionnaire ................................................ 40 II. Description of Interview ................................................................. 40 1. Interview Questions ............................................................... 40 2. Description of Interviewees ................................................... 41 III. Results and Discussion .................................................................. 42 1. Vietnamese Students’ Common Nonverbal Expressions of Support in Group Work ............................................................. 42 1.1. Kinesic Behaviors ..................................................... 42 1.2. Haptic Behaviors ...................................................... 43 1.3. Artifacts .................................................................... 44 1.4. Proximic Behaviors .................................................. 44 1.5. Chronemic Behaviors ............................................... 45 1.6. Paralinguistic Behaviors ........................................... 46 1.7. Silence ...................................................................... 47 2. American Students’ Common Nonverbal Expressions of Support in Group Work ............................................................. 47 2.1. Kinesic Behaviors ..................................................... 47 2.2. Haptic Behaviors ...................................................... 49 2.3. Artifacts .................................................................... 50 2.4. Proximic Behaviors .................................................. 50 2.5. Chronemic Behaviors ............................................... 51 2.6. Paralinguistic Behaviors ........................................... 52 2.7. Silence ...................................................................... 53 3. The Similarities and Differences between Vietnamese and American Students in the Use of Nonverbal Expressions of Support in Group Work ............................................................. 54

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3.1. The Similarities ........................................................ 54 3.2. The Differences ........................................................ 56 4. Students’ Attitude toward the Effects of Using Nonverbal Expressions of Support in Group Work ..................................... 57 Chapter V: Conclusion ...................................................................... 62 I. Summary of the study ...................................................................... 62 II. Limitations of the Study .................................................................. 62 III. Suggestions for Further Studies ..................................................... 63

Reference ............................................................................................ 65 Appendices .......................................................................................... 68

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CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION
I. Rationale for the Study Communication in any culture falls into two categories, “verbal and nonverbal behaviors” (Levine and Adelman, 2006, pg.8). While the verbal side of communication is clearly seen, the non-verbal, which always comes together with it, tends to be forgotten, however. In fact, people use both ways to communicate, but what makes nonverbal less prominent is that it is often done unconsciously. Father frowns to show kids discontent or teacher signals a correct answer by nodding her head. In most situations, these expressions are automatic and can be universally understood without explanations. As a result, the understanding of nonverbal communication as well as its communicative importance hasn’t been fully achieved by many communicators.

Out of the various applications of nonverbal communication, nonverbal supportive expressions enjoy a more prevalent use. Since giving support has become a common need in communicative contexts worldwide, the frequency of showing nonverbal support increases considerably. Within the context of doing schoolwork, it’s regular that students engage themselves in supporting one another. To encourage a friend on the fulfillment of his work, one student, instead of saying “well done” or “that’s great,” can simply raise his thumbs up and smile. The act is brief yet equally effective.

Over the recent years, university students worldwide have become more and more adapted to a new type of learning, the cooperative learning, which takes group work as one major form. Their interactions in group obviously cannot avoid support-giving. Also, their choice of nonverbal supportive expressions,
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to a certain extent, varies according to the culture in which they live. Therefore, a thorough investigation into the use of these expressions is practically needed to encourage mutual understanding of culturally different students as well as to impulse the development of relationships when they come face to face or cooperate.

II. Aims and Objectives of the Study This paper is aimed to achieve the following objectives:

• To find out Vietnamese and American students’ choice of nonverbal expressions to show support in group work • To learn about student’s opinion on the effect of using nonverbal expressions of support in group work • To find out the similarities and differences between Vietnamese and American students in their choice of nonverbal supportive expressions in group work

The study will specifically answer the following questions:

1. What are Vietnamese students’ common nonverbal expressions of support in group work? 2. What are American students’ common nonverbal expressions of support in group work? 3. What are the similarities and differences between Vietnamese and American students in the use of nonverbal expressions of support in group work?

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4. What are the effects, perceived by students, of using nonverbal expressions of support in group work?

III. Significance of the Study Once successfully concluded, this study would make some significant contributions. In the first place, it adds up to the existing literature on nonverbal communication. Interested readers can make use of the theoretical background in this study as a helpful reference for research purposes. Secondly, the findings of this study would fully complete the gap in the understanding of some common nonverbal expressions that are used to support. With specific data as well as inside-out analysis provided, it’s believed that students will know how to apply these nonverbal expressions to support properly. They would also be able to avoid potential misinterpretation and communication breakdowns when meeting face to face. The betterment of their relationships can be expected.

IV. Scope of the Study First, nonverbal communication is admittedly a broad subject for interested researchers; therefore, the focus of this graduation paper will only be on one aspect of it, i.e. the nonverbal expressions showing support. The topic is narrow yet simultaneously significant enough to conduct a research upon. Secondly, because the need of showing support, especially nonverbal support, arises under a multiplicity of circumstances, the researcher has no ambition and surely no ability to involve people of all walks. Only university undergraduates in some institutions in Vietnam and America were selected as the target population for their participation in group activities so far has been frequent enough to exploit nonverbal supportive expressions in 3

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communicating. Moreover, since the researcher has already chosen survey questionnaire as his main data collection instrument, such groups of participants can contribute a great deal to the formation of data thanks to their familiarity with doing survey.

V. Organization of the Study The study is divided into five chapters as follows:

• Chapter I: This chapter briefly introduces the study. It states the research problem, the rationale, the scope of study, the significance, the aims and the research questions.

• Chapter II: This chapter provides an overview of related literature on nonverbal communication, especially the nonverbal expressions of showing support.

• Chapter III: This chapter states the research methods employed in the process of collecting data. It also displays the strengths and weaknesses of different methods and explains how they will be applied.

• Chapter IV: This chapter analyzes data and discusses findings. It is exactly where the answers to the research questions are found.

• Chapter V: This chapter concludes all what have been found about the problem stated. Besides, it admits limitations and suggests ideas for further studies.

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CHAPTER II: LITERATURE REVIEW
This chapter provides an overview of the topic-related literature as well as the working definitions for the terms used, such as communication, nonverbal communication, support and group work. In addition, it provides the list of nonverbal expressions of support that the researcher has been working on.

I. Communication Communication is diverse and multifaceted. The perception of communication has been shaped myriad ways. Alan Barker (2006, p.1) analyzes the word communication, the nature of which he concludes as the process of creating shared understanding.

In fact, the word communication has a quite different root meaning. It derives from the Latin communis, meaning ‘common’, ‘shared’. It belongs to the family of words that includes communion, communism, and community. Until we have shared information with another person, we haven’t communicated it. They have to see the information the same way we do.

From the perspective of Data Communications, Chitode J. S. (2008, p.1) in his ‘Communication Theory’ defines communication as “the process of establishing connection (or link) between two points for information exchange.”

Julia T. Wood as cited by Robert (2007, p.4) perceives communication as “a systemic process in which individuals interact with and through symbols to create and interpret meanings.”

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James W. Carey (1989, p.23) says, “Communication is a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired, and transformed.”

Levine and Adelman (1993: xvii) see communication as “the process of sharing meaning through verbal and nonverbal behavior.”

Tim O’ Sullivan et al. as cited by Robert (2007, p.4) say there are two types of definition for communication. One stresses the effects of a process by which one person sends a message to another. The other stresses the negotiation and exchange aspects of interaction between people who are enabling common meanings to be produced or understanding to occur. The variety of definitions for communication intrigued the researcher to probe further into how people use different means to communicate successfully. Also, they indicate two important categories of communication (verbal & nonverbal), which will be given detailed accounts in the coming review.

II. Nonverbal Communication 1. Verbal Communication In order to fully understand nonverbal communication, verbal communication should be looked at first. Objectively compared together, verbal

communication seems to cause less controversy.

Ronald D. Smith (2005, p.142) realizes that “Verbal communication occurs through written and spoken words”. With a similar point of view, Edelman and Mandle (2006, p.83) perceives verbal communication as “the transmission of messages using words, spoken or written.” Words are
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“symbols for ideas” and verbal communication deals with words in two basic forms, as stated. It’s obvious that a specific language assigns meaning to messages through a particular system of words. Normal people speak or write words to communicate. People with physical disability, such as the mute or the deaf, communicate in ‘sign language’ which is similar to words in spoken and written form. Once the content of what we say or write is understood by another, verbal communication successfully concludes.

For the development of language, verbal communication fulfils three functions: (1) informing the person of others’ thoughts and feelings, (2) stimulating the receiver of a message by triggering a response, and (3) serving a descriptive function by imparting information and sharing observations, ideas, inferences, and memories (Watzlawick, et. al, 1967). Inevitably, the ability of verbal communication to fulfill such duties is influenced by many factors including the communicator’s social class, culture, age, milieu, and ability to receive and interpret messages (Edelman & Mandle, 2006, p.83). With the understanding of verbal communication, we find easier ways to explore communication at the nonverbal level.

2. Nonverbal Communication Nonverbal communication has been subject to a number of studies. This field indeed appeals to avid researchers for there are a variety of related issues waiting to be touched. Before an investigation into nonverbal communication can be implemented, it is necessary to give thoughts on the question ‘What is nonverbal communication all about?’

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2.1. Definition of Nonverbal Communication Scholars’ views on the nature of nonverbal communication remain divergent. This has resulted in a handful of disagreements over years.

Wayne, W., Margaret, A.L., Dana, S.D. and Elizabeth, Y.H. (2008, p.208) wrote that: “Nonverbal communication is the transmission of meaning from one person to another through means or symbols rather than words.”

Bécheiraz and Thalmann (1996, p.2) view nonverbal behavior as postures and their indication on what people are feeling. Postures, the means to communicate, are defined by “a specific position of the arms and legs and angles of the body.”

In ‘Handbook of Interpersonal Communication’, nonverbal behavior is known as gestures, body movements, facial expressions, gaze, dress, and the like (Mark L. Knapp & John A. Daly, 2002, p.243).

From culture view, Larry A.S., Richard E.P. and Edwin R.M. propose another definition (2009, p.246): “Nonverbal communication involves all nonverbal stimuli in a communication setting that are generated by both the source and his or her use of the environment and that have potential message value for the source or receiver.”

It can be seen that though covering most of the most common nonverbal behaviors, the abovementioned definitions fail to give a comprehensive account of the term we are discussing. For looking the issue from different views, scholars couldn’t agree on how communication should be considered
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nonverbal. Their definitions are either confusingly general or insufficiently specific. The criteria suggested are also not clear so many other nonverbal behaviors are unfortunately omitted. It’s desirable to seek a better way of defining.

With regard to interpersonal communication, Julia T. Wood (2009, p.122) mentions more critical aspects of nonverbal communication. Her definition solves what lacks in most existing definitions. She first recognizes nonverbal communication in gestures and body language. She also involves vocal phenomena like inflection, pauses, tone, volume and accent. She adds that features of environments that affect interactions; personal objects such as jewelry and clothes; physical appearance; and facial expressions also have nonverbal effects. This explains why our reactions change as these factors change.

The width and depth in the definition by Julia T. Wood extend the road to understanding the true essence of nonverbal behaviors. Basic ideas for a research on the nonverbal communication of support, thanks to it, now can be conceptualized.

2.2. Types of Nonverbal Communication Julia’s comprehensive definition leads further to a systematic classification of nonverbal behaviors. This author has conducted plenty of substantial research on the field of nonverbal communication, so she suggests some categories to select nonverbal behaviors.

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Kinesics (i.e. body postures & body movements) Haptics (i.e. touching) Physical Appearance Artifacts (i.e. personal objects) Nonverbal Environmental Factors Behaviors Proximics & Personal Space Chronemics (i.e. use of time) Paralanguage Silence Table 1: Classification of nonverbal behaviors by Julia

2.2.1. Kinesics Kinesics is perceived as body postures and body motions. Other scholars tend to call it “body language.” The communicative value of kinesic behaviors, according to Julia, is that how we physically project ourselves reflects our feelings and personality. It’s a fact that in different states of emotion, people express different kinesics. Kinesics of sad people, for example, is heavy steps. They shuffle and slouch all their way. They avoid facing others and don’t smile. They are communicating that they need to be comforted. The detection of characteristics through kinesics is also trustworthy. It is believed that the way people pose and walk tells us who they are. For example, confident people walk very fast. They are sure of themselves so they smile and look straight everywhere. Timid people, on the other hand, walk more slowly. They either converse with the knees or avoid eye contact. Each person has a particular characteristic. Each characteristic shapes a different course of behaviors to show. Understanding different nonverbal messages behind kinesic behaviors, we find better strategies to deal with different types of people appropriately.

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It’s also important to talk about the face. Facial expressions are highly reliable because in most situations, face hides nothing. As an honest portrayal of emotion, face gives the most credible account of the persons in interactions. Conversationalists first take the face to interpret each other. Julia illustrates that people with “resolute facial expression” project more determination than those who have unfocused gaze. Unless people fake their self-images, kinesic behaviors, especially facial expressions, lay them bare to the rest of the world.

2.2.2. Haptics Haptics can simply be understood as touching. Touching and being touched are essential to a healthy life (Benjamin & Werner, 2004; Field, 2003). In interpersonal communication, touching reveals the intimacy, sociability, and connectivity of conversationalists. Touching varies according to the degree of familiarity, status, and the communicative context in which touching is performed (Juliane Krueger, 2005). In most cases, touching is done with the hand. Julia highlights that people who are socially seen as superior tend to ‘touch others and invade others’ spaces’. In typical Vietnamese families, for instance, only grandparents pat children on shoulder or head; the reverse situation is not expected to occur. American culture even prohibits head touching absolutely. Up to cultures, touching is either allowed or forbidden to certain people in certain contexts.

2.2.3. Physical Appearance It’s undeniable that our weight, shape, and size talk. In its very own way, our physique communicates, too. Julia believes that our physical appearance determines success because it fixes people’s outlook on us wherever we go.

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In most cultures nowadays, especially Western cultures, people place particular emphasis on physical attractiveness on first date. The judgment of others stems much from this first impression. The most convincing evidence can be seen at today’s massive job interviews where neatly dressed, attractive figures would be better appreciated than casual, chubby looking. Indeed, Riggio and Friedman (1986) find that when people are engaged in public speaking, their physical attractiveness is an important factor in the audience’s responses to them in terms of likeability, confidence, and competence. The more attractive we look, the more attention we receive.

2.2.4. Artifacts Artifacts are furnishing objects such as clothes, caps, shoes, jewelry, bags, or any accessories that accompany us or belong to us.

Julia argues that artifacts announce our heritage and identities. Like sailors must wear blue jean collars and tourists must carry backpacks, different people wear different artifacts to be recognized. We can’t help seeing them without their own artifacts. Artifacts become part of people’s identities.

It is also said that artifacts distinguish gender, age and ethnicity. They bring about preceding evaluation so communication becomes easier. Since people can seek outfits to recognize sexes, look into wardrobes to understand generation gaps and see costumes to specify ethnicity, it’s important to understand artifacts correctly.

Artifacts play another key role in defining ‘personal territories’ (Wood, 2006). Julia says that they ‘personalize our environment’. Home, for example, should
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be very personal so we fill homes with what matters to us (Mary Catherine Bateson, 1990). We decorate homes with artifacts that express our experiences, relationships, values, and personalities (Julia, 2009). There are a number of ways we use artifacts to claim our ownership of space. We keep huge family photos at home. All over the salon, we spread on favorite magazines. In the workplace, we put another daisy pot on the desk like the one we put nearby bedroom window. The closeness these familiar objects create makes us feel more personal and comfortable. Without their presence, we would not seem much ourselves.

2.2.5. Environmental Factors “Environmental factors are elements of settings that affect how we feel and act” (Julia, 2009). A number of examples can be given to prove that environmental factors have influence on our interpersonal communication. Julia concentrates on surrounding settings such as architecture, colors, room design, temperature, sounds, smells and lighting. They are fundamentals of her study.

Rooms with comfortable chairs invite relaxation, whereas rooms with stiff chairs prompt formality. Dimly lit rooms can enhance romantic feelings, although dark rooms can be very depressing. We feel solemn in churches and synagogues with their somber colors and sacred symbols.

We tend to feel more lethargic on sultry summer days and more alert on crisp fall ones. Delicious smell can make us feel hungry, even if we previously weren’t interested in food. Our bodies synchronize themselves to patterns of light, so that we feel more alert during daylight than during the evening.

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In discussing environmental factors, Julia provides a specific description of a substantial experiment in which responses of diners in a cafeteria were tested when music was being played. After each period of 16 days, the pace of music would reduce from 122 beats per minute to 56 beats per minute and finally to zero. Experts wanted to know how music influenced the pace of eating. The result is that the pace of eating also reduces from 4.4 bites per minute to 3.83 bites per minute and 3.23 bites per minute after each passing period. The discovery affirms that there’ a proportional relationship between the pace of music and the pace of eating.

2.2.6. Proximics and Personal Space “Proximics refers to space and how we use it” (Hall, 1968). Robert Sommer, a psychologist, defines personal space as “an area with invisible boundaries surrounding a person's body into which intruders may not come” (Elizabeth D. Hutchison, 2003, p.292). As we all know, in interactions, each individual is entitled to a certain amount of space. Depending on cultures, the degree of closeness varies between partners in specific conversational settings.

Generally, people set their own size of space within which they feel comfortable. In the United States, people keep an approximate distance of about 4 to 12 feet with acquaintances; between romantic partners and close friends, they enjoy 18 inches or less (Julia, 2009). It is seen that people make different use of space to show different states of relationships they are having. People become closer when their relationships are well maintained; otherwise staying apart is the best resort. Like haptics which represents social grades, proximics or space announces status, “with greater space being assumed by

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those with greater status.” Those who have greater power are the most likely to trespass into others’ territory (Henley, 1977).

2.2.7. Chronemics “Chronemics refers to how we perceive and use time to define identities and interaction” (Julia, 2009). In most cultures, time is important and different types of people use time differently to somewhat display the position they socially occupy. Apparently, people with high status enjoy the privilege of keeping others on wait. Celebrated actors, for example, may come late for a press conference yet can be easily tolerated. On the contrary, job candidates are not expected to arrive after the interview has begun. They are too inferior to take up this luxury.

Additionally, in terms of social relationships, the way people spend time indicates the degree of interpersonal intimacy. It is widely agreed that people spend more time with whom they fancy than with those who bore them or whom they don’t like (Julia, 2009). This refers to the “interpersonal priorities” we naturally express in communication as well as relationship.

2.2.8. Paralanguage Paralanguage (or paralinguistic behaviors) is the “vocal communication” without the interference of words. In Julia’s view, paralanguage includes sound (murmurs and gasps) and vocal qualities (volume, pitch and inflection). In broader perspective, paralanguage allows accents, pronunciation, and the complexity of sentences.

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It is believed that when people first meet, voice is one main cue used to interpret the other party. Almost everything about our feelings and nature is explicitly exposed in the way we sound. We murmur in secrets but shout loud in anger. Across cultures, such paralinguistic behaviors translate the same messages. Understanding these messages makes effective communication.

A highlighted point, however, is that like body motions, paralinguistic behaviors can be exploited to manipulate under special circumstances. For example, job candidates will try to sound firm and sure of themselves if wanting “to project self-confidence;” big braggers will also be noisy to be noticed. Therefore, it is undesirable to trust paralanguage completely unless communication takes place naturally.

Last but not least, paralanguage is known to reflect “cultural heritage” and seal our membership in certain “communication communities” (Julia, 2009). It seems reliable that for living in different cultures where different accents are practiced, people quickly pick up the local accent. People in the north speak differently from people in the south. Londoners don’t sound the same as Liverpoolers. From time to time, rural residents and city-dwellers cannot communicate. The accent we practice unfairly determines public interpretation of our values. Julia emphasizes that people with a different accent are “stereotyped” so nonverbally get treated a different way.

2.2.9. Silence Silence is wordless but powerful. ‘I’m not speaking to you’ actually speaks volumes (Julia, 2009). It is said that the message communicated via silence has different meanings. Students keep silent to show respect in class; spouses’
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interminable quiet shows that marriage is not working; romantic partners being close together desire few words; being ignored can also be experienced through silence. Obviously, silence can be interpreted in either pleasant or discomforting way. In daily communication, silence conveys the most effective messages.

2.3. Functions of Nonverbal Communication Nonverbal behaviors carry from 65% (Birdwhistell, 1970) to 93% (Mehrabian, 1981) of the total meaning of communication. (Julia T. Wood, 2008, p.139)

The statement affirms the indispensable role of nonverbal communication in the communication of meaning. It is thus open to question what functions nonverbal behaviors play to fulfill such load of work. Julia (2008) recognizes three basic functions of nonverbal communication, namely “to supplement verbal communication,” “to regulate interactions,” and “to convey the bulk of the relationship level of meaning.”

The first function is to supplement words. Basically, there are five ways nonverbal behaviors supplement the verbal communication. First, nonverbal behavior illustrates the words as when we say “Left!” and at the same time point the index finger to the left. Second, nonverbal behavior contradicts the words as when we say “I’m fine!” while actually weeping. Next, nonverbal behavior intensifies the verbal message just as “I don’t want to see you again” is more effectively expressed with a wide frown and straight eye gaze. Fourth, nonverbal behavior takes the place of speech like shrugging to mean “I don’t

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know.” Finally, nonverbal behavior emphasizes the intended verbal message so as to distinguish “I love you” from “I love you” or “I love you.”

The second function of nonverbal behavior is to regulate interactions. We use heaps of nonverbal behaviors to switch roles in communicating. If one wants to take the floor, he signals by rising up. If the speaker doesn’t want to be interrupted, his eye contact with the listeners reduces. In order to be supportive, people lean forward and focus on the eyes. That is how nonverbal behavior controls our communicating practice.

Finally, nonverbal behavior functions to “establish the relationship level of meaning.” There are three dimensions involved: Responsiveness, liking and power (Mehrabian, 1981). According to Julia, this function of nonverbal behaviors expresses the “relationships between communicators.”

Responsiveness is “showing attentiveness to others and interest in what they say and do.” Inflection, eye contact, and attentive body posture can be employed as nonverbal cues of responsiveness to express “interest and involvement.” If a student enjoys the talk of his friend, he may signal his interest by leaning forward, looking straight at the speaker, or possibly raising his voice to encourage a continuance. “Lack of responsiveness,” on the other hand, may be felt in yawns or adverted eyes, Julia illustrated.

The second dimension, liking, shows that one likes or dislikes others. Nonverbal cues of liking include “vocal warmth, standing close to others, touching, and holding eye contact.” It is noteworthy that for the difference between genders, females show more nonverbal expressions of liking such as
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touching and sitting close to one another than males do. Males, for being less socialized, don’t touch each other often except for shaking hands in greeting. Otherwise, expressions of dislike may be a frown, a glare, even turning back on or moving away from the person seated beside.

Finally, the dimension of power or control indicates “the degree” to which one acts as if he is “equal to, dominant over, or differential to others.” According to Mehrabian, this dimension directly concerns with the roles of communicators in defining topics, directing conversations, interrupting and deferring. Of myriad behaviors that convey control messages, the three most important are: vocal qualities, touch, and use of space (Julia, 2008). In all three categories, men generally exceed women in nonverbal efforts to exert control (Major, Schmidlin, & Williams, 1990). For example, male members in group discussion would “use greater volume and stronger inflection to highlight their ideas.” Touching is also applied by males to “assert and reinforce status” (Henley & Freeman, 1995; Spain, 1992).

III. Nonverbal Expressions of Support in Group Work 1. Support In Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary, a couple of meanings are given in favor of “support.”

• Support, as a verb, is defined as “to help or encourage sb/sth by saying or showing that you agree with them/it.” • Support, as a noun, is defined as “encouragement and help that you give to sb/sth because you approve of them and want them to be successful.”
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These concrete definitions of “support” conclude some ideas. In the first place, there are basically two ways of support: saying to support and doing to support. If not wanting to verbally express support, we nonverbally show it as an alternative. With or without the presence of words, support is still likely to happen. Second, when we show support, it is intended as an approval or encouragement of somebody or something. Since the interpersonal communication is vital and our desire to maintain it is strong, we happen to offer support whatever way it may come. Nonverbal means of support, for this reason, is in bad need.

2. Group Work When it comes to the question of group work, most scholars would immediately think of the “cooperative learning.” Cooperative learning is the instructional use of small groups so that students work together to maximize their own and each other’s learning (Robert A. DeVillar, Christian J. Faltis, & James P. Cummins, 1994). It is said that within the cooperative learning groups, students recognize two responsibilities: to learn the assigned materials and to make sure that all other members of their group do likewise. Under sense of cooperation, students work together on the given material, help each other to understand it, and encourage each other to try harder to accomplish the shared goals.

The implementation of cooperative learning approach gave birth to a number of cooperative learning groups. The three most basic types realized by scholars are formal cooperative learning groups, informal cooperative learning groups, and cooperative base group (Johnson, Johnson & Holubec, 1990).
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Formal cooperative learning groups are groups formed to achieve shared learning goals and complete jointly specific tasks and assignments such as decision making, problem solving, writing a report, conducting a survey or reading a reference book (Johnson, Johnson & Holubec, 1993). With this type of learning group, students divided into small teams work together on the assigned tasks or materials after necessary explanations have been given by the teacher. The teacher takes control of the activity by guiding the students around and offering help. When finished, students will be assessed both individually and in group to see how much they have achieved working together. They naturally are taught the lesson of help and responsibility also. A typical formal cooperative learning group exists for one class period to several weeks’ time.

Informal cooperative learning groups are groups used for a handful of purposes: to focus student attention on the material to be learned, to set a mood conducive to learning, to help set expectations as to what will be covered in a class session, to ensure that students cognitively process the material being taught, and to provide closure to an instructional session (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1992; Johnson, Johnson, & Smith, 1991). Activities of informal cooperative learning groups can be in form of prelecture and post-lecture discussions or two-to-three-minute pair discussions. The aim of this type of group is to get students intensively attended to what is being taught by organizing material, explaining it, summarizing it, and integrating it into existing conceptual structures. For the fact that such groups are always temporary and spontaneous, they last for a matter of minutes to one class period only.
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Cooperative base groups are long-term groups lasting for one semester or year with stable membership, whose primary responsibility is to give the support, encouragement, and assistance each member needs to make academic progress and develop cognitively and socially in healthy ways (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1992; Johnson, Johnson, & Smith, 1991). On regular basis, members of cooperative base group meet informally to discuss assignments and help each other with problems. Constant support between members is essential to the success of this type of group.

Altogether, it can be concluded that cooperative learning groups cannot thrive without members’ exchange of support. Long term or short term, support provides the base for all members to be connected and achieve the shared goals. It is therefore useful to investigate how students interact within group to exchange support by means of nonverbal behaviors.

3. Nonverbal Expressions of Support in Group Work No known scholars have shed light on this field of communication so the researcher determined to work out a checklist of nonverbal supportive behaviors he actually observed or read about. The attempt eventually resulted in a collection of nonverbal behaviors, following the classification of Julia T.W. presented in the foregoing review. After the elimination of physical appearance and environmental factors which serve no real purpose for the research, the checklist at last contains seven groups of behaviors, expected to give firm backbone for the later construction of the survey questionnaire.

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No.

1.

2.

3. 4. 5.

6. 7.

Expressions Nod head Wink Head Movements & Blink Facial Expressions Maintain eye-contact Smile Kinesics Clap hands “Thumbs up” gesture Hand Gestures “V-sign” gesture Snap fingers Body Postures & Lean forward Body Movements Sit upright Hold hands Shake hands Haptics Slap hands Pat shoulder/back Bump fists Uniform Artifacts Accessories Motto banner Move near to others Proximics & Personal Space Share space Punctuality Chronemics Use time effectively “Uh-huh”/“uhm” Use pitch Paralanguage Use volume Other vocal phenomena Keep silent Silence Table 2: Nonverbal expressions of support

Category

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3.1. Kinesics as Support There are a number of occasions on which our body uses its special language. Among the various motions that happen with the involvement of the body, head movements (including facial expressions), hand gestures, and body postures (or body movements) are the most remarkable ones. As far as support giving is considered, these three groups of nonverbal expressions should be noticed first.

Head nodding proves to be the most common. Nodding up and down signals agreement in most cultures, admittedly. It may well be accompanied by smiling and other signs of approval to enhance the efficiency. David Straker (2008) articulates: “Nodding whilst another person is talking sends approval and encourages him or her to continue talking.” Along with head nod, smiling, especially with the mouth slightly or not open, is obviously supportive. Eye contact produces the same effect too because the eyes, called by poets, are “the windows to the soul” (Julia, 2009). Effective support can be experienced via a maintained, direct eye contact of the hearer toward the speaker. Besides, winking (closing one eye and opening it quickly) and blinking (shutting and opening both eyes quickly) are equally supportive since for most cultures, they simply mean approval or acknowledgement or interest.

Hands also work hard when ideas are short. Julia (2009) confirms that many people talk with their hands. In fact, hand gestures help us think (Susan, 2004) and so do they when an expression of support is needed. In daily conversations, students may make frequent choice of some following hand gestures to display support.

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Clapping hands: striking two open hands together several times, especially to show approval or enjoyment of something.

Figure 1: clap hands Snapping fingers: creating a cracking sound with one’s fingers by building tension between the thumb and another (middle, index, or ring) finger, and then moving the other finger so it hits the palm a palm of one’s hand at high speed. Figure 2: snap fingers

Thumbs up: a closed fist held with the thumb extended upward in approval of sb/sth.

Figure 3: thumbs up “V-sign”: the first and second finger raised and parted whilst the remaining fingers clenched.

Figure 4: V-sign (All adapted from “Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary” & wikipedia.org)

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Though vastly common as effective messengers, the aforementioned hand gestures actually mislead people across cultures. The “V-for-victory sign,” for example, translates the same throughout the US, with the palm either facing in or out. In British culture, however, this gesture can only be accepted with the palm turned inward. When the palm is turned outward, the behavior seriously connotes an insult. Similarly, the thumbs-up gesture can be used to signify encouragement to Canadian people; yet in Arabic cultures, this expression really offends (Stella, 1999, p.124). Besides, the manner in which a hand gesture is shown affects the shade of meaning it transfers. This stands to reason why quick clapping can be highly appreciative but slow clapping normally ridicules or disapproves. It is all cultures that diversify their meanings. Body postures and body movements play important roles, too. When the body is fixed in a specific position, certain interpretation can possibly be made. For example, sitting upright in a relaxed manner is a favorable posture in business situations (Henrik Edberg, 2006). This highly formal body posture reveals as much mutual respect as the behavior of leaning forward to someone. When people sit upright or lean forward in conversing, it tends to mean that they are particularly interested and highly attending to the talk. As far as we consider nonverbal communication in group work, it would be common that students make active use of these sitting postures in supporting their friends.

3.2. Haptics as Support Touching (haptic behaviors) varies as people please. To support someone, touching can be exploited effectively provided that the “toucher” finds it comfortable and interpersonally possible to perform the act. Because haptics
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in general involves bodily contact which comes under great influence of many factors such as age, gender, status and mood, people apply touching in a variety of ways. As stated in the overview of nonverbal communication, touching represents some kind of spatial invasion, which is normally done by superiors upon inferiors. In the discussion of students’ group work, however, touching can be seen among equal status people who touch to show liking. For the need to interact and communicate is indispensable, students shake hands, slap hands, pat shoulder and bump fists with one another at frequent rate. To accomplish better understanding of these expressions, the researcher turned to some reliable dictionaries. Handshaking: A Handshake is a short ritual in which two people grasp each other’s hand, usually right hands, often accompanied by a brief up and down movement of the grasped hands. Figure 5: handshake Handholding: Handholding means having someone’s hands in your hands, showing a strong emotional support and reassurance, especially to alleviate tension and anxiety.

Figure 6: hold hand Shoulder/back patting: to pat on shoulder/back is to tap someone gently on his shoulder/back with the open hand.

Figure 7: pat shoulder
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Hand slapping: slapping hands means hitting the flat part of someone’s hand with that of yours.

Figure 8: slap hands

Fist bumping: A fist bump is a gesture performed when two people each form a closed fist with one of their hands and then lightly tap the front of their fist together. Figure 9: bump fists (All adapted from “Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary,” website: thefreedictionary.com & website: wikipedia.org)

Handshake is said to be the most common way for greeting and parting ritual. As need changes, the handshake has been practically adapted for more communicative uses. A handshake now can be employed to offer congratulations, express gratitude, complete an agreement and showcase cooperation. Men favor this behavior so much. Likewise, handholding can be supportive. Indeed, people hold hands according to cultures, gender and other social factors. Western cultures only witness women and children hold hands. Otherwise, men only hold hands in some parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Handholding indicates a token of friendship (Do Mai Thanh & Dao Thu

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Trang, 2006), which very much relates to the nonverbal communication of support often seen in cooperative learning. The other expressions are fairly common in use but may not be culturally welcome everywhere. In some countries like the US, patting someone on the shoulder is considered rude and undesirable. Fist bumping is more seen in sports events such as basketball as a sign of mutual respect. To the best of the author’s knowledge, the practice of these behaviors is positively being continued by university students elsewhere.

3.3. Artifacts as Support Shared artifacts give huge weight of support in special gatherings. Nowhere else can better exemplify the invincible power of these identical objects than at sport competition venues where same flags are raised, same banners are hung, same headbands are worn and same mottos are shown off. Uniform came into use very early. Some schools gave rise to the use of a common artifact by a formal requirement of student uniform. As Ronald (1983) states that “uniform promotes unity and community,” uniform indeed has helped realize and connect members of the same group. In other words, uniform boosts the spirit of any community or group in which it is massively worn by members.

On the condition that modern students adopt various ways of facilitating their in-group activities, moral support can be exchanged by means of some common artifacts. With the best effort made, the researcher has collected a few typical examples of supportive artifacts which may be shared by learning groups in some activities. At some point, these suggestions may sound
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subjective. Yet it is believed that the findings of their effectiveness in practice will be useful for other research purposes.

Uniform: Uniform is a special set of clothes worn by all members of an organization or a group at work, or by children at school (adapted from “Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary”). In consideration of cooperative learning group, uniform may include T-shirts, scarves, shoes, ties, and other favorite items. When worn at the same time by all members, these items each define individuals in terms of group (Julia, 2009) and boast group identity.

Accessories: Accessories are the things worn or carried that match our clothes, for example a belt or a bag (adapted from “Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary”). To achieve the best effect, students in cooperative learning groups may choose to use headbands, ribbons, logos, etc. as part of their wear.

Banner: Banner is a long piece of cloth with a message on it that is carried between two poles or hung in a public place to show support for something (adapted from “Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary”). The message written on group banner is often motto or such supportive wording as “With English, We Are One!” or “You Can Do It!” or “Try Harder!.”

3.4. Proximics and Personal Space as Support It is said that proximic behaviors reflect most of how supportive and encouraging a person can be. Personal space is always personal; it’s not easy to offer space or stay close to someone. Gender is another factor that widens the space shared between people. Therefore, it’s obviously a sign of encouragement if some person is willing to share space with you. Julia once
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illustrates that in friendly or close relationships, US people enjoy a narrow distance between parties. This means that when you are neared by someone, that person definitely fancies and wants to be with you. In the context of doing group work, a student may move toward or away from their group members. If the trend is the former, it can be said that this student is friendly and supports others. If he or she’s willing to share space, there’s no doubt that she’s supporting.

3.5. Chronemics as Support The idea of using time as support comes in two ways: the sense of punctuality and the spending of temporal budget. Before we explain how time can be used to give support, it is necessary to present some theoretical background about the relation between culture and time. Anthropologist Edward T. Hall, who has devoted career to the study of time across cultures, identified two fundamental ways of dealing with time: monochronically and polychronically (cited by Gary, 2008, p.34). In monochronic culture, people prefer to focus on one thing at a time, place remarkable value on punctuality, and rely on highly precise schedules. It is said that American people belong to monochronic culture. In contrast, people of polychronic culture do many things at the same time, make light of punctuality, and hardly schedule for everything. Polychronic people tend to care more about social relationship which delays their time for other things. In this sense, Vietnamese people are seemingly inclined toward polychronic culture.

Being on time for dates, people respect others and have their face socially saved. Those who take time seriously are more favored by others. By sticking close to their watch which tells time, people respectfully support one another
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because the common work is neither delayed nor troubled thanks to their punctuality. For cooperative learning groups, especially cooperative base groups which may take a year or so, punctuality has even greater impact. Coming to work on time or minutes earlier, students nonverbally support their peers.

Along with punctuality, the way students spend time reflects abundance of their support. In the context of doing group work, it is required that students use from a few minutes to possibly hours to work together. As a matter of fact, all members must consensually stick together for as long as expected unless emergencies occur. This being the case, the longer one student spends effectively with others, the more supportive the others may feel of him or her. Even when feeling tired or depressed, the student would try to remain supportive to keep face which socially roots from the interpersonal relations and the cooperative spirit all members were committed to from the beginning.

3.6. Paralanguage as Support Paralanguage mostly refers to sounds, vocal qualities, and how we use them to communicate. In the light of Julia’s work, the researcher realized several ways in which our voice works beyond speech to be supportive. Conversationally, we make others feel encouraged when our voice is made loud enough and clear. The soft, indistinct voice is not effective. With clear voice, enough volume, and quick tempo, it’s possible for every member to be heard in group effectively (Fernando Poyatos, 2002). In friendly chatting, our voice tends to get more warmth or adopt higher pitches. People feel our enjoyment of their talk. We also add to the conversations with technical fillers like “uh huh” or “umm.” It is to reassure that we have heard the words (Leil Lowndes, 2003) or
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agreed with the ideas. Furthermore, these conversational fillers show that we are attending to the point mentioned.

In another respect, Fernando remarks that in order to avoid long unacceptable interruption, we tend to rapidly get a word in edgewise during conversations. This usually happens when we want to abruptly take the speaker’s turn or when we know that we are going to be interrupted. This phenomenon is meant to express spontaneous ideas briefly and absolutely observable in hotlydebated discussions where students propose, argue, refute and comment at frequent rate. The obvious effect of the behavior is that the interrupter is still able to convey his messages yet the current speaker would not be rudely discontinued.

3.7. Silence as Support Silence is part of listeners’ work in interaction (Adam Jaworski, 1997). In view of nonverbal communication, silence not only means the absence of sound but serves communicative purposes as well. As Julia argues that silence can be interpreted into various meanings which range from ignorance to contentment, the practice of silence as a kind of support is possibly credible. In the event of working among lots of people, everyone should find occasional silence extremely useful for it shows that we are all attending to the same point. In other perspective, it shows that we are respectful of every member fairly. During group work, silence should be achieved among listeners. Although absolute silence is virtually impossible, we expect the most of silence as someone takes turn to speak. Even when students work individually, silence is also needed to have better focus. Silence indeed is indispensable in cooperative learning.
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CHAPTER III: METHODOLOGY
I. Participants The target population consists of 50 Vietnamese and American university undergraduates. These participants (25 from each country) are expected to be proactive in cooperative learning and use group work on a regular basis. Thanks to the geographical proximity, it’s easier for the researcher to randomly select the Vietnamese students to take part in his study. In case of American participants, however, the selection process encounters quite a problem because the researcher’s contact with them is limited. A solution is offered when some teachers and friends agree to help deliver the questionnaire to the American students they know. This half of participants is thus expected to be equally reliable.

II. Data Collection Instrument The paper is constructed on both survey questionnaire and interview. Research history exploits survey questionnaire, the quantitative method, as the most effective way of gaining massive data from a wide range of respondents in a very short time. Of course, this obvious advantage enables the researcher to be able to involve as many participants as he wishes. The shortcoming of this method, however, lies in the credibility of the information it gives. The respondents, for some reason, may fake or idealize their answers so the significance of the output results reduces. Interviewing solves this problem. The qualitative method seeks the most reliable responses for research via faceto-face meetings in which the researcher, now the interviewer, acts to supervise and control participants’ responding. Participants are faced so they are more likely to give honest answers and the conversations come closer to
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the primary objectives. Though this method cannot be carried out on a large population, the information it gathers is thorough and content-deep. Therefore, the researcher has determined to combine both these methods in the collection process of data, not only to cover the most but also to achieve the best of what is studied.

III. Procedure of Data Collection 1. Stage 1: Designing the Questionnaire On the theoretical background of nonverbal communication and group work, a framework for the survey questionnaire was formed. It includes both behavioral and attitudinal questions to comprehensively inquire the respondents on their use of some nonverbal expressions to show support in group work.

2. Stage 2: Piloting After the compilation had been completed, the questionnaire was delivered to a group of five students (both Vietnamese and American) for piloting. This step was planned to ensure the practicality as well as the answerability of the questions. The sampling students are known to have relevant competence of English to answer every question comfortably. Adjustment was made according to the feedbacks the researcher received.

3. Stage 3: Delivering the Questionnaire In-person meetings and email were two ways the questionnaire reached its respondents. Confidentiality of identity was promised to activate their willingness in taking the questions seriously. A generous amount of time was

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also offered to make sure all respondents would not be pressed to answer perfunctorily.

4. Stage 4: Encoding the data With careful consideration to gender factor and nationality, the participants are encoded as below:

Male M Female F American male AM American female AF Vietnamese male VM Vietnamese female VF Table 3: Encoded participants

AM AF VM VF 14 56% 11 44% 10 40% 15 60% Table 4: Participants’ description

In the survey questionnaire, the nonverbal expressions of support are organized into seven groups according to the classification of nonverbal communication proposed by Julia T.W. (2009).

Behavior Nod head once Nod head repeatedly Winking Blinking Eye-contact Smile

American use A1.1 A1.2 A1.3 A1.4 A1.5 A1.6

Vietnamese use V1.1 V1.2 V1.3 V1.4 V1.5 V1.6

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Clap hands Thumbs-up V-sign Snap fingers Lean forward Sit upright

A1.7 A1.8 A1.9 A1.10 A1.11 A1.12 Table AV 1: Encoded kinesic behaviors

V1.7 V1.8 V1.9 V1.10 V1.11 V1.12

Behavior American use Vietnamese use Hold Ms’ hands A2.1 V2.1 Hold Fs’ hands A2.2 V2.2 Pat Ms’ shoulders A2.3 V2.3 Pat Fs’ shoulders A2.4 V2.4 Shake Ms’ hands A2.5 V2.5 Shake Fs’ hands A2.6 V2.6 Bump fists with Ms A2.7 V2.7 Bump fists with Fs A2.8 V2.8 Slap hands with Ms A2.9 V2.9 Slap hands with Fs A2.10 V2.10 Table AV 2: Encoded haptic behaviors

Behavior Uniform Accessories Motto banners

American use A3.1 A3.2 A3.3 Table AV 3: Encoded artifacts

Vietnamese use V3.1 V3.2 V3.3

Behavior American use Vietnamese use Move near to Ms A4.1 V4.1 Move near to Fs A4.2 V4.2 Share space with Ms A4.3 V4.3 Share space with Fs A4.4 V4.4 Table AV 4: Encoded proximic behaviors

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Behavior American use Vietnamese use Come earlier than arranged A5.1 V5.1 Come on time A5.2 V5.2 Leave later for unexpected delay A5.3 V5.3 Spend longer on ideas A5.4 V5.4 Spend longer answering A5.5 V5.5 Spend time solving problems A5.6 V5.6 Reduce time of interrupting A5.7 V5.7 Express briefly & effectively A5.8 V5.8 Get prepared A5.9 V5.9 Table AV 5: Encoded chronemic behaviors

Behavior American use Vietnamese use Uh-huh/uhm A6.1 V6.1 Raise voice A6.2 V6.2 Speak loud & clearly A6.3 V6.3 Speak softly to avoid interrupting A6.4 V6.4 Get a word in edgewise A6.5 V6.5 Table AV 6: Encoded paralinguistic behaviors

Behavior American use Silence when someone speaking A7.1 Silence when someone working A7.2 Table AV 7: Encoded silence

Vietnamese use V7.1 V7.2

In the next chapter, all findings about these behaviors will be specifically discussed, using the encoded data for simpler understanding. The discussion will mainly focus on answering the four research questions:

1. What are Vietnamese students’ common nonverbal expressions of support in group work?
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2. What are American students’ common nonverbal expressions of support in group work? 3. What are the similarities and differences between Vietnamese and American students in the use of nonverbal expressions of support in group work? 4. What are the effects, perceived by students, of using nonverbal expressions of support in group work?

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CHAPTER IV: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
I. Description of Survey Questionnaire The survey questionnaire basically consists of 8 multiple-choice questions, of both behavioral and attitudinal type, enclosed with the personal detail section to assist the researcher in the classification of data later (see appendix 1). Questions from 1 to 7 inquire respondents on the frequency of their using seven groups of nonverbal expressions to show support in doing group work. The questions specifically focus on the following behaviors:

• Question 1: Kinesic Behaviors. • Question 2: Haptic Behaviors • Question 3: Artifacts. • Question 4: Proximic Behaviors. • Question 5: Chronemic Behaviors. • Question 6: Paralinguistic Behaviors. • Question 7: Silence. The final question aims at finding out what benefits they think the nonverbal expression of support have in the context of working in group. Respondents are asked to rate each option according to a given scale. The final findings will be presented in tables and charts.

II. Description of Interview 1. Interview questions The interviewees are asked the following questions:

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Nonverbal Expressions of Support Used by Vietnamese and American Students in Group Work

• Are you often engaged in doing group work? • Do you often support other members of your groups when working together? • Which way do you often follow to support other members (verbal and nonverbal)? • Which do you find more effective in terms of giving support, verbal expressions or nonverbal expressions? Why? • How effective do you think nonverbal expressions are in terms of giving support? • What are the disadvantages of using nonverbal expressions of support? • What have you seen as the result of using nonverbal expressions of support in the working of your group?

2. Description of Interviewees For the interview is simply intended to understand students’ opinions on the effects of using nonverbal expressions to show support, the interviewees will be selected randomly on the only condition that both genders are involved. Due to limited time budget, the researcher will invite two students (one male and one female) to attend an interview in a hope that these two enthusiastic informants will possibly bring about the most representative information for his study.

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Nonverbal Expressions of Support Used by Vietnamese and American Students in Group Work

III. Results and Discussion 1. Vietnamese Students’ Common Nonverbal Expressions of Support in Group Work 1.1. Kinesic Behaviors V1 V1.1 V1.2 V1.3 V1.4 V1.5 V1.6 V1.7 V1.8 V1.9 V1.10 V1.11 V1.12 Always Often Sometimes Seldom Never 16% 36% 40% 8% 0% 12% 16% 36% 28% 8% 0% 16% 12% 36% 36% 8% 12% 24% 20% 36% 36% 44% 20% 0% 0% 36% 52% 8% 4% 0% 28% 12% 32% 8% 20% 4% 32% 28% 28% 8% 4% 24% 20% 28% 24% 4% 4% 28% 20% 44% 20% 44% 20% 16% 0% 0% 24% 44% 16% 4% Table V1: Kinesic behavior as support by Vietnamese students

Table V1 shows the frequency of Vietnamese students’ using kinesic behaviors to show support. The proportion seems to be distributed equally among choices. The highest recorded percentage is 52% while the lowest is 0%. It can be seen that Vietnamese students use head movements and facial expression with different frequencies. V1.1 and V1.2 (head nod) are almost occasional, accounting for 40% (V1.1) and 36% (V1.2). V1.3 (winking) and V1.4 (blinking) are even less usual because the highest rank for this group appears in column seldom and never (about 36%). Yet the results for V1.5 (eye contact) and V1.6 (smile) look more positive since both do well on column always (36% each) and column often (44% and 52% respectively). It can be inferred that Vietnamese students prefer to maintain eye contact and smile as supports.

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The range for hand gestures does not vary greatly. On the whole, Vietnamese students don’t prefer V1.10 (snap fingers) since 44% of them say never. For V1.9 (V sign), there’s not much difference between often, sometimes, seldom, and never (24% on average). There’s also no clear trend for V1.7 (hand clapping) but the majority somehow tend to favor this behavior. On the other hand, 32% of the students say that they often use V1.8 (thumbs up) and only 8% say never to this behavior.

With 44% each for often and sometimes, the other two behaviors, V1.11 (leaning forward) and V1.12 (sitting upright) somehow enjoy a more common use. 20% of the Vietnamese respondents claim that they always lean forward as a signal of listeners’ interest. Therefore, it can also be concluded that Vietnamese students favor these two body postures.

1.2. Haptic Behaviors V2 V2.1 V2.2 V2.3 V2.4 V2.5 V2.6 V2.7 V2.8 V2.9 V2.10 Always Often Sometimes Seldom Never 0% 0% 20% 28% 52% 8% 8% 28% 40% 16% 4% 12% 28% 32% 24% 4% 16% 32% 28% 20% 0% 4% 20% 32% 44% 0% 8% 20% 44% 28% 0% 0% 16% 32% 52% 0% 4% 20% 28% 48% 0% 16% 16% 28% 40% 0% 16% 28% 28% 28% Table V2: Haptic behaviors as support by Vietnamese students

Table V2 demonstrates the range of preference for haptics behaviors among Vietnamese students. It seems that haptic behaviors enjoy a modest reputation.
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The majority of choices fall into seldom and never column, which means that Vietnamese students, both genders, don’t favor to touch. 52% neither hold males’ hands (V2.1) nor bump fists with them (V2.7). This may possibly result from the fact that most respondents here are females, which hinders them from using the hands intimately. Other expressions like shoulder/back patting (V2.3 & V2.4), handshaking (V2.5 & V2.6) and hand slapping (V2.9 & V2.10) only happen sometimes (around 20% and 30%). In general, Vietnamese students don’t prefer touching in group work.

1.3. Artifacts V3 V3.1 V3.2 V3.3 Always Often Sometimes Seldom Never 0% 12% 28% 20% 40% 0% 12% 32% 36% 20% 4% 8% 28% 40% 20% Table V3: Artifacts as support by Vietnamese students

From table V3, we can see the proportions of using artifacts in group work. Like haptics which involves physical touching, artifacts are not very popular in terms of giving support. Vietnamese students don’t use artifacts on regular basis. V3.1 (uniform) is never used by 40% of the students and only 12% report to use it often. 40% say they seldom have group motto banner (V3.3) while the result for V3.2 (accessories) in the same column is 36%. Otherwise, 20% say that they never use V3.2 and V3.3. Therefore, the same conclusion can be drawn that Vietnamese students are not in the habit of using artifacts as support.

1.4. Proximic Behaviors V4 V4.1 Always 0% Often 12% Sometimes 44% Seldom 24% Never 20% 44

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V4.2 0% 36% 36% 20% 8% V4.3 12% 56% 2% 4% 8% V4.4 16% 44% 28% 4% 8% Table V4: Proximic behaviors as support by Vietnamese students Table V4 reveals the practice of using space as support. We can realize that Vietnamese students don’t tend to shorten the distance in talking. The majority only chooses sometimes for V4.1 (move nearer to Ms) and only 12% often perform the act. The result seems a little better for V4.2 (move nearer to Fs) when 36% choose often and 26% choose sometimes, but it’s also noteworthy that most Vietnamese respondents are female so they may find it easier to do so. On the other hand, Vietnamese students are more willing to share space. 56% often share space with Ms (V4.1) whilst 44% can share space with Fs (V4.2) at the same rate. Additionally, a few students always share space with others whereas just a little number (8%) never offers any space. Altogether, Vietnamese students are relatively accustomed to sharing space, no matter what gender other parties belong to.

1.5. Chronemic Behaviors V5 Always Often Sometimes Seldom Never V5.1 16% 24% 36% 16% 8% V5.2 20% 36% 40% 4% 4% V5.3 24% 36% 24% 16% 0% V5.4 8% 52% 36% 4% 0% V5.5 4% 52% 32% 12% 0% V5.6 32% 48% 16% 4% 0% V5.7 20% 32% 48% 0% 0% V5.8 4% 68% 24% 4% 0% V5.9 16% 40% 28% 16% 0% Table V5: Chronemic behaviors as support by Vietnamese students

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Table V5 shows the frequency of using chronemics. At first sight, there’s a clearer trend in the use of time to express support. Most respondents say that they sometimes come earlier than arranged (36% for V5.1) or come on time (40% for V5.2) for group meetings. Coincidentally, a large number of respondents choose often for V5.4 (spend time on others’ ideas; 52%), V5.5 (spend time answering questions; 52%), V5.6 (spend time solving unexpected problems together, 48%), V5.8 (express effectively to avoid wasting time, 68%) and V5.9 (get prepared to save time, 40%). Only V5.7 (reduce time of interrupting others) peaks at sometimes with 48%. In contrast, no respondent says never to any of these expressions and the proportion for seldom is, too, modest (approximately 7.1% on average). To sum up, Vietnamese students tend to support one another through their own use of time. Their sense of punctuality is quite high and their attitude toward the effectiveness of using time in group work is fairly good.

1.6. Paralinguistic Behaviors V6 Always Often Sometimes Seldom Never V6.1 32% 52% 8% 8% 0% V6.2 20% 56% 24% 0% 0% V6.3 32% 56% 8% 4% 0% V6.4 12% 24% 52% 4% 8% V6.5 8% 32% 48% 12% 0% Table V6: Paralinguistic behaviors as support by Vietnamese students Table V6 presents how often Vietnamese students use paralinguistic behaviors as support. Often is the most rated column in this table because more than half the number of the respondents ticks often for V6.1 (uh-huh/uhm), V6.2 (raise voice) and V6.3 (speak loud & clearly) (52%, 56% and 56% in that order). 32% even always respond with fillers like “uh-huh” or “uhm.” They,

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moreover, don’t choose never, so it seems that these paralinguistic behaviors have become part of their speaking habits. V6.4 (speak softly) and V6.5 (get a word in edgewise) only happen sometimes with a proportion of 52% and 48 % respectively. On the whole, Vietnamese students have a tendency to employ paralinguistic expressions as a way of support. They seem to pay particular attention to tone and volume in speaking.

1.7. Silence V7 V7.1 V7.2 Always Often Sometimes Seldom 28% 44% 24% 4% 20% 48% 24% 8% Table V7: Silence as support by Vietnamese students Never 0% 0%

Table V7 describes the rate of silence employed by Vietnamese students in group work. From the collected data, it appears that the Vietnamese respondents don’t make much noise when there’s someone speaking (V7.1) or concentrating (V7.2). Only 4% choose seldom for V7.1 and 8% choose it for V7.2. Otherwise, around 46% claim that they often keep silent in such situations while many respondents say always. This brings us to the conclusion that Vietnamese students have quite good attitude toward the significance of silence in working together. They keep silent to respect as well as support one another. Silence can be considered their favorite choice.

2. American Students’ Common Nonverbal Expressions of Support in Group Work 2.1. Kinesic Behaviors A1 A1.1 A1.2 Always 12% 20% Often 40% 36% Sometimes 32% 16% Seldom 16% 20% Never 0% 8% 47

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A1.3 A1.4 A1.5 A1.6 A1.7 A1.8 A1.9 A1.10 A1.11 A1.12

0% 12% 16% 40% 32% 0% 0% 32% 32% 36% 20% 68% 12% 0% 0% 44% 40% 4% 12% 0% 0% 12% 56% 16% 16% 4% 24% 24% 36% 12% 0% 0% 12% 20% 68% 0% 0% 8% 16% 76% 12% 20% 56% 12% 0% 12% 52% 20% 12% 0% Table A1: Kinesic behaviors as support by American students

Table A1 displays the frequency of kinesics used by American students in group work. It can be seen that there’s a larger gap between choices, which insinuates that America students have strong favor and disfavor for certain expressions. For instance, A1.9 (V sign) and A1.10 (snap fingers) achieve a huge proportion in column never (68% and 76% respectively) yet fail miserably in column often and always (0%). With almost similar results, A1.3 (winking) and A.14 (blinking) can only enjoy a little more popularity when some respondents say they often (12%) wink and sometimes (32%) blink to support. In contrast, A1.5 (eye-contact) and A1.6 (smile) seem to gain much favor so most of the respondents either always (20% vs. 44%) or often (68% vs. 40%) use these expressions. A1.7 (clap hands) and A1.11 (lean forward) somehow have a more neutral result since the majority of choices (56%) fall into sometimes. Many students also have quite good awareness of sitting posture for 52% often remember to sit upright (A1.12) in talks. Besides, A1.1, A1.2 (head nod) and A1.8 (thumbs-up) pose difficulty for analyzing because students’ responses spread all over choices with not much difference. In general, American students often nod head to show support. Shaping a thumbs-up may be less common but still in use. The average proportion is

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24% among four levels, from often to never. None of them scores too high or too low. Altogether, it can be concluded that in terms of nonverbal support, maintaining eye-contact and sitting upright are American students’ big favorites, closely followed by leaning forward and head nodding.

2.2. Haptic Behaviors A2 A2.1 A2.2 A2.3 A2.4 A2.5 A2.6 A2.7 A2.8 A2.9 A2.10 Always Often Sometimes Seldom Never 0% 0% 0% 8% 82% 0% 4% 8% 24% 64% 4% 8% 16% 32% 40% 12% 4% 20% 32% 32% 12% 8% 20% 28% 32% 4% 12% 20% 52% 12% 8% 12% 20% 36% 24% 0% 4% 16% 36% 44% 8% 16% 40% 16% 20% 0% 12% 44% 12% 32% Table A2: Haptic behaviors as support by American students

Table A2 presents the frequency of haptics. At first glance, it can be seen that American students limit touching. The rate of choice for the first two columns is kept quite low, with an average of 4.8% (for always) and 8.0% (for often). The result looks better in column sometimes, especially to A2.9 (slap Ms’ hands) with 40% and A2.10 (slap Fs’ hands) with 44%. Also, these two expressions have the highest rates in column often (16% and 12%). It seems that American students favor to slap hands.

Looking more carefully, we can see that A2.4 (pat Fs’ shoulder) and A2.5 (shake Ms’ hands) rank first in the choice of always (both 12%). They also do fairly well in sometimes, both with 20%. To a large extent, it can be inferred

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that American students somehow have the preference of patting on the shoulder and shaking the hands as a way of supporting someone.

2.3. Artifacts A3 A3.1 A3.2 A3.3 Always Often Sometimes Seldom 0% 4% 12% 52% 0% 12% 16% 32% 0% 16% 24% 32% Table A3: Artifacts as support by American students Never 32% 40% 28%

Table A3 shows American students’ frequency of using artifacts in group work. The most obvious finding is that no surveyed students employ supportive artifacts at high rate. Only A3.3 (motto banner) accomplishes the best result with 16% in often and 24% in sometimes. With the best effort made, A3.2 (accessories) can only occupy 16% and A3.1 (uniform) 12% in sometimes. Otherwise, most of the choices fall into seldom and never as shown above. The conclusion is that American students are virtually not in the habit of using artifacts as support.

2.4. Proximic Behaviors A4 A4.1 A4.2 A4.3 A4.4 Always Often Sometimes Seldom Never 0% 8% 32% 28% 32% 12% 24% 32% 20% 12% 12% 20% 20% 36% 12% 16% 32% 28% 20% 4% Table A4: Proximic behaviors as support by American students

Table A4 exhibits the use of proximic behaviors as support. Obviously, American students don’t really favor to narrow the distance with Ms as they are speaking. Not many rate A4.1 (move near to Ms) very high whereas only 32% sometimes perform the acts. The other 32% even suggest that they never
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come closer to Ms. It shows that A4.1 is far from their choice. Meanwhile, A4.2 (move near to Fs), A4.3 (share space with Ms) and A4.4 (share space with Fs) enjoy better reputation. There are 12% who always do A4.2 and 24% who do it often. Another 12% always do A4.3 whereas 16% always do A4.4. The rating of these behaviors is also quite high in often and sometimes. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the highest rank for A4.3 (share space with Ms) appear in seldom (36%), which means that this behavior is not the most favored. Therefore, only A4.2 and A4.4 can be considered among the common supporting behaviors of American students.

2.5. Chronemic Behaviors A5 Always Often Sometimes Seldom Never A5.1 16% 36% 40% 0% 8% A5.2 44% 48% 8% 0% 0% A5.3 8% 20% 40% 20% 12% A5.4 16% 28% 48% 4% 4% A5.5 0% 44% 40% 16% 4% A5.6 8% 44% 36% 12% 0% A5.7 40% 32% 28% 0% 0% A5.8 32% 44% 24% 0% 0% A5.9 48% 36% 16% 0% 0% Table A5: Chronemic behaviors as support by American students Table A5 is the presentation of how often American students use time to support. At short glance, there’s a tendency in students’ responses to this group of expressions which is most obviously characterized by behaviors like A5.1 (come earlier than arranged), A5.7 (reduce time of interrupting), A5.8 (express effectively to avoid wasting time) and A5.9 (get prepared to save time). Specifically, it’s reported that 44% American respondents always arrive earlier for group meetings and 48% often do this. In terms of using time, 40%

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claim that they always avoid interrupting others in order to save time whilst 44% often express themselves briefly and effectively for the same purpose. Besides, 48% also always have careful preparation before meeting, so their groups spend time together efficiently.

In addition, though not being rated always by many, some expressions like A5.3 (leave later for unexpected delay), A5.4 (spend longer on someone’s ideas), A5.5 (spend longer answering questions) and A5.6 (spend time solving unexpected problems together) still top the choices with a percentage of more than 40% in often or sometimes.

To sum up, American students express a very good sense of punctuality and make effective use of time. Though record shows that a mere proportion of 8% never come on time for meeting (A5.2), it should necessarily be understood that these few respondents may often or always come earlier than arrangement. It’s absolute that American students have strong preference for chronemic behaviors as far as support is concerned.

2.6. Paralinguistic Behaviors A6 Always Often Sometimes Seldom Never A6.1 12% 28% 40% 12% 8% A6.2 12% 24% 16% 40% 8% A6.3 32% 28% 40% 0% 0% A6.4 16% 16% 28% 28% 12% A6.5 12% 28% 32% 20% 8% Table A6: Paralinguistic behaviors as support by American students From table A6, the frequency of paralinguistic behaviors is clearly demonstrated. On the whole, students’ responses stretch all over the options

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with just a slight difference between choices. A6.1 (uh-huh/uhm), for example, is employed at different rates, but the majority (40%) agrees to do the behavior sometimes. 40% is also the highest rank for A6.2 (raise voice), but it falls to column seldom, which shows that American students don’t usually use this behavior to show interest when they speak. Meanwhile, the result for A6.3 (speak loud & clearly) totally leans to the left side with 32% for always, 28% for often and 40% for sometimes. More or less, it means that American students exploit their vocal strength in supporting. Besides, A6.4 (speak softly to avoid interrupting) and A6.5 (get a word in edgewise) seem to be favored by some and disfavored by some others. Students’ use of these two behaviors don’t create trend except a slight peak (32%) for A6.5 at sometimes. In general, only A6.3 (speak loud & clearly) is American students’ big favorite, followed by A6.1 (uh-huh/uhm) and A6.5 (get a word in edgewise).

7. Silence A7 A7.1 A7.2 Always Often Sometimes Seldom 60% 40% 0% 0% 12% 52% 36% 0% Table A7: Silence as support by American students Never 0% 0%

Table A7 describes the frequency in the use of silence as support. It can be observed that American students have an unfailing habit of keeping silent. 60% of them state that they always keep silent when there’s someone speaking (A7.1). Under the same circumstance, the other 40% report to keep silent very often, leaving the other three columns hopelessly blank. In the event of someone working by their side (A7.2), American students also sustain a certain degree of silence as respect. 12% choose always in this case and the

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results for often and sometimes respectively are 52% and 36%. In conclusion, American students are highly accustomed to using silence in supporting.

3. The Similarities and Differences between Vietnamese and American Students in the Use of Nonverbal Expressions of Support in Group Work After analyzing all the data with great consideration to the slightest difference between options, the researcher comes up with two summarizing tables of nonverbal expressions that Vietnamese and American students commonly use in supporting.

V1.1 V1.6 V1.11 V4.4 V5.3 V5.6 V5.9 V6.3 V7.1 V1.2 V1.7 V1.12 V5.1 V5.4 V5.7 V6.1 V6.4 V7.2 V1.5 V1.8 V4.3 V5.2 V5.5 V5.8 V6.2 V6.5 Table V8: Vietnamese students’ common nonverbal expressions of support

A1.1 A1.6 A2.9 A5.1 A5.4 A5.7 A6.1 A7.1 A1.2 A1.11 A4.2 A5.2 A5.5 A5.8 A6.3 A7.2 A1.5 A1.12 A4.4 A5.3 A5.6 A5.9 A6.5 Table A8: American students’ common nonverbal expressions of support

3.1 The Similarities The most recognizable similarity is that Vietnamese and American students both prefer chronemic behaviors (V5 & A5). As concluded, most of the respondents express a very high sense of punctuality in group work, spend time efficiently and support others through time. They are also willing to spend time solving unexpected problems together, which shows that their sense of cooperation, responsibility and enthusiasm are quite high too.

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In addition, both Vietnamese and American students answering this survey also favor silence as a way of supporting. If there’s someone speaking or working nearby, most of them would keep silent to listen to or to respect that person. Although there may inevitably exist some slight difference in the rates which results from the difference between cultures and people, it can absolutely be generalized that silence has been practiced very well on both sides of participants.

Besides, Vietnamese and American students resemble very much in some expressions in group 1 (head nod, eye contact, smile, lean forward, sit upright), group 4 (share space with Fs) and group 6 (uh-huh/uhm, speak loud & clearly, get a word in edgewise). Of the expressions in group 1, the two most outstanding voted by both sides of respondents are “smile” and “eye contact.” Despite an unavoidable imbalance in the gender of respondents (more Americans are male and more Vietnamese are female), the final result shows that the majority of them still favor to share space with females. Females are offered space by both genders at frequent rate. It tends to be that in both cultures where communication takes place, females enjoy a privilege in terms of space use. In consideration to paralinguistic behaviors, the common finding is that Vietnamese and American students agree on the universal expression “uh-huh” or “uhm” to show encouragement and exploit their vocal strengths (especially male respondents) to be fully heard. They also get their words in edgewise so that their spontaneous ideas would not stop the speakers impolitely. Generally speaking, Vietnamese and American students meet each other at some nonverbal expressions as discussed.

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Besides, it can also be concluded that Vietnamese and American students have little interest in using expressions of group 2 (haptic behaviors) and group 3 (artifacts). This can be explained by the fact that touching behaviors consider gender of the “toucher,” so males and females would not hold hands or shake hands freely. Otherwise, it would cost money and create inconvenience to wear uniforms or accessories, so students rarely make use of artifacts as a signal of moral support. (See appendices, pg.72)

3.2. The Differences A handful of differences can be noticed. First, Vietnamese respondents still make use of V1.7 (clap hands) and V1.8 (thumbs-up) whereas Americans don’t. In view of nonverbal behaviors in the foregoing chapter, the thumbs-up gesture, which means “that’s good,” prevails in American culture. However, it appears that American students rarely do this behavior to support others when working. Vietnamese students adopt this behavior very quickly so they use it more often. In contrast, while there are few Vietnamese students in favor of V2.9 expression (slap hands with Ms), American students slap hands with male members in group very frequently. Furthermore, Vietnamese students tend to do V4.2 (move near to Fs); American students tend to do V4.3 (share space with Ms). In fact, it must be admitted that American males and Vietnamese females rule this survey, so the difference in their choice of such behaviors that are influenced by gender factor as haptics can be reasoned to certain degree. Last but not least, we can see that there are two more expressions employed by Vietnamese students, namely V6.2 (raise voice) and V6.4 (speak softly to avoid interrupting). Most Vietnamese students either often or always raise voice to show interest in the topic being talked about. To avoid interrupting, they speak softly to reduce noises.
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On the other hand, though both attaching great importance to time and punctuality, Vietnamese and American students still express different awareness. All American students always come on time or earlier for meetings and no one comes late. Meanwhile, some Vietnamese students can’t help being late at times (for confidentiality reason, these students’ identity will not be published). Adversely, more Vietnamese students are willing to stay on to cope with unexpected deals. Americans tend to care more of personal benefits and leave first. They don’t often willingly spend longer time for such unscheduled situations. These interesting findings turn out to tally with what has been researched about two cultures. It is assumed that in terms of dealing with time, Vietnam tends to be more polychronic whereas America tends to be more monochronic. Vietnamese students care more about relationships so many accept to take time. Americans are more practical so they rarely linger anywhere too long. Yet American students are highly scheduled and prepare before meetings. Vietnamese students, though revealing quite a positive result, still fail to get prepared for group work sometimes. This finding proves to be consistent in most aspects.

4. Students’ Attitude toward the Effects of Using Nonverbal Expressions of Support in Group Work There are five options that suggest possible effects of using nonverbal expressions of support. Students are asked to rate each option from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). One choice can receive between 25 pts (if all respondents give it 1 point) and 125 pts (if all respondents give it 5 points). The final combined scores presented in column charts will visualize how students think of the effects of using nonverbal expressions to show support.
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100 80 60 40 20 0 A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6

Chart 1: American students’ opinions
120 100 80 60 40 20 0 V1 V2 V3 V4 V5 V6

Chart 2: Vietnamese students’ opinions Note on options: A1 & V1: Other members are encouraged to be more confident. A2 & V2: Other members are encouraged to be more creative. A3 & V3: Members can build up group rapport. A4 & V4: My relationships with other members can be reinforced. A5 & V5: My good self-image is displayed. A6 & V6: The success of group work can be made possible.
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Vietnamese students think positive of the effects of nonverbal supportive expressions in group work. They rate all choices very high, especially V1, V3 and V4. Vietnamese students strongly agree that the relationships between members in group can be supported through nonverbal communication (112 pts for V4). They also believe that members who see supportive behaviors will become more confident (105 pts for V1) and group rapport can be established (101 pts for V3). American students may rate choices a bit lower, but most of them also appreciate nonverbal expressions of support both as confidence generators and as success determiners. They strongly agree that their friends feel more confident when these expressions are shown (92 pts for A1). Likewise, the relationships with other members can be reinforced when some nonverbal expressions are exchanged (85 pts for A4). At high degree, nonverbal expressions of support are effective and important to students in communication.

As regards the interview, one student who always supports when doing group work considers support as “a motivating factor to raise the solidarity” and “to enhance the productivity of work.” She says that it’s “an important factor in making success” too. When asked whether she often chooses verbal or nonverbal way to support someone, the student says that she often makes use of nonverbal support such as nodding or smiling because these behaviors, according to her, show stronger effects. She also agrees that nonverbal behaviors convey more powerful messages, especially when combined with verbal behaviors. She emphasizes that support from other members makes one realize his role in the group, motivating him to “contribute and cooperate more.” Not only individuals but the group benefits also. The common work is made successful as all members are united. Nonverbal supports link them
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together. Everyone feels “comfortable and confident,” so they work better and contribute effectively. Success, for that reason, becomes realized. In terms of social relationship, another interviewed student adds that he loves the “friendly environment” in which supports are expressed in nonverbal way. He finds some expressions really useful especially when he has nothing to say but still wants to remain supportive. “Expressions” like head nod or “uh-huh” or “uhm” helps him overcome verbal barriers to express himself comfortably.

Students are afraid of some counter-effects, however. Both interviewees agree that some expressions are “too complicated” to use, so they avoid them. For example, an expression of winking creates misinterpretation sometimes. It may be understood as a lack of seriousness or a sign of joking. Wearing uniforms or using accessories causes inconvenience too because it takes time and money for all to be furnished exactly the same. Most students rarely use artifacts, consequently. Touching behaviors are also disfavored. The male interviewee expresses his worry that touching a girl, though only meant to support, can cause huge frustration. Gender differences make it almost impossible for that supposedly supportive behavior to be accepted between people of opposite sexes.

Altogether, it can’t be denied that nonverbal expressions of support reveal both advantages and disadvantages. However, it’s believed that the advantages outweigh disadvantages as long as communicators have careful consideration before performing the act. Apparently, most participating students display very good awareness of the effects that some nonverbal expressions of support have on their group work. The researcher therefore sincerely insists that students gain deeper understanding of these nonverbal expressions so that
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their communication becomes easier and more effective. At present, globalization and integration are two widespread trends ruling the world. It’s helpful to know how to apply nonverbal expressions of support in the right place at the right time.

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CHAPTER V: CONCLUSION
I. Summary of the Study The study has drawn a panorama of nonverbal expressions of support used by Vietnamese and American students in group work. The researcher tries to investigate what expressions students favor to employ in supporting one another. He also attempts to present how cultural factors, especially gender, affect their choice of these behaviors. Correspondingly, a comparison was made to show the similarities and differences between Vietnamese and American students in this respect. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were employed to possibly achieve the highest degree of reliability and validity of the data. The findings are hoped to bring about deeper understanding of different tastes and habits of using nonverbal supportive expressions between culturally different students, aiding them in the period of globalization and cultural exchange. Inevitably, limitations can’t help existing, but suggestions will also be offered for better outcomes of future studies. The researcher would warmly welcome all constructive comments and feedbacks from readers to improve the quality of his work.

II. Limitations of the Study Although efforts have been made to accomplish the most comprehensive results, the study objectively reveals some limitations.

First, due to the researcher’s limited contact with American students, the study could not involve a wider range of American participants, which may possibly diminish the reliability of the collected data. For such a reason, the researcher was also unable to involve more Vietnamese participants because the balance
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between two sides of population must be sustained. Only 50 students (25 from each side) make up the total size of the population.

In addition, the geographical distance between Vietnam and America prevented the researcher from inviting American respondent to an interview. Their point of view toward the effect of using nonverbal supportive expressions, for that reason, could only be interpreted through their answers in the survey, which, to a certain extent, limits the validity of the findings.

Another drawback is that some of the nonverbal expressions are as the result of subjective observation from the researcher, so the production of the entire research may not be comprehensive enough.

Last but not least, the imbalance in terms of gender, especially on the Vietnamese participants’ side, should also account for the unclear trend in the presentation of data. It can be seen that the American females and Vietnamese males are outnumbered, so their tastes of nonverbal expressions may not be representative enough.

III. Suggestions for Further Studies The researcher would like to suggest some other related topics for research which hopefully will be able to make up for the shortcomings presented in this study.

Gender’s Influences on Vietnamese and American Students’ Choice of Nonverbal Behaviors as Support.

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Nonverbal Communication of Agreement by Vietnamese and American Students in Discussion. Misunderstanding of Nonverbal Expressions of Support between Vietnamese and American Students.

Interested researchers can extend the number of participants from both sides to 100 or more, with particular consideration to gender balance. They can also shift the target population towards people of other backgrounds so that there is greater diversity and significance in the final findings. Besides, it would be equally helpful to take a look at other cultures such British, Canadian or Australian culture.

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REFERENCE
Adam, J. (1997). Silence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co.. Alan, B. (2006). Improve Your Communication Skills (2nd ed.). London: Kogan Page. Albert, M. (2007). Nonverbal Communication. USA: Transaction Pub. Bécheiraz, P. & Thalmann, D. (1996). A Model of Nonverbal Communication and Interpersonal Relationship between Virtual Actors. Switzerland: Proc. Computer Animation’96, IEEE Computer Society Press. Carole, L.E. & Carol, L.M. (2006). Health Promotion throughout the Life Span (6th ed.). Missouri: Elsevier Mosby. Chitode, J.S. (2008). Communication Theory (3rd ed.). India: Technical Publications Pune. David, S. (2008). Changing Minds. Retrieved December 25th 2009 from: http://changingminds.org/techniques/body/parts_body_language/head_b ody_language.htm David, W.J. & Roger, T.J. (2009). Cooperative Learning, Values, and Culturally Plural Classrooms. Retrieved January 17th 2010 from: http://www.co-operation.org/pages/CLandD.html#types Elizabeth, H. (2003). Dimensions of Human Behavior: Person and Environment (2nd ed.). USA: Sage Publications. Fernando, P. (2002). Nonverbal Communication across Disciplines, 2. The Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Co.. Gary, F. (2008). Cultural Anthropology: An Applied Perspective (7th ed.). USA: Thompson Learning, Inc.

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Henrik, E. (2006). 18 Ways to Improve Your Body Language. Retrieved January 17th 2010 from:

http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2006/10/27/18-ways-toimprove-your-body-language/ Julia, T.W. (2009). Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, and Culture (8th ed.). USA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. Julia, T.W. (2009). Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters (6th ed.). Canada: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. Juliane, K. (2005). Nonverbal Communication. Germany: GRIN Verlag. Larry, A.S., Richard, E.P. & Edwin, R.M. (2009). Communication between Cultures (7th ed.). USA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. Leil, L. (2003). How to Talk to Anyone. USA: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Mark, L.K. & John, A.D. (2002). Handbook of Interpersonal Communication (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Owen, H., Christine, S., David, D. (1994). Social Skills in Interpersonal Communication (3rd ed.). London: Routledge. Robert, A.D., Christian, J.F., Jim, P.C. (1994). Cultural Diversity in Schools: From Rhetoric to Practice. USA: State University of New York Press, Albany. Robert, S.F. (2007). Communication, Media and Identity: A Christian Theory of Communication. USA: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Ronald, D.S. (2005). Strategic Planning for Public Relations (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Ronald, K. (1983). The Sociology of School Organization. Series in Contemporary Sociology of the School. Great Britain: Mathuen (London, New York).
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Stella, T.T. (1999). Communicating across Cultures. USA: The Guilford Press. Thanh, D.M. & Trang, D.T. (2006). Introduction to Cross Culture Communication. Hanoi: ULIS, VNU. Wayne, W., Margaret, A.L., Dana, S.D. & Elizabeth, Y.H. (2008). Psychology Applied to Modern Life: Adjustment in the 21st Century (9th ed.). USA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

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APPENDICES
A SURVEY ON NONVERBAL EXPRESSIONS OF SUPPORT IN GROUP WORK

My name is Pham Van Khoa, an English-Teaching-major student at the University of Languages and International Studies, VNU. I am on the way to competing my graduation paper on “Nonverbal Expressions of Support used by Vietnamese and American Students in Group Work.” Your responses to this survey questionnaire would be of great value to the final product of the paper. This is not a test, so there’s no “right” or “wrong” answer. Please give your answer sincerely because that’s the only way to ensure the significance and success of this research. Thank you very much for your cooperation. ******************* Part I: Personal information of respondent (Be advised that this will be kept in secret and will not be sought at any cost) Name: ____________________________ College: ___________________________ Gender: Male Female

Part II: Questions From question 1 – 7: These questions ask you about the frequency you use certain kind of nonverbal expressions to show support when doing group work. Please read the questions carefully and tick in the box which is true to you. Question 1 (Kinesics): In a group discussion, how often do you act as follows to support members of your group, especially the one who is speaking? Frequency Sometimes Seldom

1. 2. 3. 4.

Head Movements & Facial Expressions nod your head once at a time nod your head repeatedly wink (close one eye and open it quickly) blink constantly (shut and open both eyes quickly)

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Never

Often

No. Expressions

Always

Nonverbal Expressions of Support Used by Vietnamese and American Students in Group Work

5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

maintain strong eye-contact to show attention smile lightly Hand Gestures clap your hands briskly at great points show a “thumbs up” (meaning “That’s good!”) show a “V sign” shaped by two fingers (meaning “Victory”) snap two fingers together (meaning “Good job!” ) Body Postures & Body Motions lean yourself a bit forward to show interest sit upright

Question 2 (Haptics): Your group is having an in-class presentation. How often do you act as follows to support & encourage other members? Frequency Sometimes Seldom Seldom Always

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

hold a male member’s hands hold a female member’s hands pat a male member lightly on his shoulder pat a female member lightly on her shoulder shake hands with males? shake hands with females? bump fists together with males bump fists together with females slap hands together with males slap hands together with females

Question 3 (Artifacts): There are some familiar objects that can be used to show support in group work. How often do you use them to other members & to the group? Frequency Sometimes

1. 4. 5.

group uniform (e.g.: T-shirt, tie, etc.) some accessories like headband, cap, etc. some banner of group motto

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Never

Often

No. Expressions

Always

Never

Often

No. Expressions

Nonverbal Expressions of Support Used by Vietnamese and American Students in Group Work

Question 4 (Proximics & Personal Space): The way you use space shows how supportive you are of other members when doing group work. How often do you act as follows in your learning group? Frequency Sometimes

1. 2. 3. 4.

move nearer to a male speaking move nearer to a female speaking willingly share the space with a male willingly share the space with a female

Question 5 (Chronemics): The use of time tells the extent to which you support other group members and the group as a whole. Here’s the situation where a group meeting is to take place. How often do you act as follows? Frequency Sometimes Seldom Seldom Always

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

come earlier than arranged come on time willingly leave later than usual for unexpected delay spend longer on someone’s ideas spend longer answering questions when asked spend time solving unexpected problems together reduce time of interrupting others to minimum use brief & effective expression of ideas to avoid wasting time get yourself prepared for everything to save time

Question 6 (Paralanguage): In group discussion, how often do you __________ as an expression of support/respect to other members? Frequency Sometimes

1. 2.

utter “uh-huh”/“uhm” to signal agreement raise voice to show eager/interest

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Never

Often

No. Expressions

Always

Never

Often

No. Expressions

Never

Often

No. Expressions

Seldom

Always

Nonverbal Expressions of Support Used by Vietnamese and American Students in Group Work

3. 4. 5.

speak loud & clearly enough when asked speak softly to avoid interrupting others get a word in edgewise to avoid long interruption

Question 7 (Silence): Silence is effective in supporting someone. In group work, how often do you use silence as follows? Frequency Sometimes

1. 2.

keep silent when someone speaking keep silent when others doing their work

Rate each choice by circling the point according to the scale below: Strongly disagree 1 Disagree 2 Neutral 3 Agree 4 Strongly agree 5

Question 8: What do you think are the benefits of using nonverbal expressions of support when working in group? Point 1. Other members are encouraged to be more confident. 1 2 3 4 2. Other members are encouraged to be more creative. 1 2 3 4 3. Members can build up group rapport. 1 2 3 4 4. My relationships with other members can be reinforced. 1 2 3 4 5. My good self-image is displayed. 1 2 3 4 6. The success of group work can be made possible. 1 2 3 4 = The End =

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Never 5 5 5 5 5 5

Often

No. Expressions

Seldom

Always

Nonverbal Expressions of Support Used by Vietnamese and American Students in Group Work

INTERVIEW WITH A STUDENT Hello, T. Thank you very much for taking time to attend this interview. As you know, I am conducting a research on some nonverbal expressions of support used by Vietnamese and American students in group work. I would like to ask you some questions concerning the effects of these expressions in group work and communication too. Let me start by asking you:

Interviewer: Are you often engaged in doing group work?

Interviewee: Yes, of course. As a student, I am accustomed to many kinds of group work when learning different subjects. In terms of skill - learning, group work inevitably plays an indispensable role. At class, students are often exposed to doing group work when discussing and exchanging ideas. There are also many ways to divide students into different groups. Teacher can depend on students’ names on the list, on the position of students, or on allowing students to count numbers. Joining in different group work offers students various chances to work with different peers, to draw lessons from different points of view. As regards general subjects, group work is also of great importance. By exchanging and sharing materials, students can achieve higher results from the cooperation of group members. Moreover, each one can get useful knowledge that can not be found if they work individually.

Interviewer: Do you often support other members of your groups when working together?

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Interviewee: Yes, I always regard support in doing group work as important factor in making success. No one can work and live alone without the help of others. From the past when people had to shelter in caves and feed themselves by hunting and farming, to nowadays when technologies are applied to every aspects of life, people still need assistance, support, and courage from their community, especially from their partners, their colleagues, who are doing the same job, sharing the same difficulties, enjoying the same happiness with them. This support, therefore, can be seen as motivating factor to raise the solidarity, to enhance the productivity of work.

Interviewer: Which way do you often follow to support other members, verbal or nonverbal? Interviewee: I often use both verbal and nonverbal to support other members. Firstly, in terms of verbal way, when listening to other’s ideas, I often say something like “Yes”, “Good”, “sounds interesting” to make them feel comfortable to express their opinions. As regards nonverbal way, two main ways are nodding my head, and maintaining strong eye - contact to show attention. For example, along with some constructive sayings above, I think that combining them with some nonverbal language will show my stronger support to other members. Imagine that if you just use verbal way to your peers without doing something related to it, others may not feel satisfied and they may think that you are pretending to support them.

Interviewer: Which do you find more effective in terms of giving support, verbal expressions or nonverbal expressions? Why?

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Interviewee: Yes, as mentioned above, although I appreciate the combination of both verbal and nonverbal ways in doing group work, I put nonverbal ways in higher position than verbal ones. The reason for my choice is that body language is regarded to hold meaningful messages that have great power on the receivers. In other words, it carries with it a number of effects that verbal language can not deliver. It is said that if the speaker can make success in combining different types of nonverbal expressions in their face, they can make a difference in listeners’ emotions, touch the bottom of others’ heart, water the driest souls, and persuade the most hard - to please personality in the world.

Interviewer: How effective do you think nonverbal expressions are in terms of giving support?

Interviewee: It can be said that nonverbal expressions ensure the success of group work. In the first place, by showing positive nonverbal expression, we can make others feel more confident in sharing their own ideas. For example, one student will definitely feel very discouraged when no one reacts anything as listening to his speech. The situation will be worse when this student is lazy and bad at learning. Others’ behaviors will make them quickly disappointed and separate themselves from the group. Therefore, when being give the strong support from other peers, people will find their role in the group, which motivates them to contribute and cooperate more with other members. In the second place, giving and being received support are also factors that ensure the success of group work. Obviously, when everyone feels comfortable and confident, the work will be done more quickly and correctly. Moreover, being

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supported and appreciated also makes people more responsible for their work, which leads to an inevitably good result.

Interviewer: What are the disadvantages of using these nonverbal expressions?

Interviewee: The first drawback is that nonverbal expressions may cause misunderstanding of others. For example, when one is speaking and I wink or nod my head repeatedly, he may not be able to interpret what my signals are about. He might think that I am trying to make jokes and not appreciating his ideas, which results in his uncomfortable feelings. The second reason is that some nonverbal expressions are too complicated and not necessary, such as wearing group uniforms, or some accessories to show the support to each other. Such expressions require not only money but also time to prepare. Also, it is not convenient for people to wear uniforms for each group they attend when they are required to have numerous groups in their work.

Interviewer: What have you seen as the result of using nonverbal expressions of support in the working of your group? Interviewee: Using nonverbal expressions reinforces the relationship between members in my group. As having a chance to meet and work with others out of class time, our mutual understanding is positively developed through the support we receive from our friends’ nonverbal expressions. Besides, by observing the way each one shows his support to others, we also identify the working and learning styles of our friends, which enables us to have the best way to behave with each other, to enhance more constructive cooperation, and
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to reach our goals in study. Undoubtedly, sharing and overcoming both happiness and obstacles during completing group work’s tasks, especially by using nonverbal ways, we have more wonderful time together, which makes our friendship last for a long time and creates such miracle moments in our student life.

Interviewer: Thank you, T!

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