Many educators would agree that classroom interaction is an essential aspect of the educational enterprise. Research exploring the complexity of teacher-student interpersonal behaviors in and out of the classroom has focused on characteristics of communicative interactions (Garko, Kough, Pignata, Kimmel, & Eison, 1994; Wubbels, Creton, Levy, & Hooymayers, 1993) and the outcomes of those exchanges (Frymier, 1994a; Kerssen-Griep, Hess, & Trees, 2003; Tinto, 1987). Both students and teachers appear to recognize that interpersonal communication is a key to building relationships that promote learning (Simonds, Jones, & Bedore, 1994). Nevertheless, there is a distinct hierarchy that places more responsibility for establishing and maintaining the relationship on the professor (Shamai, Ilatov, Hert-Lazarovitz, & Bentsvi-Mayer, 1995). This part of the volume is focused on the discursive strategies employed by instructors and how these strategies influence the classroom environment and student performance. In this review, we summarize research that provides a general context for the meta-analyses on teacher immediacy, classroom factors such as race and sex,
communication apprehension, and conflict mediation. Although hardly exhaustive, the meta-analyses address issues central to achieving educational goals. We consider issues such as interpersonal relationships, affinity between students and teachers, listening behaviors, student motivation, teacher influence, and power. Because this research reflects the nuances of classroom interaction, our remarks are offered as a foundation for the metaanalyses in this part of the volume.