Classroom Climate: CAFIAS
One of the earliest and most popular interaction analysis systems was that developed by Flanders (1960) and
called Flanders Interaction Analysis System (FIAS). It was originally designed to describe verbal interaction
patterns between teachers and students and became a measure of classroom climate. In 1974 Cheffers, Amidon,
and Rogers (1974) adapted FIAS to physical education by adding a nonverbal component. Cheffers adaptation
of FIAS, known as CAFIAS, has been widely used in physical education by both the researcher and the
practising teacher. It is presented here as an example of one of the simplest interaction analysis tools used to
describe the climate of the gymnasium. The reader is encouraged to consult the full manual for more elaborate
The purpose of this instrument is to describe the climate of the gymnasium.
The category definitions for CAFIAS are presented in the box below.
The Categories of CAFIAS
Categories Verbal Relevant Nonverbal
2–12 2 12
Praises, commends, jokes, Face: Smiles, nods with smile, (energetic) winks,
Posture Claps hands, pats on shoulder, places hand on
head of student, wrings student's hand,
embraces joyfully, laughs to encourage, spots in
gymnastics, helps child over obstacles.
3–13 3 13
Accepts, clarifies, uses, and Face: Nods without smiling, tilts head in empathetic
develops suggestion and reflection, sighs empathetically.
feelings by the learner Shakes hands, embraces sympathetically, places
Posture: hand on shoulder, puts arm around shoulder or
waist, catches an implement thrown by student,
4–13 4 14
Asks questions requiring Face: Wrinkles brow, opens mouth, turns head with
student answer quizzical look.
Posture: Places hands in air, waves finger to and fro
anticipating answer, stares awaiting answer,
scratches head, cups hand to ear, stands still
half turned towards person, awaits answer.
5–15 5 15
Gives facts, opinions, Face: Whispers words inaudibly, sings or whistles.
expresses ideas, or asks Posture: Gesticulates, draws, writes, demonstrates
rhetorical questions activities, points.
6–16 6 16
Gives directions or orders Face: Points with head, beckons with head, yells at.
Points finger, blows whistle, holds body erect
Posture: while barking commands, pushes child through
a movement, pushes a child in a given
7–19 7 17
Criticises, expresses anger or Face: Grimaces, growls, frowns, drops head, throws
distrust, sarcastic or extreme head back in derisive laughter, roll eyes, bites,
self-reference spits, butts with head, shakes head.
Hits, pushes away, pinches, grapples with,
Posture: pushes hands at student, drops hands in disgust,
bangs table, damages equipment, throws things
8–18 8 18
Student response that is Face: Poker face response, nod, shake, gives small
entirely predictable, such as grunts, quick smile.
obedience to orders, and Posture: Moves mechanically to questions or directions,
responses not requiring responds to any action with minimal nervous
thinking beyond the activity, robot like.
comprehension phase or
knowledge (after Bloom)
eine (8\) EINE EINETEEN
& (8\) (19\)
einteen (18\) Predictable student responses Face: A ‘What's more, sir’ look, eyes sparking.
requiring some measure of Posture: Adds movements to those given or expected,
evaluation and synthesis from tries to show some arrangement requiring
the student, but must remain additional thinking, e.g. works on gymnastic
within the province of routine, dribbles basketball, all game playing.
predictability. The initial
behaviour was in response to
9–19 9 19
Pupil-initiated talk that is Face: Interrupting sounds, gasps, sighs.
purely the result of their own Posture Puts hands up to ask questions, gets up and
initiative and that could not walks around without provocation, begins
be predicted creative movement education, makes up own
games, makes up own movements, shows
initiative in supportive movement, introduces
new movements into games not predictable in
the rules of the games.
10–20 10 20
Stands for confusion, chaos, Face: Silence, children sitting doing nothing,
disorder, noise, much noise noiselessly awaiting teacher just prior to
teacher entry etc.
CAFIAS uses continuous coding or a 3 second interval. Every time behaviour changes categories, it is coded. If
behaviour does not change categories in 3 seconds, the same category is recorded. Data from CAFIAS can be
analysed in many different ways. One of the most fruitful analyses is to look at the frequency of behaviour
chains, which are small sequences of behaviour (e.g., 4-8-1-3 or 5-5-5-6-8). When chains of two behaviours are
coupled together, they can be put on a matrix so that clusters of patterns can be identified. The recorded
sequence of 5-6-8 would go on the matrix as pairs of 5-6 and 6-8. (The first and last recorded categories go on
the matrix coupled with a category 1 so that the pairs can be matched.) Teachers will also want to keep track of
when students are in an activity and when they are not by placing an additional code at the start and end of
activity. This will also help the recorder understand the setting in which the behaviour is taking place.
Information from CAFIAS can describe the direct or indirect influence of the teacher (categories 5-7 are direct
and categories 2-4 are indirect) and the type of student responses teachers are getting as a result of those
behaviours. Whether teacher influence should be direct or indirect is a value judgement. As stated in the research
literature, physical education tends to be a highly teacher-directed process. In other teaching settings, effective
climates are basically neutral and slightly more warm in their climate. Criticism (category 7) is to be avoided.
Patterns of teacher talk and the use of questioning are largely situation-specific ideas as long as they do not
reduce practice time to unwanted levels.