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Exploratory study of education majors' perceptions of the educational value and relevancy of the basic college/university public speaking course

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Exploratory study of education majors' perceptions of the educational value and relevancy of the basic college/university public speaking course
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Education majors' perceptions of the educational value and relevancy of the basic college/university public speaking course
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Pounders, Kathleen L
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ix, 119 leaves : illustrations, forms ; 29 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Public speaking ( lcsh )
Teachers -- Training of ( lcsh )
College students -- Attitudes ( lcsh )
College students -- Attitudes ( fast )
Public speaking ( fast )
Teachers -- Training of ( fast )
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theses ( marcgt )
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 113-119).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, Communication and Theatre.
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by Kathleen L. Pounders.

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Full Text
EXPLORATORY STUDY OF EDUCATION MAJORS
PERCEPTIONS OF THE EDUCATIONAL VALUE AND RELEVANCY OF
THE BASIC COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY PUBLIC SPEAKING COURSE
by
Kathleen L. Pounders
B.A., Metropolitan State College, 1994
M.A., University of Colorado at Denver, 1997
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Communication and Theatre
1997


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Kathleen L. Pounders
has been approved
by
Michael Monsour
5- 2 rf
Date


Pounders, Kathleen L. (M.A., Communication and Theatre)
Exploratory Study of Education Majors Perceptions of the Educational Value
and Relevancy of the Basic College/University Public Speaking Course
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Michael Monsour
ABSTRACT
The National Commission on Excellence in Education began a long debate about
education reform in the 1980s. The passing of Goals 2,000: Educate America
act in 1990, drafted by the United States Department of Education, provided
standards for action in education reform. Goals 2,000 specifically delineates the
need to broaden education in the oral communication areas. If teachers are to
specifically address oral communication standards, what exposure to oral
communication do teachers themselves receive in college?
This study found that the basic college/university public speaking course is the
only exposure to oral communication study that most education majors receive.
This study examines: 1) the perceptions of the Education Majors as to the
educational value and relevance of the basic college/university public speaking
course; 2) how the Education Majors perceptions differ from the general public
speaking student population; and 3) in what ways, if any, the public speaking
course is too elementary and general to meet the needs of the Education Major.
Findings show that the Education Majors are significantly (p=<005) less pleased
with the educational value and relevancy of the public speaking course when
compared with the general public speaking course student population. Education
Majors differ significantly (p=<005) in perceptions of initial and ending semester
educational course objectives. Finally, this study shows that the basic
college/university public speaking course does not meet the needs of the
Education Major in areas of content, speaking assignments, and support literature.
m


This study recommends further study of the possibility of segregating the
Education Majors within the public speaking student population. A separate
public speaking course for Education Majors would address their identified needs
and help fulfill the oral communication standards set in Goals 2,000.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis.
I recommend its publication.
Signed
Michael Monsour
IV


DEDICATION
I dedicate this work with love and gratitude to the men in my life.
To Ken: for your love, your support, and your ability to always help me keep
things in perspective.
To Patrick: the courage and optimism with which you face lifes obstacles is
constantly an inspiration.
To Tristin: thanks for always knowing when Grandma needs breaks for hugs and
kisses and singing and dancing with Barney.


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION........................................... 1
General Background to the Research Problem........... 1
Relevance of the College/Universitv Public Speaking Course... 3
Educational Value of the College/University Public
Speaking Course........................................... 5
Student Perception of the College/University Public
Speaking Course........................................... 9
Perceptions of the Education Major.................... 12
Rationale for Pursuit of Study.......................... 15
Chapter I. Summary....................................... 16
II. LITERATURE REVIEW......................................... 17
General Importance of Teaching Teachers.............. 17
Public Speaking as Communication......................... 19
Oral Competency and Teacher Certification................ 22
Relationship Between Learning & Teaching Style........... 23
Teaching Teachers Speech Communication................... 25
Communication Depts. vs. Education Depts. Teaching
Speech Communication to Education Majors.............. 26
VI


Research Questions.....
Chapter II. Summary.......
III. METHODOLOGY................
Participants..............
Administration............
Instrument Design.........
Measurement Rationale.....
Ordinal Scales........
Interval Scales.......
Open-Ended Questions
Perception vs. Skills.
Statistical Tests........
Chapter III. Summary......
IV. RESULTS...................
Survey Demographics.......
Educational Objectives....
Question 1............
Question 2............
Question 3............
Question 4............
31
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jj
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
42
43
45
45
48
48
51
54
57


Question 5
60
Perceived Educational Value................................... 63
Question 6................................................. 63
Question 7................................................. 66
Question 8................................................. 68
Future Objectives............................................. 70
Question 9................................................. 70
Chapter IV. Summary........................................... 72
1st Section................................................ 72
2nd Section................................................ 72
3rd Section................................................ 74
4th Section................................................ 75
V. DISCUSSION...................................................... 76
Interpretation of Results..................................... 77
Educational Objectives..................................... 77
Perceived Educational Value................................ 86
Relevance to Major......................................... 89
Fulfillment of Educational Objectives...................... 92
Future Educational Objectives.............................. 95
Limitations of the Study..................................... 100
viii


Recommendations...................................... 101
Educational Objectives............................ 102
Relevance to Major................................ 103
Current Educational Literature.................... 104
General Summary...................................... 108
APPENDIX
A. Survey Questionnaire................................... 110
REFERENCES.................................................... 113
IX


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
The primary purpose of this study was to examine 1) the perceptions of
the education majors as to the educational value and relevance of the basic
college/university public speaking course; 2) how (if) the education majors
perceptions differ from the general public speaking student population; and 3) in
what ways, if any, the public speaking course is too elementary and general to
meet the needs of the education major. This study is based on the assumption that
the education major is a significant group to examine. This chapter presents a
general background to the research problem and rationale for pursuit of the study.
General Background to the Research Problem
The publication of A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational
Reform by the National Commission on Excellence in Education began a
decade-long public discourse about education reform (National Commission,
1983). Many states established their own commissions and passed new
educational policy legislation. Governors across the country took up the call for
educational reform and incorporated it into their own election campaigns (Hunt
1


& Staton. 1996, p. 275). In March of 1994, a national mandate for education
reform. Goals 2,000: Educate America Act (Dept. Of Education, 1994) was
passed by Congress, with an agenda for action on these debated reforms. With
growing global awareness and competitiveness, increasing attention is placed on
examining the relevance and educational value of college/university courses.
Acknowledgment of the value of communication courses at the college/
university level is particularly addressed in Goal 5 of Goals 2,000: The
proportion of college students who demonstrate an advanced ability to think
critically, communicate effectively, and solve problems, will increase
substantially (Dept, of Education, 1993, p.29). Dr. Goodland, creator of Goals
2,000 explains that a traditional view of communication covers the reading and
writing venues (Goodland, 1996). He specifically delineates that Goals 2,000 is
speaking to the need to broaden the students education in the oral
communication areas. The most frequently used form of communication is oral-
-speech (Krupar, personal communication. September 15, 1996). Because of the
prominence placed on communication by the U.S. Department of Education,
college/ university communication courses should be examined for relevance and
educational value.


Relevance of the CoIlege/XJniversitv Public Speaking Course
As standard practice, most colleges and universities establish a core
curriculum required of all students before conferring an undergraduate degree
(Curtis, et. al, 1989, Dept. Of Education, 1994). The objective of the core
curriculum is to provide all baccalaureate students with basic intellectual
competencies in areas such as mathematics, reading, writing, humanities, science,
and oral communication, as well as promoting an awareness of cultural and racial
diversity (Holmes, personal communication, December 10, 1996; Pascarella, et.
al., 1996; University of Colorado Catalog, 1994). A standard course offered to
fulfill the communication requirement of the core curriculum is the public
speaking course (Aitken & Neer, 1992; Blomberg, personal communication,
August, 1995).
While university/ college communication departments offer many courses
that would expose a student to the elements involved in oral communication, the
majority of college students receive experience oral communication instruction
by enrolling in a public speaking course (Carre, personal communication, May
19, 1994; Macke, 1991). Many colleges or universities require all students to take
a basic public speaking course, while most others offer it as a choice within the
general educational requirements for a core curriculum (Kelly & Keaton, 1992).
Many departments/schools (such as the School of Business) require a basic
J


speech course as part of the degree requirement for that particular field of study
(Curtis, et. al, 1989; University of Colorado Catalog, 1994).
Recent research (Curtis, et al, 1989) revealed that oral communication
skills are considered by personnel directors to be the most important skills for
business entry-level jobs and career success, with public speaking skills ranking
as number one among the seven perceived areas of oral communication skills.
This same study revealed that recent college graduates in a business position for
five years or less identified public speaking as the top two courses that should
have had more emphasis in college.
Communication researcher David Zarefsky (1996) in Public Speaking:
Strategies for Success, states that public speaking is included in the core
curriculum at most colleges and universities because the skills utilized to
research, organize, and present a speech are skills that are valuable not only in
other college courses, but in every aspect of life as well.
For over 2,500 years mean and women have studied the art of
public speaking, both because it is valuable in its own right and
because, in the best sense of the term, it is a liberal art-one
which frees and empowers people. It does so by providing the
knowledge, cultivating the skills, and modeling habits of effective
thought and expression that can be applied to any area of life
(Zarefsky, 1996, p.xiv).
It becomes apparent that the educational value of a basic public speaking
course is a salient area to study, as diverse academic disciplines recognize public
4


speaking as a requisite course, businesses delineate public speaking as the number
one skill they look for in a new employee, and as graduates identity- public
speaking as the number two course that should have had more academic
concentration.
Educational Value of the College/Universitv Public Speaking Course
There is currently much debate about the nature of public speaking
courses in the academic world. The National Speech Communication
Association while recommending that an introductory public speaking course
should be included as a general requirement of all colleges and universities, has
an on-going committee that debates continually what educational objectives
should be stressed-theory or application (Morreale, et al., 1993). National
Speech Communication Association past president, David Zarefsky, states that a
public speaking course is a blend of theory and practice, and that the
complicated relationship between theory and practice in public speaking is
sometimes misunderstood (1996, p.6).
In an editorial published in the Chronicle of Higher Education (Fischler,
1989), Alan Fischler, assistant professor of English at LeMoyne College, railed an
assault against the teaching of public speaking in American colleges and
universities following his experience as a visiting professor in a communication


department at an unidentified college/university. He emerged from his one year
appointment comparing teaching public speaking with spending time in Dantes
inferno. The editorial expressed his view that teaching public speaking is
redundant, trivial, and somewhat witless (p. A28). Needless to say, this caused
quite an uproar among those professors directly connected with public speaking
as a principal focus of study. Many communication academics took issue with
the fact that Fischler was an English professor, not a communication scholar, had
not attended any research conventions sponsored by the professional
communication associations, and had apparently not ever read a professional
communication journal (Macke, 1991). Fischlers views, while based on a
limited exposure to the field, with no real examination of the steps taken to
research communication education, did open examination, once again, on speech
communication as an academic discipline.
According to communication researcher Frank Macke in Communication
Education (1991, p. 126), although it is true that the discipline has become:
every bit as sophisticated and erudite as any other social science or
liberal art, and that the teaching of specific communication skills
(in the form of public speaking, oral expression, etc. ) remains an
identifiable, if not major, function of the discipline; it is also true
that within many programs the academic concerns are principally
focused on such things as voice improvement, audio-visual aids, stage
presence, and stage fright to the exclusion of the theory of speech
communication.
6


In simplified terms, the debate is do you teach the body or do you teach
the mind? In effect Fischlers disdain opened once again, publicly, the debate
within the field of Speech Communication itself
The argument against Speech Communication as a discipline lies in the
growing prejudice that teaching the mind is a nobler pursuit than teaching the
body. In the former, according to Macke, the person is free to apply what he or
she is taught in practical situations. In the latter, the person will behave
mechanically; in other words, the body will behave as it is taught. The challenge
for the Communication Department in teaching public speaking, then, rests with
incorporation of the science of language, ideology, and communication theory
while teaching oral performance. The questions then move from those of
relevance of the public speaking course itself, to questions of examination of
course content. As Macke (1991, p. 140) points out:
The question of what should be included in the basic course
of speech instruction should not be what can we teach students
to do with themselves~how can we fill up their notebooks
with information?, but how can we teach students to think of
themselves?
Examining the educational objectives of the public speaking course content is
relevant to the legitimization of the discipline.
Communication researcher Michael Burgoon (1989, p. 303) regards
communication as an emerging discipline. He states that theory and research
7


in communication have far outstripped what is presently being taught m speech.
He argues that the lag in dissemination of research comes from resistance within
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Public speakmg courses, although deemed valuable enough to be included
as core curriculum courses, and as a degree requirement for many disciplines, are
not valued as an academic course by the institutions, the departments that offer
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With debates about whether a public speaking course should be offered at
the university/col lege level, and debates about the content of this course, a new
factor is brought into the dimension to examine; the students perception of the
relevancy and academic value of a basic public speaking course.
Student Perception of the College/Umversitv Public Speaking Course
Research and experience indicate that a single learning event, such as an
introductory public speaking course or an introductory interpersonal
communication course, can be useful in developing some degree of
communication competency and stimulating critical thinking (Morreale, et. al.,
1993, p. 10). While this is true, there is also the danger that this introductory
exposure to public speaking could lead students to perceive that this minimal
cognitive and behavioral exposure to the discipline is sufficient for overall
competency (Morreale, 1993, p. 17). With this dichotomy in place, it is
important to examine student perception of the college/university public speaking
course.
An accepted method in examining the relevancy and academic value of a
college course is to assess the students perceptions of these factors by conducting
self-report surveys at the end of the course. (Frvmier & Thompson, 1992; Gorham
& Zakahi, 1990; Kelly & Keaton. 1992; Santrock, 1993). In A Faculty Program
9


of Assessment for a College Level Competency-Based Communication Core
Curriculum, Aitken and Neer (1992) discuss the importance of involving the
student in the assessment of course relevancy and academic value. They state
that most recent assessment models are based on three assumptions:
* Assessment is successful only if it involves both faculty
and students in the process.
*The best approach to assessment involves varied formats.
*Leaming depends on student perceptions and behavior.
The National Speech Communication also endorses the use of student
assessment in evaluating course relevancy and academic content. In creating the
Speech Communication Associations Committee on Assessment and Testing,
several questions were addressed in constructing guidelines for assessment
instruments (Aitken & Neer, 1991):
*What/\vho should be assessed?the faculty, students,
and program
*What is the purpose and use of the assessment?--/w/?o.s is to improve student learning, use is for departmental
and administrative evaluation
*Who is assessment designed to inform?-to inform the
state, college, department faculty, and students
*Can a procedure be developed that satisfies all groups involved9
if it is done bv faculty, who are reviewed by students and
administrators
10


Are students competent to assess course relevancy and academic value?
Aitken & Neer (1991) make it clear that learning depends on student perceptions
of the academic value and relevancy, and that students should be part of the
assessment process despite certain misgivings of faculty members that such
assessments could be used against them in administrative/personnel decisions.
In The Relationships Among Teacher Immediacy Behaviors, Student
Motivation, and Learning Diane Christophel (1990) states that student
perception of the classroom learning situation affects cognitive, affective, and
behavioral learning; and that student perception of the content of the course, and
how the content was taught, is directly relevant to curriculum planning.
Some scholars challenge the competency of the student to assess the
academic value of a college/university course (Monsour, personal
communication, March 7 1997). The argument is that students do not have the
expertise or background to effectively assess academic course content. Other
scholars say that while curriculum or administrative decisions should not rest
solely upon student assessment, the college/university students are competent to
provide assessment of the academic value of a course after participating in the
course (Aitken & Neer, 1991; Christophel, 1990; Gorman & Zakahi, 1990;
Krupar, personal communication, March 7,1997). Aitken and Neer (1991, p.272)
point out that effective assessment strives to improve student learning and
n


faculty effectiveness, both of which strengthen rather than weaken programs.
They go on to state that as a departments values should determine the
educational goals, which ultimately impact curriculum development; and that the
college/university departments should value the perceptions of the students as part
of the departmental assessment system.
As this sub-section has established, obtaining and utilizing student
assessment of the academic value of a college/university course in curriculum
development is a prevailing practice. With student perception established as an
accepted form of academic assessment at the college university level the question
remains, then, what is the student perception of the relevance and academic
value of the college/university public speaking course?
Perceptions of Education Majors
In examining college/university disciplines that include a public speaking
course as a requisite for degree (Kelly & Keaton, 1992), the Education discipline
stands out for review, as the Education discipline is one of the only disciplines
that requires a testing of oral communication competency as a requisite for
employment via the Teacher Certification Process (Book, 1989; DeWitt, et. al.,
1991).
12


Guidelines for teacher preparation and certification have undergone
several changes since the publication of several education reports in the mid
1980s, according to Oral Communication Competency and Teacher Certification
in the U.S.: Reality and Recommendations (DeWitt, et. al., 1991, p. 144,145).
A commission of the American Association of Colleges for
Teacher Education (AACTE) issued a Call for Change in
Teacher Education [1985] that included 16 recommendations
concerned with the recruitment of quality teachers, the
content of teacher preparation programs, the certification and
accreditation of such programs, the support for teacher education,
and the school conditions needed to assure quality teaching...
This AACTE report motivated the revision of the standards
used by the National Council for Accreditation (NCATE).
The revised standards included, among others, changes in the major itself,
as well as inclusion of the testing of teacher oral communication competency in
the certification process.
With the advent of these reports, changes were made to the concept of
granting Education as an undergraduate degree.
The most frequently cited report on the status of the teaching
profession Tomorrow's Teachers: A Report of the Holmes Group
(Holmes Group, 1986), written by a consortium of education
school deans of major research universities, offered several
recommendations. Among the recommendations was the
redesigning of teacher education to include a liberal arts major
rather than an education major (DeWitt, et. al, 1991, p. 145).
In their report A Nation Prepared for the 21st Century, the Carnegie Task
Force on Teaching as a Profession (1986) followed the Holmes Group Report
13


with the suggestion that a Master teaching degree should be developed to follow
the baccalaureate degree in fne arts and sciences (DeWitt et. al., 1991).
As a result of these suggestions, many universities and colleges do not
have undergraduate Education Majors. Students who plan to go into the
teaching profession choose an undergraduate Liberal Arts major, while
designating themselves as candidates for the teacher certification process upon
graduation (Staton. 1989). Depending on state requirements, such students may
or may not continue on to be a graduate Education Major.
For the purposes of this study, both students who are participating in an
undergraduate program at a School of Education, and who are designated as
undergraduate Education Majors, and those students who are obtaining an
undergraduate Liberal Arts major but designating themselves as candidates for
the Teacher Certification Process will be referred to as Education Majors.
As the Education discipline is one of the only disciplines to include a
testing of oral communication competency as a requisite for employment, the
question arises: What is the definition oforal communication competency for
prospective teachers0 In theory, the term oral communication skills
encompasses many communication contexts, such as interpersonal
communication, theories of argumentation, nonverbal immediacy behaviors,
presentation skills, etc. (Morreale, et.al., 1993, Sorensen, 1989). As the articles
14


Teaching Teachers from East to West: A Look at Common Myths
(Sorensen, 1989), and Oral Communication Competency and Teacher
Certification in the U.S.: Reality and Recommendations (DeWitt, et. al, 1991)
point out: although it appears that the National Speech Communication
Association guidelines for teacher preparation recommended the state
certification boards include testing of several oral communication concepts in the
teacher certification process, most states merely rely on satisfactory completion of
a basic public speaking course as proof of oral communication competency.
If most states consider the university/college basic public speaking course
adequate education in oral communication skills for Education Majors, it is vital
to examine the relevancy and academic value of such courses as they pertain to
Education Majors. With an acknowledgment that the term oral communication
skills encompasses many communication concepts, for the purposes of this paper
(in alignment with most state teacher certification standards), the term oral
communication skills is interchangeable with public speaking skills.
Rationale for Pursuit of Study
As an accepted method to examine relevancy and academic value of a
college course is to assess the students perceptions of these factors, and with
increased attention and debate about relevancy and academic course content of
15


college courses in general, the public speaking course specifically, and
educational reform (as outlined in "Goals 2,000), it is salient to examine the
Education Majors perceptions of the basic college/university public speaking
course.
Summary
This chapter has provided some general background to the research
problem under investigation. This chapter has discussed 1) the relevance of the
college/university public speaking course; 2) the educational value of the basic
college/university public speaking course; 3) the use of student perceptions in the
assessment of the academic value and relevancy of college/university courses;
and 4) why the perceptions of education majors of the basic college/university
public speaking course are significant. This chapter has also provided a rationale
for the pursuit of this study.
With these factors in mind, it is important to review past and current
research and programs pertaining to teaching teachers oral communication
skills. Chapter II, which follows, will provide a literature review relevant to this
subject.
16


CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
The intention of this chapter is to review past and current literature
concerned with teaching teachers oral communication skills. Beginning with the
General Importance of Teaching Teachers, and ending with the development of
two research questions, this chapter will cover pertinent research in the relevant
areas of:
Public Speaking as Communication
Oral Competency and Teacher Certification
Relationship Between Learning & Teacher Speaking Style
Teaching the Teachers Speech Communication
Communication Departments vs. Education Departments
Teaching Speech Communication to Education
Majors
General Importance of Teaching Teachers
With Goals 2,000 in place, the teaching of teachers takes center stage
in the implementation of those goals. Many states are implementing plans to re-
teach teachers in oral communication skills in order to meet the competency
standards outlined in Goals 2,000. Dr. Karen Krupar, Director of the
17


Academy for Teaching Excellence in Denver, Colorado (personal
communication. 1996) states that many school districts will have to hire
additional faculty trained in speech communication or ignore the guidelines in
speaking competency.
Although the National Commission of Excellence in Education report
(NCEE, 1983) spawned a ten-year public discourse on the importance of student
speech communication abilities and the eventual inclusion of oral communication
competency in Goals 2,000," the importance of effective communication
abilities for teachers was not directly mentioned in many of the reform reports.
These abilities, however, seemed to be assumed as an inherent component of
effective teaching (DeWitt. et.al, 1991).
As it has been established that most states recognize the completion of a
public speaking course as sufficient proof of oral competency, it is important to
examine how public speaking is viewed as a communication event.
18


Public Speaking as Communication
In The Challenge of Effective Speaking. Dr. Rudolph F. Verderber
(1994, p.4) explains the evolution of the concept of public speaking:
More than two thousand years ago, Aristotle, one of the preeminent
classical philosophers, observed that rhetoric (the art of public
speaking) was vital to uphold truth, to instruct the masses, and to
defend ones self and ones ideas from verbal attack. Today we
recognize that whether our goal is to gain and maintain public
office, become a leader in business, industry, education, or public
administration, or dedicate ourselves to a life of service, public
speaking competence is a necessity' in helping us achieve that goal.
Verderber (1994, p.4) goes on to explain that most of us envision public
speaking only as addressing large audiences of listeners who have come with the
expectation of hearing a formal address. But we are all likely to do far more
speaking in less formal situations. Verderber specifically illuminates that
teachers engage in public speaking in every one of their classes whether they are
lecturing on certain subjects, explaining assignments or clarifying difficult
concepts.
19


National Speech Communication Association Past President, David
Zarefskv, also delineates the evolution of the concept of public speaking
(Zarefskv, 1996, p. 7):
It is always possible to view the present (view of public speaking)
as a decline from the high (rhetorical) standards of the past. It
is just as easy, though, to view the change as an evolution of
standards and expectations. If our time is unlikely to produce
an Edward Everett, the popular nineteenth century orator who
could hold listeners attention for two hours at a time, it has
produced speakers as diverse as Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp,
Ann Richards, Mario Cuomo, Jesse Jackson, and Barbara
Bush. When the list is enlarged with all the people who are
effective speakers within their own field or career interest, it
is obvious that public speaking is not a lost art. In the classroom,
in the boardroom, in public meetings, and in private clubs,
speeches are given every day to inform, persuade, and celebrate.
Verderber and Zarefsky both agree that the act of public speaking
constitutes a transactional communication event. Verderber (1994, p.4)
specifically states
Public speaking is characterized by one person, a speaker, who
prepares a speech with the intention of achieving a specific goal
and delivers that speech to an audience of one or more people who
have the freedom to accept or reject the speakers goal. Although
that sounds straightforward, a speech is a communication transaction
affected by several variables: context, speaker (source), speech
(message), channel, audience (receivers), feedback and noise.
20


In The Elements of Public Speaking, Jospeph A. Devito (1994, p.8)
reinforces this transactional view of public speaking as a communication event
marked by the exchange of messages:
In public speaking, the speaker gives a relatively continuous
talk. This does not mean that only the speaker communicates.
Both speaker and audience communicate throughout the
public speaking situation; the speaker communicates by
delivering the speech and the audience by responding to the
speech with feedback. Throughout the public speaking
transaction there is mutual and simultaneous exchange of
messages between speaker and audience.
If the public speaking situation is a transactional process involving several
communication components, and not a one-way rhetorical situation, and if
competency in public speaking is considered as an assessment of a prospective
teachers oral competency; what are the guidelines for the Teacher Certification
Process?
21


Oral Competency and Teacher Certification
National and regional teacher education accreditation associations, along
with individual state criterion (such as Colorados 1996 Colorado Model Content
Standards) help maintain the standards of excellence in teacher training. Oral
Communication Competency and Teacher Certification in the U.S.: Reality and
Recommendations ( DeWitt, et. al, 1991, p. 146) states that:
Two national accreditation associations, the National Association
of State Directors of Teacher Education NASDTEC) and the
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education NCATE), *
provide standards used by 66% of the states, with some states using
both sets of standards.
Although NASDTEC and NCATE guidelines suggest the study and development
of speech communication abilities, the actual requirement of competency in
teacher preparation programs is at best unclear and inadequate (DeWitt, 1991,
P-147).
A sub-committee of the National Speech Communication Association was
commissioned to help draft guidelines for assessment criteria of oral
communication competency for teacher certification procedures. The results of
their findings published in Communication Education, (DeWitt, et.al., 1991)
revealed that while 49 % of the states contain an oral communication component
to be assessed in the certification process, only 20% of the states actually test the
22


applicants oral communication competency; with most states simply requiring
completion of a basic public speaking course as satisfaction of this requirement.
Relationship Between Learning and Teacher Speaking Style
Communication and instruction are intertwined in that instruction is a
communication process. Ann Staton in The Interface of Communication and
Instruction (1989, p.364) states:
Instruction is a process that occurs when one person assists
another in learning. Learning involves acquiring knowledge
(cognitive learning), developing or changing attitudes, (affective
learning), and developing or changing behaviors (psychomotor
or behavioral learning). Communication is a process that occurs
when people interact and attempt to construct shared meanings
and understandings...It is through communicative interaction that
instruction occurs. Learning is accomplished when communication
is successful, i.e, when instructor and students have come to shared
understandings.
Instructional communication can be seen as functioning to foster cognitive,
affective, and behavioral learning.
Recent communication research has examined the relationship between
teacher communication strategies and learning in the classroom. In the last
decade, researchers have examined such areas as: affinity and compliance-gaining
strategies (McCroskey, et. al., 1985), teacher communication style (Gorham,
1985), verbal and non-verbal immediacy in teachers (Sanders & Wiseman, 1990;


Stewart & Wheeless, 1987), and patterns of teacher-student interaction (Staton-
Spicer; Marty-White, 1981).
Correlations between teacher communication styles and cognitive,
affective, and behavioral learning have been determined (Christophel, 1990;
Frymier & Thompson, 1990; Gorham & Zakahi, 1992; Powell & Harville, 1990).
A 1990 study on teacher communication behaviors by Allen and Shaw,
(p.320),asserts that there is empirical support that a "teachers communication
behaviors are related to teaching effectiveness.
In addition to cognitive, affective, and behavioral factors, there is another
element to examine in the learning process: student motivation. Educational
psychologists have studied student motivation for many years, viewing it as an
important element in the learning process (Ames, 1986; Brophy; 1983, Dweck;
1986, Nicholls, 1984). Researcher Diane Christophel (1990, p.323) asserts that
the underlying implication of student motivation appears to lie in the process of
how students are taught, rather than what they are taught. As teacher oral
competency impacts motivation and learning, it is salient to examine the speech
communication (specifically public speaking) courses taught in teacher training
programs.
24


Teaching the Teachers Speech Communication
As Goals 2,000 aims for students to be orally competent, it is imperative
to examine how the teacher is taught oral communication. Hunt, Scott &
McCroskv in Communication in the Classroom (1978, p.3) state that there is a
difference between knowing and teaching, and that difference is communication
in the classroom
Cassandra Book in Communication Education: Pedagogical Content
Knowledge Needed (1989), states that effective teaching of speech
communication to prospective teachers is crucial. It is necessary to foster affinity'
for speech communication with education majors in order to foster
communication in general in K-12. If education majors acquire a negative view
of oral communication in a basic public speaking class, they will pass that view
on to their future students. She also calls for more research in communication
education, stating; By not contributing to the knowledge base in communication
education, we perpetuate the notion that there is nothing special to know about
teaching communication, and that if it needs to be taught at all (Book, p.317).
Book states that we need to begin the teaching of speech communication to
teachers by reinforcing the overall value public speaking throughout history in
general, and in education specifically.
25


Rudolph Verderber (1994) states that while a basic public speaking class
is not the venue to give a history of rhetoric, we should at least illuminate the
students as to the role dialectic has played in the evolution of the acquisition of
knowledge. Plato refers to dialectic as the coping stone of the whole structure of
higher studies (Plato, 1967). If, as Martin Buber in A Believing Humanism
(trans.. 1967) states, that a good teacher educates by his speech and by his
silence...he educates through contact (p. 102), it is important to examine and
evaluate the speech communication strategies currently taught to education
majors. It is also important to examine which departments (and scholars) are
teaching those communication strategies.
Communication Departments vs. Education Departments
Teaching Speech Communication to Education Majors
With the advent of Goals 2,000 and more emphasis being placed on the
oral communication abilities of K-12 teachers, which college/university
department should be instructing the teachers in oral presentation skillsthe
Education Department, or the Communication Department? Historically,
Education Departments do not offer any form of Speech Communication study
for education majors. The Director for the Academy for Teaching Excellence in
Denver, Colorado, Dr. Karen Krupar (personal communication, 1996) states that a
26


national review shows an overwhelming majority of college/university
departments rely on the introductory public speaking class taught by
Communication Departments to prepare the education majors for the oral
communication demands their future jobs will require. Dr. Krupar further asserts
that most Education Departments assume that the education major will pick up
on oral presentation skills during their pilot or teaching assistant assignments.
Furthermore, with the publication of Tomorrows Teachers: A Report of the
Holmes Group (Holmes Group, 1986), many colleges/universities, no longer have
an Education Department at the undergraduate level, as the report included
recommendations that institutions require a liberal arts undergraduate major
rather than an education major, with guidance provided for the certification
process only (DeWitt, 1991; Morreale, 1993). Thus, through design or through
lack of an Education Department itself, undergraduates planning to teach after
matriculation, historically and currently, rely on the Communication Departments
to provide instruction in Speech Communication.
27


De Wine and Pearson (1989, p.375) in Communication Competence
Among Teachers state that the responsibility for teaching education majors oral
communication skills should rest with the Communication Department.
Communication, like education, is a social science. The two
fields are both concerned with studying people for the purpose
of understanding, explaining, and predicting human behavior.
The two fields are not identical, however. Communication
courses focus on verbal and nonverbal activity, while education
courses concern the teaching-learning process...The purpose of
communication courses is not to analyze philosophical approaches
to education, but rather to improve the communication strategies
used by teachers so that learning can take place.
If oral communication competency is a factor in effective teaching, the
question is raised: should professionals in the field of communication be teaching
the teachers Speech Communication as opposed to the Education Departments?
As many state certification programs do not actually test for oral competence
(even though it is included it as a factor for certification), many feel that
Communication Departments should become more involved in ensuring that
education majors are exposed to Speech Communication strategies that will
impact learning (Book, 1989; Christophel, 1990; DeWine, 1989; DeWitt, 1991;
Nussbaum, 1989). DeWitt, et al. (1991), in Oral Communication Competency
and Teacher Certification in the U.S. assert that Communication Departments
need to be more effective at articulating the communication abilities that
28


accompany good teaching. In order for the relationship between effective
teaching and effective oral communication to become stamped in the certification
process, Speech Communication Departments must become more active in
advocating this relationship...If oral communication is to be considered a
significant factor in the preparation of teachers-it is imperative that professionals
in the field take a more dynamic role (DeWitt, 1991, p. 149).
If prospective teachers are expected to develop their oral communication
stvle/skills in the pilot/assistant teaching experience, what base of communication
knowledge are they relying on to form this choice? Teaching Teachers From
East to West (Sorensen, 1989), states that Communication Departments need to
help form the base of knowledge on oral communication strategies. In the article,
Sorensen states that it is a myth that Education Departments teach teachers how
to teach. Sorensen (p.328) says:
They do not. In this age where there is a geometric increase
of information that teachers must know- how to teach gets
placed on the back burner...Education classes focus on subject
matter accuracy. New teachers go into the classroom and quickly
realize that teaching information will be an exercise in trial and
error. New teachers rapidly rely on the information from their
basic communication course. More likely, teachers model
instructional strategies from their communication professors
without knowing how or why it works.
Cassandra Book in Communication Education (1989) states that as
teachers are not taught how to teach by the Education Departments, and as new
29


teachers tend to model the oral communication skills learned in the college/
university public speaking class, care should be taken that the introductory
speaking class is a positive experience. She states that Communication
Departments have a responsibility to foster an affinity for speech with education
majors in order to foster an affinity for oral communication in K-12. Her research
finds that education majors who encounter a negative experience in the
introductory communication course, tend to pass on that negative view of oral
communication to their K-12 students. In essence, we need to examine the ways
in which we stimulate (education) students to think about the discipline of
communication by the ways in which we implicitly or explicitly represent the
discipline to them (p.319).
30


Research Questions
From research over the last decade, several factors emerge:
1. Goals 2,000 outlines the need to examine college/university
communication courses in general for relevance and
educational value (Dept, of Education, 1993).
2. As many colleges/universities and specific schools/departments
require a basic public speaking course as a degree requirement,
it is salient to examine these courses (Macke, 1991).
3. An accepted method of examining relevancy and educational value
of college courses is through the assessment of student
perceptions (Kelly & Keaton, 1992).
4. Education majors are the only students who will conceivably utilize
public speaking/oral presentation skills on a daily basis in their
careers, therefore it is salient to examine their perceptions of the
public speaking courses.
5. Most states simply require the completion of a basic public speaking
course as satisfaction of the oral communication component of the
teacher certification process (DeWitt, et. al., 1991).
6. There is a correlation between a teachers oral presentation style and
learning in the classroom (Gorham, 1985).
7. Teachers model the oral communication skills learned in the basic
public speaking course, and pass on a positive or negative view of
speech communication based on that course experience (Book,
1989).
Given these factors, the research questions emerge:
RQ1: What are the education majors perceptions of the relevancy and
educational value of the basic public speaking course?
RQ2: In what ways, if any, do the education majors differ from the
general population in the basic public speaking course.


Summary
This chapter has provided a review of academic literature relevant to this
study. The review was based primarily on writings in the disciplines of speech
communication and education. This chapter included sections on 1) the general
importance of teaching teachers; 2) public speaking as communication; 3) oral
competency and teacher certification; 4) relationship between learning and
teacher speaking style; 5) teaching the teachers speech communication; and 6) the
debate on Communication departments vs. Education Departments teaching
speech communication to the education majors. Finally this chapter presented
two research questions.
Chapter III, which follows, describes the methodology and research
procedures employed in this study.


CHAPTER 3
METHODOLGY
The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of education
majors in relation to the academic value and relevance of the basic
college/universitv public speaking course. This study specifically asks whether
the education majors perceptions differ from the general population of the
students enrolled in the public speaking course, and in what ways, if any, the
public speaking course is too elementary and general to meet the education
majors needs. Chapter I provided general background to the study and rationale
for its pursuit. Chapter II provided a review of academic literature relevant to the
research area and presented two research questions relevant to this study. This
chapter describes the methodology utilized to investigate the research questions.
Participants
The 298 participants were undergraduate students enrolled in a basic
public speaking course offered through the Speech Communication Department
at a large Western four year State College. Surveyed classes were selected
randomly from w'ithin all class periods to produce the likelihood that no pre-
33


existing variables would confound the results, such as does the class day/time
attract a type of student.
Administration
A two page survey questionnaire consisting of eleven questions, (see appendix a),
was administered. The survey was distributed during the last two weeks of the
Spring 1993 semester, with the approval of the department Chair. In the Spring
1993 semester, the department reported 1,300 students enrolled in the public
speaking course, with 52 sections of the course being offered.
The questionnaires were administered by a communication undergraduate
student assistant in order to prevent author bias or teacher bias in presenting and
positioning the survey. Students were told the survey was being administered to
complete a project in a communication research design class. The only verbal
instructions given to the students were to complete the entire questionnaire, and
not leave any questions blank.
In order to prevent author bias, results were tabulated, coded and recorded
by students trained in research/coding methods and enrolled in a college
Communication Research Design class.
34


Instrument Design
A valid assessment of the college/university speaking course requires an
evaluation of the standard academic elements utilized in curriculum design. A
review of the course curriculum for the average public speaking course finds that,
in general, 5 fundamental elements are central in the development of curriculum
(Beatty, 1988; Campbell, personal communication, January 23, 1996; Karre,
personal communication, April 17, 1994; Kelly & Keaton, 1988; Krupar, personal
communication, March 7,1997; Morreale, personal communication, March 31,
1994; Quigley, 1990, Schneider, 1992,):
1. The construction/organization of a speech
2. The delivery of a speech
3. The presentation of varied speeches (i.e., informative
& persuasive
4. The development and use of audio-visual aids
5. The management of communication apprehension
For the purposes of this study, questions were designed to measure student
perception of the educational value and relevance of these identified fundamental
elements (questions 1-5). Students were asked to rate or rank these identified
elements in order of their perception of importance so as to determine what
elements education majors consider the most important in the educational value
35


of the public speaking course. The respondents ratings provided ordinal level
data.
Questions intended to assess overall affective perceptions and relevance to
major were designed in a Likert -type scale (questions 6-8). The respondents
ratings provided interval scale data.
A question designed to determine if the students perceive any additional
element should be added to the basic public speaking course (question 9) was
added. The question was open-ended.
Two demographic questions were designed to determine major field of
study and class standing (questions 10 & 11).
Measurement Rationale
Data collection requires measurement of the observations. Measurement
involves either categorizing events (qualitative measurement) or using numbers to
characterize the size of the event (quantitative measurement) (Gravetter &
Wallnau. 1988, p. 13). The measurement of the concepts being studied becomes
part of the operationalization procedure. Frey, et. al, in Investigating
Communication. (1991, p. 97), points out that For both self-report and observer
ratings, the measurement device itself...comes the operational definition for the
36


concept. The following sections provide rationale for the chosen measurement
scales.
Ordinal Scales.
Ordinal scales rank concepts into qualitatively different categories and
ranks those categories along some dimensions (Frey, et. al, 1991, p. 357). As
the word ordinal implies, the investigator simply arranges the observations in
rank order (Gravetter & Wallnau, 1988, p. 12). A limitation of the ordinal
scale is that while an investigator knows that the concepts are arranged in some
type of meaningful ascending/descending order, the investigator does not know
the precise amount separating the levels of measurement, as there is no zero on
the ordinal scale. There is no assumption of an equal distance between the
points on an ordinal scale (Frey, et. al, 1991, p. 103). Although ordinal scales
have this precise measurement limitation they are useful in simply determining
whether differences between two groups exist as Tucker, et.al., (1981) point out
in Research in Speech Communication.
Questions 1-5 employed an ordinal scale. Although definite definitions of
the distances between the points of the scale would have elicited more precise
measurements, the design of the questions is adequate to determine whether
education majors, as a group, differ from the general population. The ordinal
37


scale ranking on these questions does deliver data sufficient enough to answer the
research questions.
Interval Scales.
Interval scales rank concepts along some dimension as in ordinal
measurement, but they also establish standard, equal distances between each of
the adjacent points along the measurement scale (Frey, et. al, 1991, p. 103). A
form of interval scale is the Likert scale. The other special feature of an interval
scale is that the zero point is arbitrary (Tucker, et. al, 1981, p. 165).
Interval-level measurements are relatively easy to use in describing
variables of the physical world, such as temperature. They are much
more difficult to apply in communication and other social scientific
research. The most popular methods for measuring a communication
variable at the interval level are the Likert scale, the semantic
differential scale, and the Thurstone scale... Adaptations of the
traditional Likert scale are referred to as Likert-type scales. (Frey, p. 103).
Tucker, et. al., (1981, p. 171) point out in Research in Speech
Communication that the challenge to the investigator in using the Likert-type
scale lies in writing a well designed statement to accompany the scale: In
constructing statements the researchers concern is homogeneity. The items
should all contribute to a single underlying attitude. Tucker (p. 173) also states
that many researchers believe that all statements should be written in a positive
38


manner: "Some researchers believe that negatively worded sentences are harder
to understand than positively worded ones. Further, they feel that a subject may
be confused by the meaning associated with checking a negative response to a
negative question.
Questions 6-8 employed Likert-type interval scaling. The questions were
checked for homogeneity with Dr. Karen Krupar, professor of several
Communication Research Methods courses. In alignment with Tuckers advice
on the positive wording of the statements, all of the statements were worded in a
positive manner.
Open-Ended Questions.
Measurement instruments utilizing open-ended questions allow
respondents to 'provide as much detail as they wish, subject only to any
limitations imposed by the researcher. The result is richer, more complex sets of
responses (Tucker, et. al, 1981, p. 179).
39


While open-ended questions remove many of the forced choice
restrictions of ordinal ranking and Likert-tvpe scales, there are many
disadvantages to the researcher, as Tucker (p. 179) points out:
Responses are difficult to score. It is often a challenge to determine
the category' into which a specific response should be placed. And
since the decisions of a single coder are assumed to be unreliable,
at least one other trained coder must analyze the entire set of
responses. Should the resulting reliability coefficient fall into the
unacceptable range, then additional coders will be required or the
original coders will have to undergo additional training. Time is
another major problem...In fact, so much time is required that many
researchers feel that forced choice instruments, with their quick and
simple scoring procedures, are more realistic.
While an entire open-ended questionnaire would have yielded specific
information about the perceptions of the education majors, the logistics of
administering an open-ended questionnaire to a population of 1,300 students
would have been tremendous. As Tucker (p. 179) states: Sometimes the ideal is
not possible: Available funds, resources, and auxiliary help limit our options.
Question 9 is an open-ended question designed to help direct future
research.
Perception vs. Skills.
Validation for use of self-report perception measurement rather than
observable skills measurement as a reliable research method is given by the wide
40


use of perception scales in behavioral research (Ackoff, 1953; Kelly & Keaton,
1992; Santrock, 1993,). While a limitation to a self-report is that the researcher
must depend on the participants providing complete and accurate information, a
self-report of perceptions is useful when trying to ascertain attitudes and beliefs.
These are psychological characteristics existing inside of peoples heads, which
makes them impossible to observe directly. Indeed, trying to infer these black-
box concepts from actual behavior may be very misleading (Frey, et. al, 1991,
P-96).
As perceptions exist within the participant, the self-report method is a
valid research design. The limitations of the design exist within the creation of
the measurement scales. Without a validated scale to measure affective
perceptions, a true correlation between variables cannot be determined, nor can
intervening external variables be completely screened (such as physical classroom
environment, individual teacher method, etc.). Some exploratory findings can be
obtained, however, by matching affective expectations of what should be taught
in a basic public speaking course (and the relevance thereof), with affective
perceptions of what was actually taught (and the relevance thereof) within the
basic public speaking course in order to measure educational value. Academic
relevance is measured by correlations of class concentration to perceived future
use of course content in pursuit of field of major.
41


Statistical Tests
Investigating Communication. (Frey, et. al, 1991, p. 285) states
that:
Contingency table analysis, also called multiple sample chi-square
or crosstabs, is used whenever researchers compare two or more groups
with respect to a set of categories or the same group of people with
respect to two different sets of categories.
As questions 1 5 compare two groups (education majors and non-
education majors) with respect to a set of categories (the ranking of determined
educational factors in the basic public speaking course), a multiple chi-square test
was used to analyze the data from questions 1-5. The alpha coefficient of
p<005 was used to identify strong significance.
Researchers use a t test to examine differences between two groups
measured on and interval or ratio dependent variable. An independent t test
examines differences between two unrelated groups (Frey, et. al, 1991, p.289).
A t test can be conducted in a directional one-tailed manner, or a nondirectional
two-tailed manner. Though a researcher may have a specific directional
prediction for an experiment, it is generally safer and always appropriate to use a
nondirectional (two-tailed) test (Gravetter & Wallnau, 1988, p.228).
As questions 6-8 examine differences between two unrelated groups on
an interval based variable, a two-tailed t test was conducted to analyze the data
42


from questions 6-8. The alpha coefficient of p< 005 was used to identify strong
significance.
Answers to open-ended survey questions need to be coded into tabulated
units of meaning. Frey, et. al. (1991, p.215) states that:
'The process of assigning meaning, whether numerical or verbal,
to survey answers is called coding...Researchers usually use two
coders, and preferably more, who classify each unit into its
appropriate category independently...coders are asked to work
together and reach agreement on coded units about which they
disagreed.
As question 9 was an open-ended question, two trained communication
research undergraduate students coded and tabulated the answers from question 9
into a list consisting of the top five answers from each sample.
Summary
This chapter has described the methodology and research procedures
utilized in this study. The first section provided an introduction to the overall
procedure. The second section described the participants involved in the study.
The third section provided an overview of how the research instrument was
administered. The fourth section discussed how the research instrument w'as
designed. The fifth section provides rationale for the chosen methods of
43


measurement of data. Chapter IV, which follows, presents the results of the
research procedures outlined in Chapter III.
44


CHAPTER 4
RESULTS
The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of education
majors in relation to the academic value and relevance of the basic
college/university public speaking course. First, Chapter I provided general
background to the study and rationale for its pursuit. Next, Chapter II provided a
review of academic literature relevant to the research area and ended with two
research questions relevant to this study. This study specifically asks whether the
education majors perceptions differ from the general population of the students
enrolled in the public speaking course, and in what ways, if any, the public
speaking course is too elementary and general to meet the education. Chapter III
described the methodology utilized to investigate the research questions. This
chapter describes the results of the data collection and analysis
Survey Demographics
Results indicate that, in general, the audience for a public speaking class
is comprised of freshmen and sophomores. Their enrollment numbers are almost
45


equal and together total 76% of the sample, as shown in Table 4.1 (data from
question 11).
As shown in Table 4.2, education majors comprise 20% of the total
sample (therefore 20% of the total basic public speaking course population). This
is by far the largest individual major group. It should be noted that the
undecided category consists of 30 students, or 10% of the sample.
Miscellaneous Majors was determined to be comprised of any Majors
consisting of less than 2% of the sample (data from question 10).
46


Table 4.1
Public Speaking Student Sample by Class Ranking
Rank # %
Freshman 118 40 %
Sophomore 109 37 %
Junior 49 16 %
Senior 22 7 %
TOTAL 298 100 %
Table 4.2
Public Speaking Student Sample by Declared Majors
Rank Major # %
1. Education 60 20 %
2. Business 36 12 %
J* Finance 22 7 %
4. Psychology 18 6 %
5. Speech 15 5 %
6. Aviation 13 4.5%
Crim. Justice 13 4.5%
8. Nursing 11 4 %
Civil Eng. 11 4 %
10. Comp. Science 10 3 %
SUB TOTAL 209 70 %
Misc. Majors 59 20 %
Undecided 30 10 %
TOTAL 298 100 %
47


Educational Objectives
The following subsections provide results gathered from questions 1 -5 of
the survey questionnaire.
Question 1.
Tables 4.3 and 4.4 show initial perceptions of the educational importance
of the five determined fundamental elements of a public speaking course. Table
4.3 reports the Non-Education Major perceptions, and table 4.4 reports the
perceptions of the Education Majors.
Statistical Analysis for Question 1. Statistical analysis was achieved by
using a multiple chi-square test. Null hypothesis for question 1 was determined
as:
Ho=In ranking the fundamental speech elements as learning objectives
held at the beginning of the semester, there will be no difference in
ranking between education majors and non-education majors.
With degrees of freedom determined at 4, chi-square value (x2) was
determined to be 22.52. With an alpha level of p<005, and the critical value set
at 14.86, the chi-square value exceeds critical value; null hypothesis is rejected.
Table 4.5 reflects observed and expected frequencies used to determine chi-
square value.
48


Table 4.3
Beginning Educational ObjectivesNon-Ed. Majors
Rank* Learning Objective # Reporting %
1. Deli very/Presentat i on 142 60%
2. Using Varied Speeches 36 15%
-> Conquering Stage Fright 13%
4. Constructing Speeches 26 11%
5. Audio/Visual Aids 1 <1%
TOTAL 238 100%
*On a scale of 1 being most important to 5 being
least important.
Table 4.4
Beginning Educational ObjectivesEducation Majors
Rank* Learning Objective # Reporting %
1. Del i very/Presentati on 29 48%
2. Conquering Stage Fright 17 28%
Constructing Speeches 7 12%
4. Using Varied Speeches 6 10%
5. Audio/Visual Aids 1 2%
TOTAL 60 100%
*On a scale of 1 being most important to 5 being
least important.
49


Table 4.5
Beginning Learning Objectives --
Chi-Square Test
Speech Element Observed Frequencies Ed. Majors Non-Ed Majors Total
Construct Speeches 7 26
Varied types of speeches 6 36 42
Delivery/Presentation 29 142 171
Audio-Visual Aids 1 1 2
Conquer Stage Fright 17 33 50
TOTAL 60 238 298
Speech Element Expected Frequencies Ed. Majors Non-Ed Majors Total
Construct Speeches 7 26
Varied types of speeches 9 33 42
Delivery/Presentation 35 136 171
Audio-Visual Aids 1 1 2
Conquer Stage Fright 10 40 50
TOTAL 60 238 298
df=4 p<005 x2=22.52 critical value= 14.86
Cell entries indicate the number of students who chose a particular
speech element as closest to their personal beginning educational
objective
50


Question 2.
Tables 4.6 and 4.7 show perceptions of the class concentration of the five
determined fundamental elements of a public speaking course. Table 4.6 reports
the Non-Education Major perceptions, and table 4.7 reports the perceptions of the
Education Majors.
Statistical Analysis for Question 2. Statistical analysis was achieved by
using a multiple chi-square test. Null hypothesis for question 2 was determined
as:
Ho= In ranking the fundamental speech elements as learning objectives
concentrated on most in class, there will be no difference in
ranking between education majors and non-education majors.
With degrees of freedom determined at 4, chi-square value (x2) was
determined to be 3.49. With an alpha level of p<005, and the critical value set at
14.86, the chi-square value does not exceed critical value; null hypothesis is not
rejected. Table 4.8 reflects observed and expected frequencies used to determine
chi-square value.


Table 4.6
Class Concentration--Non-Educ. Majors
Rank* Learning Objective # Reporting %
1. Del i verv/Presentat i on 112 47%
2. Using Varied Speeches 78 33%
o J. Constructing Speeches 36 15%
4. Conquering Stage Fright 9 4%
5. Audio/Visual Aids 3 1%
TOTAL 238 100%
*On a scale of 1 being most important to 5 being
least important.
Table 4.7
Class Concentration-Education Majors
Rank* Learning Objective # Reporting %
1. Deli verv/Presentati on 25 42%
2. Using Varied Speeches 24 40%
Constructing Speeches 8 13%
4. Audio/Visual Aids 2 J 70
5. Conquering Stage Fright 1 TO/ t /O
TOTAL 60 100%
*On a scale of 1 being most important to 5 being
least important.
52


Table 4.8
Class Concentration on Learning Objectives
Chi-Square Test
Speech Element Ed. Non-Ed Total
Observed Frequencies Majors Majors
Construct Speeches 8 36 44
Varied types of speeches 24 78 102
Delivery/Presentation 25 112 137
Audio-Visual Aids 2 5
Conquer Stage Fright 1 9 10
TOTAL 60 238 298
Speech Element Ed. Non-Ed Total
Expected Frequencies Majors Majors
Construct Speeches 9 35 44
Varied types of speeches 20 82 102
Del i very/Presentati on 28 109 137
Audio-Visual Aids 1 4 5
Conquer Stage Fright 2 8 10
TOTAL 60 238 298
df=4 p< 005 x2=3.49 critical value=14.86
Cell entries indicate the number of students who chose a particular
speech element receiving the most class concentration.
53


Question 3.
Tables 4.9 and 4.10 show perceptions of the educational importance of the
five determined fundamental elements of a public speaking course at the end of
the semester. Table 4.9 reports the Non-Education Major perceptions, and table
4.10 reports the perceptions of the Education Majors.
Statistical Analysis for Question 3. Statistical analysis was achieved by
using a multiple chi-square test. Null hypothesis for question 3 was determined
as:
Ho= In ranking the fundamental speech elements as learning objectives
of educational importance at the end of the semester, there will be
no difference in ranking between education majors and non-
education majors.
With degrees of freedom determined at 4, chi-square value (x2) was
determined to be 61.25. With an alpha level of p<005, and the critical value set
at 14.86, the chi-square value exceeds the critical value; null hypothesis is
rejected. Table 4.11 reflects observed and expected frequencies used to determine
chi-square value.
54


Table 4.9
Semester-End Educational Importance--Non-Educ. Majors
Rank* Learning Objective # Reporting %
1. Constructing Speeches 87 36%
2. Delivery,Presentation 74 31%
3. Using Varied Speeches 69 29%
4. Conquering Stage Fright 4 2%
5. Audiovisual Aids 4 2%
TOTAL 238 100%
*On a scale of 1 being most important to 5 being
least important.
Table 4.10
Semester-End Educational ImportanceEducation Majors
Rank* Learning Objective # Reporting %
1. Deli very/Presentation 26 43%
2. Conquering Stage Fright 16 27%
j. Constructing Speeches 10 17%
4. Using Varied Speeches 6 10%
5. Audio/Visual Aids 2 3%
TOTAL 60 100%
*On a scale of 1 being most important to 5 being
least important.
55


Table 4.11
Semester-End Importance of Learning Objectives
Chi-Square Test
Speech Element Observed Frequencies Ed. Majors Non-Ed Majors Total
Construct Speeches 10 87 97
Varied types of speeches 6 69 75
Deliverv/Presentation 26 74 100
Audio-Visual Aids 2 4 6
Conquer Stage Fright 16 4 20
TOTAL 60 238 298
Speech Element Expected Frequencies Ed. Majors Non-Ed Majors Total
Construct Speeches 20 77 44
Varied types of speeches 15 60 102
Deliverv/Presentation 20 80 137
Audio-Visual Aids 1 5 5
Conquer Stage Fright 4 16 10
TOTAL 60 238 298
df=4 p<005 x2=61.25 critical value= 14.86
Cell entries indicate the number of students who chose a particular
speech element as closest to their personal ending educational
objective
56


Question 4.
Tables 4.12 and 4.13 show perceptions of the most new information
presented of the five determined fundamental elements of a public speaking
course. Table 4.12 reports the Non-Education Major perceptions, and table 4.13
reports the perceptions of the Education Majors.
Statistical Analysis for Question 4. Statistical analysis was achieved by
using a multiple chi-square test. Null hypothesis for question 4 was determined
as:
Ho= In ranking the fundamental speech elements as learning objectives
of which the most new information was presented, there will be
no difference in ranking between education majors and non-
education majors.
With degrees of freedom determined at 4, chi-square value (x2) was
determined to be 2.55. With an alpha level of p< 005, and the critical value set at
14.86, the chi-square value does not exceed the critical value; null hypothesis is
not rejected. Table 4.14 reflects observed and expected frequencies used to
determine chi-square value.
57


Table 4.12
Most New Information--Non-Educ. Majors
Rank* Learning Objective # Reporting %
1. Deliverv/Presentation 92 39%
2. Using Varied Speeches 64 27%
3. Constructing Speeches 42 18%
4. Audio/Visual Aids 24 10%
5. Conquering Stage Fright 16 6%
TOTAL 238 100%
*On a scale of 1 being most important to 5 being
least important.
Table 4.13
Most New InformationEducation Majors
Rank* Learning Objective # Reporting %
1. Delivery/Presentation 19 31%
2. Using Varied Speeches 18 30%
Constructing Speeches 10 17%
Audio/Visual Aids 10 17%
5. Conquering Stage Fright 3 5%
TOTAL 60 100%
*On a scale of 1 being most important to 5 being
least important.
58


Table 4.14
Most New Information of Learning Objectives
Chi-Square Test
Speech Element Observed Frequencies Ed. Majors Non-Ed Majors Total
Construct Speeches 10 42 52
Varied types of speeches 18 64 82
Delivery/Presentation 19 92 111
Audio-Visual Aids 10 24 34
Conquer Stage Fright 'y 16 19
TOTAL 60 238 298
Speech Element Expected Frequencies Ed. Majors Non-Ed Majors Total
Construct Speeches 10 42 52
Varied types of speeches 17 65 82
Del i very/Presentati on 22 89 111
Audio-Visual Aids 7 27 34
Conquer Stage Fright 4 15 19
TOTAL 60 238 298
df=4 p<005 x2=2.55 critical value=14.86
Cell entries indicate the number of students who chose a particular
speech element as receiving the most new information in class.
59


Question 5.
Tables 4.15 and 4.16 show perceptions of the least new information
presented of the five determined fundamental elements of a public speaking
course. Table 4.15 reports the Non-Education Major perceptions, and table 4.16
reports the perceptions of the Education Majors.
Statistical Analysis for Question 5. Statistical analysis was achieved by
using a multiple chi-square test. Null hypothesis for question 5 was determined
as:
Ho= In ranking the fundamental speech elements as learning objectives
of which the least new information was presented, there will be
no difference in ranking between education majors and non-
education majors.
With degrees of freedom determined at 4, chi-square value (x2) was
determined to be 4.86. With an alpha level of p<005, and the critical value set at
14.86, the chi-square value does not exceed the critical value; null hypothesis is
not rejected. Table 4.17 reflects observed and expected frequencies used to
determine chi-square value.
60


Table 4.15
Least New Information--Non-Educ. Majors
Rank* Learning Objective # Reporting %
1. Conquering Stage Fright 91 38%
2. Audiovisual Aids 79 33%
*> Constructing Speeches 47 20%
4. Using Varied Speeches 12 5%
5. Delivery/Presentation 9 4%
TOTAL 238 100%
*On a scale of 1 being most important to 5 being
least important.
Table 4.16
Least New Information-Education Majors
Rank* Learning Objective # Reporting %
1. Conquering Stage Fright 26 43%
2. AudioA/isual Aids 15 25%
*> Constructing Speeches 11 18%
J. Using Varied Speeches 7 12%
5. Delivery/Presentation 1 2%
TOTAL 60 100%
*On a scale of 1 being most important to 5 being
least important.
61


Table 4.17
Least New Information of Learning Objectives
Chi-Square Test
Speech Element Observed Frequencies Ed. Majors Non-Ed Majors Total
Construct Speeches 11 47 58
Varied types of speeches 7 12 19
Delivery/Presentation 1 9 10
Audio-Visual Aids 15 79 94
Conquer Stage Fright 26 91 117
TOTAL 60 238 298
Speech Element Expected Frequencies Ed. Majors Non-Ed Majors Total
Construct Speeches 12 46 58
Varied types of speeches 4 15 19
Delivery/Presentation 2 8 10
Audio-Visual Aids 19 75 94
Conquer Stage Fright 24 93 117
TOTAL 60 238 298
df=4 p< 005 x2=4.86 critical value=14.86
Cell entries indicate the number of students who chose a particular
speech element as receiving the least new information in class.
62


Perceived Educational Value
The following subsections provide results gathered from questions 6 8 of the
survey questionnaire.
Question 6.
Tables 4.18 and 4.19 show perceptions of the overall educational value of
the basic public speaking course. Table 4.18 reports the Non-Education Major
perceptions, and table 4.19 reports the perceptions of the Education Majors.
Statistical Analysis for Question 6. Statistical analysis was achieved by
using a two-tailed t test. Null hypothesis for question 6 was determined as:
Ho=Regarding the perceptions of the overall educational value of the
public speaking course there will be no difference in the mean scores
of the education majors and non-education majors.
With the standard error of the mean determined at .201, the value of t was
determined to be -5.274. With an alpha level of p<005, and critical value of t for
a two-tailed test set at 2.617, the t value exceeds the critical value. The null
hypothesis is rejected. Table 4.20 reports mean scores, standard error, and t
statistics used to determine t value.
63


Table 4.18
Overall Educational ValueNon-Educ. Majors
Rank* Value # Reporting %
1. Strongly Disagree 4 1%
2. Disagree 6 2%
3. Slightly Disagree 7 4%
4. Neutral 22 9%
5. Slightly Agree 18 8%
6. Agree 123 52%
7. Strongly Agree 58 24%
TOTAL 238 100%
Table 4.19
Overall Educational ValueEducation Majors
Rank* Value # Reporting %
1. Strongly Disagree -> 5%
2. Disagree 8 13%
" Slightly Disagree 7 12%
4. Neutral 4 7%
5. Slightly Agree 12 20%
6. Agree 19 31%
7. Strongly Agree 7 12%
TOTAL 60 100%
64


Table 4.20
T Test Values
Questions 6-8
Question X Ed. Majors X Non- Ed. Majors Pooled Varian. Std. Error t Value
#6 Overall Educational Value 4.65 5.710 1.941 .201 -5.274
#7 Relevance to Major 4.65 5.53 2.409 .224 -3.929
#8 Fulfills Beginning Ed. Objectives 4.45 5.63 2.015 .205 -5.756
For all items: p<005 t critical value=2.617
65


Question 7.
Tables 4.21 and 4.22 show perceptions of the relevance to chosen major
of the basic public speaking course. Table 4.21 reports the Non-Education Major
perceptions, and Table 4.22 reports the perceptions of the Education Majors.
Statistical Analysis for Question 7, Statistical analysis was achieved by
using a two-tailed t test. Null hypothesis for question 7 was determined as:
Ho=Regarding the perceptions of relevance to chosen major of the
public speaking course, there will be no difference in the mean
scores of the education majors and non-education majors.
With the standard error of the mean determined at .224, the value of t was
determined to be -3.929. With an alpha level of p<005, and critical value of t for
a two-tailed test set at 2.617, the t value exceeds the critical value. The null
hypothesis is rejected. Table 4.20 reports mean scores, standard error, and t
statistics used to determine t value.
66


Table 4.21
Relevance to Chosen MajorNon-Educ. Majors
Rank* Value # Reporting %
1. Strongly Disagree 5 2%
2. Disagree 7 4%
Slightly Disagree 6 3%
4. Neutral 31 13%
5. Slightly Agree 27 11%
6. Agree 94 40%
7. Strongly Agree 65 27%
TOTAL 238 100%
Table 4.22
Relevance to Chosen MajorEducation Majors
Rank* Value # Reporting %
1. Strongly Disagree 2 3%
2. Disagree 5 8%
D. Slightly Disagree 8 13%
4. Neutral 10 17%
5. Slightly Agree 13 22%
6. Agree 16 27%
7. Strongly Agree 6 10%
TOTAL 60 100%
67


Question 8.
Tables 4.23 and 4.24 show perceptions of the basic public speaking course
fulfilling the educational objectives set by the students at the beginning of the
semester. Table 4.23 reports the Non-Education Major perceptions, and Table
4.24 reports the perceptions of the Education Majors.
Statistical Analysis for Question 8. Statistical analysis was achieved by
using a two-tailed t test. Null hypothesis for question 8 was determined as:
Ho=Regarding the perceptions of the public speaking course fulfilling
educational objectives set by the students at the beginning of the
semester, there will be no difference in the mean scores of the
education majors and non-education majors.
With the standard error of the mean determined at .205, the value of t was
determined to be -5.756. With an alpha level of p<005, and critical value of t for
a two-tailed test set at 2.617, the t value exceeds the critical value. The null
hypothesis is rejected. Table 4.20 reports mean scores, standard error, and t
statistics used to determine t value.
68


Table 4.23
Fulfills Beginning Ed. ObjectivesNon-Educ. Majors
Rank* Value # Reporting %
1. Strongly Disagree 7 3%
2. Disagree 1%
3. Slightly Disagree 6 2%
4. Neutral 26 11%
5. Slightly Agree 23 10%
6. Agree 121 51%
7. Strongly Agree 52 22%
TOTAL 238 100%
Table 4.24
Fulfills Beginning Ed. ObjectivesEducation Majors
Rank* Value # Reporting %
1. Strongly Disagree 2 3%
2. Disagree 10 17%
n J>. Slightly Disagree 8 13%
4. Neutral 5 8%
5. Slightly Agree 13 22%
6. Agree 18 30%
7. Strongly Agree 6 7%
TOTAL 60 100%
69


Future Objectives
Participants were asked to describe one educational objective to add to the
basic public speaking course.
Question 9.
Tables 4.25 and 4.26 show the ranking of the answers to question 9.
Table 4.25 shows the perceptions of Non-Education Majors, and table 4.26 shows
the perceptions of the Education Majors.
70


Table 4.25
Future Educational ObjectivesNon-Educ. Majors
Rank* Objective # Reporting % of entire sample
1. Speech Construction 52 22%
2. Modeling of Speeches 38 16%
-V Video-taping Speeches 22 9%
4. Conquering Stage Fright 20 8%
5. Better Textbook 14 6%
TOTAL 146 61%
Table 4.26
Future Educational ObjectivesEduc. Majors
Rank* Objective # Reporting % of entire sample
1. Conquering Stage Fright 15 25%
2. Modeling of Speeches 9 15%
o Speech Construction 8 13%
4. Video-taping Speeches 5 8%
5. Better Textbook 4 7%
TOTAL 41 68%
71


Summary
This chapter has presented the results of this study. The research findings
were organized into four sections.
First Section
The first section provided the survey demographics from questions 10 and
11 on the survey questionnaire.
Second Section
The second section regarded the student perceptions of the educational
objectives of the public speaking course and provided rankings and statistical
analysis of questions 1 through 5 on the survey questionnaire. The null
hypotheses for these questions generally stated that there would be no difference
in the perceptions of the Education Majors and Non-Education Majors.
For question 1, the ranking of educational objectives deemed most
important at the beginning of the semester, the null hypothesis was rejected.
There was significant difference in the perceptions of Education Majors and
Non-Education Majors regarding perceptions of educational objectives deemed
most important at the beginning of the semester.
72


For question 2, the ranking of educational objectives receiving the most
course concentration, the null hypothesis was not rejected. There was no
significant difference in the perceptions of Education Majors and Non-Education
Majors regarding perceptions of educational objectives receiving the most course
concentration.
For question 3, the ranking of educational objectives deemed most
important at the end of the semester, the null hypothesis was rejected. There was
significant difference in the perceptions of Education Majors and Non-Education
Majors regarding perceptions of educational objectives deemed most important at
the end of the semester.
For question 4, the ranking of educational objectives in which the most
new information was received, the null hypothesis was not rejected. There was
no significant difference in the perceptions of Education Majors and Non-
Education Majors regarding perceptions of educational objectives receiving the
most new information.
For question 5, the ranking of educational objectives in which the least
new information was received, the null hypothesis was not rejected. There was
no significant difference in the perceptions of Education Majors and Non-
Education Majors regarding perceptions of educational objectives receiving the
least new information.
73


Third Section
The third section regarded the student perceptions of the overall perceived
value of the public speaking course and provided rankings and statistical analysis
of questions 6 through 8 on the survey questionnaire. The null hypotheses for
these questions generally stated that there would be no difference in the
perceptions of the Education Majors and Non-Education Majors.
For question 6, the ranking of overall educational value of the public
speaking course, the null hypothesis was rejected. There was significant
difference in the perceptions of Education Majors and Non-Education Majors
regarding perceptions the overall educational value of the public speaking course.
For question 7, the ranking of relevance of the public speaking course to
chosen major, the null hypothesis was rejected. There was significant
difference in the perceptions of Education Majors and Non-Education Majors
regarding perceptions of the relevance of the public speaking course to chosen
major.
For question 8, the ranking of perception of fulfillment of beginning
course educational expectations, the null hypothesis was rejected. There was
significant difference in the perceptions of Education Majors and Non-Education
Majors regarding perceptions of fulfillment of beginning course educational
expectations.
74


Fourth Section
The fourth section regarded the student perceptions of educational
objectives that should be add to the public speaking course and provided rankings
of question 9 on the survey questionnaire.
Chapter V, which follows, provides interpretation of the findings and
discusses the results of the study.
75


CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION
The purpose of this study was to empirically examine the perceptions of
Education majors in relation to the academic value and relevance of the basic
college/university public speaking course. There were 298 volunteer subjects in
the sample pool who completed a survey questionnaire regarding their
perceptions of the educational value and relevance of the basic college/university
public speaking course.
Specifically, this study asked two questions. What are the Education
Majors perceptions of the relevancy and educational value of the basic public
speaking course? In what ways, if any, do the Education Majors differ from the
general population in the basic public speaking course9
Statistical analysis showed that the Education Majors perceptions of the
educational value and relevancy of the public speaking course are significantly
different than Non-Education Majors in many ways.
For the purposes of this study, Chapter I provided general background to
the study and rationale for its pursuit. Next, Chapter II provided a review of
academic literature relevant to this study. Chapter II described the methodology
76


utilized to investigate the research questions. Chapter IV described the results of
the data collection and statistical analysis.
This final chapter, Chapter V, provides interpretation and conclusions
regarding the results, limitations of the study and recommendations. The chapter
ends with a general summary of the report.
Interpretation of Results
As the data in Chapter IV shows, the Education Majors are a significant
group that warrants individual attention within the basic college/university public
speaking program. This particular study shows the Education Major comprising
20% of the sample group randomly selected from the public speaking courses.
Research also points to the Education Major as belonging to one of the only
disciplines requiring a testing of oral communication competency as a requisite
for employment (Book, 1989; DeWitt, et. al., 1991).
Educational Objectives
Regarding the targeted fundamental educational course elements, Chapter
II reveals that Education Majors and Non-Education Majors do not significantly
differ in perceptions of the amount of class concentration the amount of new
information given, and the amount of least new information given. However, as
77


shown in Chapter II, Education Majors differ significantly from Non-Education
Majors in perceptions of start of semester educational objectives and end of
semester educational objectives. Also, as Figure 5.1 shows, compared to non-
education majors, the education majors appear to be less likely (than the non-
education majors) to change their educational objectives from the beginning of
the semester to the end. Both groups agree on what actually did occur in class,
but differ on what they expected to occur during the course. Figure 5.2 shows,
compared to non-education majors, education majors perceive less correlation
between what was expected to occur in course content and what actually did
occur.
78


Ranking
Figure 5.1
Beginning vs. Ending Educational Objectives
Education Majors
Delivery Vaned Stagefright Speech Visual Aids
Speeches Construction
Educational Objectives
Beginning
0 Ending
Non-Education Majors
Delivery Varied Stagefright Speech Visual Aids
Speeches Construction
Educational Objectives
Rankings with 1 being the most important, and 5 being the least important
79


Ranking
Figure 5.2
Beginning Educational Objectives vs. Class Concentration
Education Majors
Delivery Stagefright Speech Varied Visual Aids
Construction Speeches
Educational Objectives
Beginning Expectations
Class Concentration
Non-Education Majors
Delivery Varied Stagefright Speech Visual Aids
Speeches Construction
Educational Objectives
Rankings with 1 being the most important, and 5 being the least important
80


Stage Fright. A most notable difference between the two groups occurs
with their perceptions of the targeted educational element of stage fright. As
Figure 5.1 shows, the Education Majors began and ended the semester with stage
fright being their number two concern. The Non-Education Majors moved stage
fright from a number three concern to a number four concern. The Education
Majors are evidently still concerned with the element of stage-fright, while the
Non-Education Majors appear to no longer be as concerned with stage fright by
the end of the semester. Table 4.7 shows the Education Major targeting stage
fright as receiving the least amount of class concentration. Tables 4.13 and 4.16
show the Education Majors have a perfect correlation in their perception that
stage fright is the objective about which they received the least amount of new
information.
Even considering that the variables of specific class concentration and
teacher style could have an impact on the perceptions of this factor, the fact that
the Education Majors are still significantly concerned with stage fright at the end
of the semester warrants examination, as the Education Majors were evenly
distributed in all the classes surveyed. To change the Education Majors
perceptions of the Educational Value of the public speaking course, the topic of
stage fright needs to be addressed in a different manner within the course content.
81


Deliverv/Presentation of Speeches. The Education Majors show a perfect
correlation in their perceptions of the element of Delivery/Presentation of a
Speech:
#1 Beginning Objective
#1 Ending Objective
#1 Class Concentration
#1 Most New Information
While Non-Education Majors also listed Delivery/Presentation of
speeches as the number one beginning educational objective, and the number one
objective receiving the most class concentration and the most new information,
they moved Delivery/Presentation to number two on their educational objective
concerns by the end of the semester. At the end of the semester, Non-Education
Majors were more concerned with the actual construction of speeches, listing this
element as their number one educational objective.
It would appear that Education Majors were more pleased to receive the
time and attention spent on the educational objective of Delivery/Presentation
of speeches.
Construction of Speeches/ Using Varied Speeches. The Education and
Non-Education majors differ in their perceptions of the educational value of the
targeted element of Constructing Speeches. Figure 5.1 shows that while non-
Education majors ranked Constructing Speeches as their number four beginning
82


learning objective, they moved this element to their number one learning
objective by the end of the semester. Figure 5.1 shows that Education Majors did
not change their view of the educational value of the element Constructing
Speeches, as they ranked this element as their number three concern both at the
beginning and the end of the semester.
The Education Majors and Non-Education Majors also differ in their
perception of the educational value of the targeted element of Using Varied
Speeches. Figure 5.1 shows that the Non-Education Majors ranked Using
Varied Speeches as their number two beginning educational objective, moving it
to their number three educational objective by the end of the semester. Figure 5.1
shows the Education Majors, again, not changing their point of view from the
beginning to end of the semester. They ranked Using Varied Speeches as their
number four concern both at the beginning and of the semester. This is
interesting, as Tables 4.6,4.12, and Figure 5.2 reveal that both Education and
Non-Education Majors ranked the element of Using Varied Speeches number
two in receiving the most class concentration and receiving the most new
information.
One wonders what happened during the semester to cause the Non-
Education Majors to give more weight to the element of Constructing Speeches,
and the Education Majors to not be moved at all. The Non-Education Majors
83


changed their perceptions slightly on the element of Using Varied Speeches
during the semester, ranking this element of higher concern than the Education
Majors, who again, remained unmoved on the importance of this element.
If Education Majors are pleased with the course content in the area of
application (Delivery/Presentation), then more specified attention in the theory
area (Construction & Using Varied Speeches) might bring a more positive
perception of the educational value of the public speaking course.
Audio-Visual Aids. As Tables 4.3,4.4,4.9 and 4.10 show, Education
Majors and Non-Education Majors agree that the targeted element of Audio-
Visual Aids is of their least concern. Both groups rank this element as their
number five educational objective both at the beginning and the end of the
semester.
This perception is interesting when considering the research on the
importance of visual aids in public speaking. Respected communication
researcher Rudolph Verderber (1994, p. 180) states in The Challenge of Effective
Speaking: Although you may eventually choose not to use visual aids, their
importance in arousing attention, facilitating understanding, and increasing
retention is so great that a decision against their use should be made with utmost
care. Past National Speech Communication Association President. David
Zarefsky (1996), argues that learning how to use visual aids, when to use them,
84


and what visual aids to use are an integral part of learning the art of public
speaking. He states specifically that visual aids are integrally related to strategic
planning for the speech (p.365). The widely-used college textbook The Art of
Public Speaking points out research conducted by University of Minneapolis
(Vogel, et. al., 1986) underlining the importance of visual aids (Lucas, 1995,
pp.290 & 291):
People find a speakers message more interesting, grasp it more
easily, and retain it longer when it is presented visually as well
as verbally...In fact, when used well, visual aids can enhance
almost every aspect of a speech. One recent study [Vogel,
et. al., 1986] showed that an average speaker who uses visual
aids will come across as better prepared, more credible, and more
professional than a dynamic speaker who does not use visual aids.
According to the same study, visual aids can increase the
persuasiveness of a speech by over 40 percent.
Although these researchers, and many others, emphasize the importance
of visual aids in public speaking, neither the Education Majors nor the Non-
Education Majors ranked visual aids in their top three educational objectives at
the beginning or end of the semester. Both groups also concur (see Tables 4.6,
4.7,4.15 & 4.16) that the targeted element of Visual Aids received a small
amount of class concentration, and a small amount of new information.
Given the fact that Education Majors will use speaking skills daily, and
are one of the only discipline groups required to pass an oral competency test as
85


a requisite for employment, and given that research shows the use of visual aids
to be an integral part of effective speaking; in order to change the perception of
the Education Majors regarding the targeted element of Visual Aids, the course
content in this area should be examined and specific attention in this area should
be considered. What is being taught about visual aids, and how it is being taught
should be explored to determine why the Education Majors have such a
negative/neutral attitude about one of their most important future teaching tools.
Implications of Data from Educational Objectives. The Education
Majors and Non-Education Majors do differ in perceptions in several areas, as
shown. Given these differences, it is not surprising that the Education Majors
overall view' of the educational value of the public speaking course is
significantly less positive than the Non-Education Majors, as shown in Chapter
IV.
Perceived Educational Value
Question #6 of the survey questionnaire (appendix a) asked the students to
rank from strongly disagree to strongly agree their perceptions to the
statement Overall, I am pleased with the educational value of the content of this
class. The t test for this question shows that the Education majors are
significantly less pleased with the overall educational value of the basic public
86


speaking course when compared with the Non-Education majors. As Figure 5.3
shows, 30% of the Education Majors have a negative perception of the overall
educational value of the public speaking course, as compared to only 7% of the
Non-Education Majors. An interesting factor arises when examining the students
who ended the semester with neutral feelings about the course. Figure 5.3 points
out that 37% of the Education Majors ended the semester feeling neither positive
or negative about the overall educational value of the public speaking course,
while only 9% of the Non-Education Majors ended the semester with a neutral
view of the course. The Non-Education Majors are overwhelmingly more pleased
with the educational value of the public speaking course when compared with the
Education Majors. Figure 5.3 shows that 84% of the Non-Education Majors agree
with the statement in question #6, while only 33% of the Education Majors agree
with the statement.
87


Figure 5.3
Overall Education Value
Education Majors
Non-Education Majors
Negative Neutral
7% 9%
Positive
84%
88


Implications of Data from Perceived Educational Value. While the
educational value of the course content of the public speaking course appears to
satisfy the average student population for this course, the content does not appear
to satisfy the Education Majors. In order to change the perceptions of the
Education Majors, the content of the public speaking course should be examined.
Relevance to Major
Question #7 on the survey questionnaire (appendix a) asked the students
to rank from strongly disagree to strongly agree their perceptions to the
statement What I have learned in this class will definitely help in my major.
The t test for this question shows that the Education Majors significantly disagree
with this question when compared to the Non-Education Majors. As Figure 5.4
shows, 24% of the Education Majors disagree that the public speaking course will
help in their major, while only 9% of the Non-Education Majors report this
negative perception. Once again a higher percentage of the Education Majors
report a neutral perception. Figure 5.4 shows 17% of the Education Majors
reporting a neutral perception of the relevancy of the public speaking course to
their chosen major, as compared to 13% of the Non-Education Majors reporting a
neutral perception. While a majority of the Education Majors do agree that what
they learned in the public speaking course wall help in their major, the Non-
89


Education Majors are significantly more positive about the future application of
the course content. Figure 5.4 shows that 78% of the Non-Education Majors feel
that the public speaking course content will help them in their chosen major, as
compared to only 59% of the Education Majors reporting this positive perception
90


Figure 5.4
Relevancy to Major
Education Majors
Negative
Non-Education Majors
Negative
9%
78%
91