International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss


Changing the Atmos'fear' in the Public Speaking Classroom
Dr. Felicia Stewart, Dr. Keisha Edwards Tassie

It is too often the case that a public speaking classroom is one that creates a sense of stress, nervousness and tension in undergraduate students. While many sources offer tips to help students and others prepare successful speeches and get through their presentations (Lucas, 2010; DeVito, 2009; Griffin, 2009; Osborn, Osborn, & Osborn, 2009; Verderber, Verderber, & Sellnow, 2008; Bourne, 2007; Beaver, 2005), few address how instructors may be contributing (i.e., cultural differences and misunderstandings, instructor bias, lack of class time for preparation, and overly strict instructor critique and scoring criteria) to this atmosphere of anxiety and communication apprehension nor what instructors can do specifically to help create an environment where public speaking anxiety can decrease progressively in the classroom. This article will explore some options towards making the speech-learning environment one that lessens the anxiety and fear students experience in the public speaking classroom. For instructors who wish to create a more comfortable public speaking environment in order to help reduce the fear students experience in the public speaking classroom, the authors suggest respecting cultural differences, avoiding instructor bias, using class time for practice, and providing an encouraging classroom atmosphere.

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