UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Study to determine the need for formal speech education for teachers in training Elliott, Kathleen N.


The purpose of this study was to seek evidence as to whether formal training in oral communication is necessary for British Columbia teachers during their preparation for teaching and whether this training, when given, can have observable benefits. A further purpose was to report for teachers a study which could stimulate them to undertake further systematic investigation of the problems which have been probed and opened to inquiry in this study. The study quotes informed opinions to the effect that oral communication is of increasing importance in today's world; that this fact is recognized by leading educators; that some degree of sophistication is needed before profitable evaluation and training can take place. The study includes a survey of comments made on the speech of teachers in training in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia during the year 1965-66. Two groups of teachers in training were involved: student teachers in elementary schools and student teachers in secondary schools. Three groups of commentators were involved: elementary school sponsor teachers, secondary school sponsor teachers, and Faculty of Education personnel. Three thousand specific comments were examined in order to identify areas of strength and weakness. A tentative classification was made of areas where professional help of a more or less technical kind could profitably be given as, for example, with problems of excessive speed or articulatory difficulty. A second classification was made of those areas where poor communication might indicate the need for assistance with personal problems on a deeper level. An example of this latter type might be poor projection. The thesis also describes a study using forty students in Education 416, Speech Education, during the summer session of 1966 at the University of British Columbia. The aim of this study was to point out that although many weaknesses can and do exist concurrently, strengths may be reinforced and a significant number of weaknesses eliminated through a definite programme undertaken with general and specific improvement in mind. Some conclusions resulting from the study are: i. that sponsors think some improvement in speech is needed in the case of approximately 80% of teachers in training; ii. that standards of speech can be raised through courses designed for this purpose; iii. that further research is needed with regard to: a) categorization of speech problems as being psychologically or physiologically based. b) clarification of terminology used in describing speech. Finally, this study tends to be open-ended and to regard speech as an art in human relations rather than as a science, though it may eventually lead into the new field of psycholinguistics when pursued in depth. NOTE: Two hours of taped evidence is offered to substantiate Chapter IV of this study. These tapes are available on loan. The collected unedited comments referred to in Chapter III are also available on loan.

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