The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of
for the degree of Doctor of Education
March 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm / Ball Hall
Major Advisor: Wendy Griswold, PhD
AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY ON THE EFFECTS OF THE SHOWCASE ASSIGNMENT: TREATING PUBLIC SPEAKING ANXIETY THROUGH THE USE OF EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING AND SELF-DISCLOSURE THEORIES
ABSTRACT: This experimental study reviewed the efficacy of a new classroom tool known as the Showcase Assignment. This assignment reduces public speaking anxiety in the public speaking classroom. This assignment asked students to pick a talent (poetry reading, singing, etc.) that is important to them in some way, give a brief description of what their talent is, disclose its importance to them, and perform it in front of the class. This study is based on literature related to communication apprehension, experiential learning and self-disclosure theories, and classroom environment. This study used pre-test post-test survey methodology of 179 students, split into treatment and control groups, enrolled in speech courses at two mid-sized universities in the Southern United States to answer five research questions: (1) How does the implementation of the Showcase Assignment effect public speaking anxiety as it relates to speech classrooms? (2) How does the Showcase Assignment impact grades on speaking assignments compared to those that are not exposed? (3) How do students describe the Showcase Assignment in relation to a supportive classroom environment? (4) How do students describe the Showcase Assignment in relation to creative learning? (5) How does perceived instructor personality and implementation of the Showcase Assignment compare to the students’ perception of instructor personality and implementation of the Showcase Assignment? The study found that the Showcase Assignment did not have a significant impact on students’ self-reports of anxiety overall but, the instructor teaching the Showcase Assignment did impact those reports. The study found that students reported positive feedback concerning the Showcase Assignment including its benefits in creating a supportive classroom environment and in enhancing creativity skills to help with other speech class presentations. Finally, the study showed that positive instructor personality and implementation of the Showcase Assignment will result in positive student feedback.