ERIC Number: ED232226
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
An Overcoming Speech Anxiety Course for the Community.
Cohen, Marlene C.
The community services department of an eastern community college offers a noncredit course called Overcoming Speech Anxiety. The students range from those who avoid conversation with most people to those who speak publicly often but with a great deal of discomfort. Their reasons for taking such a class suggest that most people suffer situational rather than general apprehension. Their fears fell into two predominant categories: fear of certain audiences and fear of speaking on certain topics. Generally, four types of approaches are used in the three two-hour class sessions: (1) creating a support group atmosphere; (2) employing relaxation exercises and systematic desensitization techniques; (3) improving confidence through cognitive restructuring; and (4) completing an abbreviated public speaking assignment. By the final class, most students state in written evaluations that they are less anxious because they better understand their anxieties. Making the course separate from the speech department--noncredit, not graded, and without a speech requirement--helps produce a relaxed atmosphere. The greatest advantage to such a course is the acknowledgement that learning to speak publicly and learning to feel confident in speaking publicly are different skills that need to be taught in different ways. The major disadvantage to teaching apprehension reduction in a course completely separate from any speech course is that there is no clear way to measure progress. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Communication Association (Ocean City, MD, April 27-30, 1983).