ERIC Number: ED244306
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Nov-12
An Overview of Present Approaches to the Basic Speech Communication Course.
Trank, Douglas M.
Recent surveys have shown that the basic speech communication course, designed to introduce students to the discipline and to meet their basic proficiency needs, is alive and growing rapidly. While this is generally good news, a more critical examination reveals a variety of issues in need of resolution. A significant amount of course time is given to public speaking and related topics, with little variation. The dominant course pattern involves a single, nearly autonomous instructor teaching each class. The surveys have noted that in recent years there has been a shift toward more communication-oriented, less public-speaking focused classes and toward staffing with graduate assistants and junior faculty. The surveys have not, however, provided much information on the importance of communication courses to institutions or to a liberal arts education. Faculty attitudes toward the basic course show a fundamental lack of interest, and there is little information on the philosophy behind content and approaches. Even the most drastic criticisms have failed to create change, partly because the basic course fulfills certain traditional obligations that other courses, departments, and instructors are not anxious to add to their responsibilities, and partly because few departments are able to support and initiate radical changes in their approach to the basic course. The paper concludes with six suggestions for bringirg about meaningful revision to the basic course: (1) frequent regional and national surveys need to be conducted, (2) the speech communication discipline and departments need to reestablish their commitment to the basic course, (3) curriculum decisions need to be based on valid educational goals and research, (4) basic course directors should be given increased support to experiment, (5) publishers and authors should be encouraged to provide innovative materials, and (6) alternative approaches to the basic course should be closely examined. (CRH)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Administrators; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (69th, Washington, DC, November 10-13, 1983).