ERIC Number: ED285208
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-May-7
The Comprehension of Poor Communication in the Business Setting: A Neglected Pedagogical Focus.
Cantrill, James G.; Clark, Susan M.
To meet the needs of industry a variety of communications courses have been designed to improve the speaking and writing skills of pre-professional students. Unfortunately, such courses stress the quality of message production in the business setting while neglecting to emphasize properly the equivalent need for strong reception and comprehension skills. The result of this pedagogical deficiency is manifested in the complaints of employers concerning the inability of entry-level personnel to interpret downward communications and can be measured by the time and effort exerted by new employees in attempting to clarify inadequate communications. Consequently, the document analyzes the current state of comprehension training in business courses. Also presented are theoretical perspectives by which the basis of noncomprehension can be understood, such as message reception constrained by ambiguity, by egocentrism, and by relational considerations. The paper then determines that the best theoretical underpinning to comprehension of problematic messages is the information-processing approach to human interaction, which makes use of schemata. A discussion of methods for incorporating comprehension training into the classroom concludes that teachers should make the underlying theories of comprehension skills clear to students and should provide them with opportunities to practice using the knowledge gleaned at the conceptual level. (Sixty-nine footnotes are appended.) (SKC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Communication Association (73rd, Hartford, CT, May 1982). Notes section may be marginally legible. Document contains small light type.