Friday, 15 July 2016

If first-year students are afraid of public speaking assessments what can teachers do to alleviate such anxiety?

an article by Gregory Nash, Gail Crimmins & Florin Oprescu (University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Australia) published in Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education Volume 41 Issue 4 (2016)


Public speaking and oral assessments are common in higher education, and they can be a major cause of anxiety and stress for students. This study was designed to measure the student experience of public speaking assessment tasks in a mandatory first-year course at a regional Australian university.

The research conducted was an instrumental case study, with a student-centred focus. Surveys were designed to elicit student perceptions of their emotions and experience before and after engaging in public speaking skill development exercises and a public assessment task. After undertaking public speaking desensitisation and assessment, students experienced increased satisfaction and decreased fear, indecision and confusion.

However, students’ perceptions of their confidence to control nerves, maintain eye contact, use gestures and comfortably speak in front of 25 people reduced – an unexpected outcome of the research. The reasons for this remain unclear, which provides a window for further research. Public speaking assessment tasks should be aligned with learning activities, and opportunities to minimise the impact of barriers to students engaging in the learning activities or tasks should be incorporated into curriculum.

No comments: