Communication Apprehension

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OSTCA Task Force on High School Curriculum

Communication Apprehension
Curriculum Resource Guide

July 18, 2002

Originally created by Douglas Duke, University of Central Oklahoma

Revisions and Additions by Emily Dake Farnham & Jason Burkhart in December 2001, University of Central Oklahoma

Updated by Rozilyn Miller, University of Central Oklahoma in July 2002

Mission Statement
Our goal is to educate students to be competent and responsible oral communicators able to adapt to personal, public, and professional situations in appropriate and effective ways while sending and receiving verbal and nonverbal messages.

This is not meant to be the “ultimate” curriculum resource guide – this is a living document that will evolve and change to aid teachers at multiple levels: from the first year teacher to the seasoned pro! Please send suggested revisions, additions, activities, and resources to Rozilyn Miller

University of Central Oklahoma
Department of Communication
100 N. University Drive
Edmond, OK 73034
(405) 974-5586 (office)
(405) 974-3879 (fax)
rozmiller@ucok.edu
COMMUNICATION APPREHENSION

DEFINITION: Anxiety that is experienced as the individual anticipates or engages in communication.

GOAL: By helping the student to better understand what communication apprehension is, what its causes are and understanding ways to control anxiety, the student will have a more positive experience with communication efforts.

NOTE TO THE TEACHER: It is a very common characteristic of students in communication class to express fear and apprehension toward the communication experience. Many times it is so strong that it controls the students and keeps them from accomplishing what they desire. Efforts should be made to help the students realize their own goals and make steps to control unwanted communication fear. The teacher may help the student in understanding that this fear is common and can be controlled. The intent of the unit should help the student to understand the myths about communication apprehension and realize the goals are to learn how to control and turn the communication experience into a positive one. The teacher may want to administer communication apprehension tests to help the student locate and identify their problems. Numerous tests may be found in textbooks to assist in this endeavor. Perhaps the greatest task for the teacher is to create a classroom environment that is non-threatening and thus allows the student to perform with reduced fear and/or threat. Students may overcome the greater majority of their fears when the teacher equips them with skills. Not all students will respond to skill acquisition and other students will need support in developing their own attitudes and developing self-confident. The teacher may want to acquaint the students with relaxation exercises that will help them to become more comfortable. A supportive climate enables the students to function more effectively.

As a teacher, the main way you can help your students is by establishing and maintaining a supportive, accepting, culturally sensitive, and respectful classroom environment that is void of ridicule, name-calling, belittlement, and other negative social behaviors. Also know that as the teacher, your students will also exhibit the behaviors you model in and outside of the classroom.

REMEMBER:
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, she learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be sharp.
If a child lives with shame, she learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, she learns to be confident. If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, she learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, she...
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