Speech in teacher education
By: Burton Holmes Byers
Published: 1957
Uploaded: 10/19/2006
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Speech, Study and teaching (Higher), teachers, Training of

Speech is used by men everywhere to communicate ideas and feelings. Teachers and school administrators, whose professional competence depends on their ability to communicate ideas and feelings, use speech a great deal. A major part of the work of the classroom teacher is carried on by means of speaking and by means of listening to and evaluating the speaking of pupils. Yet graduates of teachers colleges, organized for the specific purpose of educating young men and women to teach effectively, do not use speech well. The reason for this lack is probably the failure of the colleges to develop within the teacher education curriculum a program emphasizing directly the development of speech competencies.
The purpose of this study is to identify the competencies needed by teachers in order to use speaking-listening activities effectively in the teaching-learning process, to suggest experiences which would help students to develop these competencies, and to suggest ways of providing these experiences within the pre-service curriculum for teachers. This study is not intended to deal with the problems of preparing students to be specialists in speech or in the teaching of speech, but only with the problem of devising a program which will serve the needs of all students who are preparing to teach.
It is assumed that this stated purpose can be accomplished in a single study. The statement of the purpose must therefore be interpreted broadly. ˘To identify the speaking-listening competencies needed by teachers in order to use speaking-listening activities effectively in the teaching-learning process÷ could be narrowly interpreted to mean a description in detail of all possible competencies needed by a teacher who meets pupils and talks with them, that is, by all teachers. If the purpose of the study is narrowly interpreted in this way, it might be assumed that the writer was attempting, in a single study, to provide a complete education. ˘To suggest experiences which would help students to develop these competencies÷ likewise might be narrowly interpreted to mean that the writer was attempting to outline in detail all of the day-to-day classroom activities of a pre-service college course for teachers. ˘To suggest ways of providing these experiences within the pre-service curriculum for teachers÷ might be narrowly interpreted as meaning that the writer was attempting to specify in detail workable curricula for all of the colleges which prepare teachers.
It is hoped that the reader will interpret the purpose broadly, and regard this as a pilot study of an extremely important and complex problem. It is hoped that it will suggest a general pattern for a service program of speech for all prospective teachers. It is hoped that it will direct attention to the problems of providing such a program, for in many colleges the services of speech personnel are not made readily available to students who are not intending to become teachers of speech. It is hoped that the study will direct attention to specific areas which might well be made the subjects of research and development in the field of speech education.
Clarification of Terms
Speech, as that term is used in this study, is a human accomplishment by means of which men are able to carry on purposeful communication and interaction. Speech consists of audible and visible symbols, formulated by the speaker in response to a situation. The observable speech symbols are an integral part of an infinitely complex field. Thought itself is a symbolic process, and it is difficult to divorce the thought from its expression in terms of spoken symbols. Just as the symbols used in formulating and expressing the thought bear on the clarity of the thought itself, so the nature of the thought and of the situation in which the thought is advanced bear on the symbols used in its formulation and expression. Speech is personal. It is an expression of an individual personality, and is thus related to the whole being of the speaker, as well as to the situation in which he speaks. Speech is a gestalt which is made up of thought, voice, words, bodily action, and the total personality of the speaker, all of which in turn is affected by the immediate situation.
The term teacher education, as it is used in this study, refers to the college experiences offered to students who intend to become teachers. The present study is intended to be useful in planning the pre-service program for prospective teachers in teachers colleges and also in multi-purpose colleges in which the preparation of teachers is one of the objectives of the institution.
The Point of View
The writer recognizes that because of the nature of this study, it cannot be objective as an experimental study is objective. The writerĂs point of view will be involved in ways that cannot always be explicitly stated in the writing. At least three important preconceptions can properly be recognized in the introduction.
The writerĂs concept of speech, as expressed in the definition offered above, is broad and all-inclusive. The ancient concept of an ideal orator as a good man, skilled in speaking, is not unlike the writerĂs concept of an ideal teacher as a good man, skilled in the use of speech to further the teaching-learning process. This leads the writer to recommend practices which would necessitate a degree of cooperation among teachers of the various subject matter departments which is rarely achieved. All college teachers, if their students are preparing to teach, ought to be interested in helping them to develop all of the competencies which they will need to teach effectively. This writer assumes that college teachers do have this broad interest, although it is recognized that the concept of an ideal teacher may well be that of a good man, skilled in imparting the truths of history, or of mathematics, or of psychology, or of literature. An important difference is that speech is the universal medium through which all teachers must work.
A second preconception which colors this study is drawn from the notion that individuals can best achieve their highest potential in a free or open society. The writer is an advocate of democracy, as that term is defined in the first chapter of this study, and is consequently biased in favor of educational policies and practices which seem likely to implement the goals of democracy. This bias is expressed in recommendations as to how speech ought to be taught and how it ought to be evaluated.
The third idea which affects the objectivity of this study is that judgments of the excellence of any given speech behavior should be rather more utilitarian than aesthetic. The need to make such judgments is implied whenever it is recommended that teachers ought to speak well. If one looks on speech as it is defined above, then the principal criterion for measuring the excellence of a particular sample of speech ought to be the accuracy with which the speakerĂs ideas and feelings were communicated to the listeners. With a teacher, the criterion ought to be, ˘Did the speech cause the pupils to react intellectually and emotionally so as to accomplish the desired outcomes of the experience?÷ This point of view leads to placing greater emphasis on the measurement of the effectiveness of the communication than on the measurement of the process of speaking. It does not exclude a scientific and/or aesthetic analysis of each studentĂs speech process, but leads the writer to make speech skills themselves definitely subordinate to the social product which each use of speech is intended to produce.
In the following study, the writer has endeavored to apply utilitarian standards to the many problems involved in a speech development program for all prospective teachers. The study is divided into five parts. In the first, the writer has attempted to analyze how speech is related to democracy. In the second, he has attempted to identify the speech competencies needed by teachers in the United States. In the third, he has attempted to suggest experiences calculated to help students develop the speech competencies needed by teachers. In the fourth, he has attempted to show how these experiences might be worked into a typical college curriculum. Finally, he has attempted to present specific suggestions dealing with the personnel, the equipment, and the evaluation procedures needed to put the program into effect.

Sponsor: Magdalene E. Kramer
Dissertation Committee: Florence B. Stratemeyer, Daniel R. Davies,
Degree: Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University