Instructor Disclosures of Communication Apprehension and Student Perceptions of Instructor Credibility in the Public Speaking Classroom

Andrea Meluch
Indiana University South Bend

Shawn Starcher
Kent State University

Katie Feehan
Indiana University South Bend

The purpose of this study was to examine whether instructor disclosures of personal communication apprehension in the public speaking classroom are beneficial to students as they manage their own nervousness related to public speaking. Participants (N = 233) in the present study included students enrolled in public speaking courses at a medium-sized Midwestern university. Results indicated that participants rated instructors who disclosed personal experiences of communication apprehension to their classes as more competent than instructors who did not disclose this information. In addition, participants’ open-ended responses suggested that students perceive supportive instructors who share their personal experiences of communication apprehension with their students to be an important resource to students as they work on overcoming their fears related to public speaking. The implications of these findings in the public speaking classroom, other higher education classrooms, and in relation to general instructor disclosures are discussed.

Copyright © 2019, International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education