Finding strength in numbers: using cooperative learning to overcome communication apprehension





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The research question addressed in this capstone is, how can cooperative learning be used in the development of a skill-based public speaking curriculum to reduce Communication Apprehension (CA) in a secondary classroom? The motivation behind this capstone was to find ways to help students that typically struggle in a communication-focused course to feel comfortable and confident. The research focuses on the definition of CA, symptoms, and treatments/strategies for overcoming CA. One strategy is the use of cooperative groups the research also provides insight into the types of cooperative groups, how to structure the groups, and the training needed to make cooperative learning a success in the classroom. From the research, a curriculum was designed that incorporates two stages in the course. The first focuses on listening and interpersonal skills to develop effective cooperative groups. The second component puts the groups into action, hence reducing CA and preparing for public speaking.

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