Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Michael Bertoch


Michael Bertoch


David Stone


Elwin Nielsen


Ronald Peterson


Marvin Fifield


This study was concerned with the evaluation of a communication skills works hop for elementary school teachers titled, Self-Actualizing Education sponsored by the Psychology Department at Utah State University and funded under a rural development grant from the Kellogg Foundation.

The purpose of the study was to evaluate objectives related to the interaction of students and teachers with regard to: (1) student attitudes towards teachers; (2) student misbehavior; and (3) student-teacher verbal communication. Testing was done on a control-experimental, pre-post basis. The treatment consisted of a nine week communication skills workshop, held two to three hours once per week. Twelve teachers and 531 students, grades one through six, participated in the study.

Objectives of the Study

The following objectives were formulated as an evaluational guide for the study:

  1. To determine whether or not teacher talk incorporates more Flanders Interaction Analysis System category 1, 2, and 3 responses and less category 6 and 7 responses, after teachers have completed the in-service communication skills workshop titled, Self-Actualizing Education;

  2. To determine whether or not student talk shifts from responding to initiating, after teacher participation in the communication workshop;

  3. To determine whether or not student misbehavior in the classroom decreases after the communication skills workshop;

  4. To determine whether or not student attitudes become more favorable towards their teachers after the workshop.

In order to evaluate these objectives three data gathering instruments were employed: (1) the Flanders Interaction Analysis System; (2) a student misbehavior checklist; and (3) two student attitude surveys.


From analysis of the data, the following conclusions were made regarding this study: (1) teacher talk did not incorporate more Flanders Interaction Analysis System category 1, 2, and 3 responses and less category 6 and 7 responses as a result of teachers having participated in the communication skills workshop; (2) student talk did not shift from responding to initiating after the workshop; (3) a significant decrease (p < .05) in student misbehavior after treatment did occur; and (4) student attitudes toward their teachers did not change as a result of the workshop.



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