Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Gray, Philip A.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Communication Studies


College teachers; Communication in education; College students--Attitudes


This study investigated student perceptions of the communication skills of non-native instructors (N-NIs). The hypothesis addressed was: students in classes taught by N-NIs who differ in their initial expectations and later assessments of their success in the class will also provide differing assessments of their nonnative instructor's communication skills. An interview format was employed to obtain student descriptions of their perceptions of N-NIs. A series of interview questions were constructed to determine student perceptions of N-NI fluency skills, question response skills, and communication behavior that students perceived as compensation for nonfluent speech. Respondents were asked to rate the degree of accent and syntax nonfluency of their N-NI, and a final series of questions were designed to elicit student reports of their initial expectations and their current assessments of their class taught by an N-NI. The responses of the 54 respondents were coded into five expectation - subsequent assessment categories. Respondents in the Initial-Current Satisfaction category reported that they had no problems understanding their N-NI from the beginning of the semester, respondents placed in the Apprehensive-Current Satisfaction category found their class to be satisfactory in spite of their initial apprehensive expectations, and respondents classified in the Previous or No Expectation category reported they either had previous experience with their N-NI, or that they had formed no expectations of their potential success in their class. Respondents classified as Unintelligible-Dissatisfied reported that the nonfluency of their N-NI made their class unsatisfactory, and respondents placed in the Content-Dissatisfaction category reported that their class was unsatisfactory because of their N-NI*s choice of material. Respondent ratings of N-NI fluency were found to significantly vary among the five expectation - subsequent assessment groups, with Initial-Current Satisfaction respondents reporting the highest ratings of N-NI fluency skill, and Unintelligible-Dissatisfaction respondents the lowest ratings of N-NI fluency skill. A content examination of respondent comments also revealed a difference in respondent assessment of N-NI question response, compensation behavior, and fluency skills. It was concluded that these results supported the acceptance of the hypothesis. It was also concluded that students form initial expectations of. their success potential in a class taught by an N-NI based on their initial perceptions of the intelligibility of their N-NI, and that students may subsequently change their assessments of the class if an N-NI demonstrates other communication skills that facilitate student understanding. These skills may include presentation of visual aids, questioning strategies, and careful articulation of hard to pronounce English words.


Bibliography : pages 68-72.


72 pages




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