Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Edgar A. Kelley

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Warfield

Third Advisor

Dr. Paul Dressel


Instruction in oral communication is critical to education. Oral communication skills are needed in the development of skills in written language, math, problem solving, and reading. Oral communication skills are important in achieving academic, vocational, and personal success. On November 1, 1978, speech education was recognized as a basic skill by United States law.

The purpose of this study was to determine the oral communication instructional practices in Michigan public elementary schools grades K-5. Eight research questions were identified:

(1) Is instruction provided? (2) What is the "basis" for instruction? (3) What materials are used? (4) What is the method of delivery? (5) What is the frequency of instruction? (6) How is student achievement evaluated or graded? (7) Do teachers believe instruction should be provided? (8) What is the relative importance teachers assign to instruction?

One hundred ninety-eight teachers were selected for this study. The major findings of the study are as follows:

(1) Most teachers provide planned instruction (73%). (2) There is no formal basis for instruction (73%). (3) Material usage varied; self-developed material was most often noted (28%). (4) Instruction is integrated throughout other areas of instruction (96%). (5) Planned instruction is provided almost daily or daily (65%). (6) Few teachers write separate marks or grades on report cards (30%). Grading is determined via observation or knowledge of the student (85%). (7) Teachers believe oral communication should be taught in school (97%). (8) Teachers believe oral communication is as important as other instruction. (9) Teachers lacked conviction and/or familiarity with oral communication instruction.

Three recommendations were made in the study. School districts should: (1) adopt or develop formal oral communication curriculum, (2) provide inservice for teachers on oral communication instruction, and (3) provide formal recognition of oral communication skills.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access