Unpacking Tertiary Students’ Communication Apprehension in Malaysia: Pedagogical Implications for Future Employment

By Sarjit Kaur, Raja Rozina Raja Suleiman and Gurnam Kaur Sidhu.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper presents the findings of a study of 125 tertiary students’ communication apprehension in two public universities in Malaysia. Data were collected using McCroskey’s (1982) personal report on communication apprehension (PRCA-24) which measures the students’ level of fear or anxiety associated with either real or anticipated communication with another person/s. The findings revealed that a majority of tertiary students (70.4%) recorded average levels of communication apprehension while 18.4% had high levels of communication apprehension in four separate communication contexts (public, small group, meeting and interpersonal). Many students in the focus group interviews expressed a dislike for oral communication skills in English and used communication avoidance and withdrawal as strategies representative of trait-like communication apprehension. The findings have critical implications for university curriculum and workforce readiness of local graduates.

Keywords: Tertiary Students, Communication Apprehension, Speaking Anxiety, Communication Avoidance, Higher Education

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 7, pp.223-236. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 790.328KB).

Dr. Sarjit Kaur

Programme Chairperson, English Language Studies Section, School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Georgetown, Malaysia

Sarjit Kaur is an Associate Professor and Chairperson of the English Language Studies Section at the School of Humanities and an Associate Research Fellow of Malaysia’s National Higher Education Research Institute (IPPTN) in Universiti Sains Malaysia. Widely published, her research interests include TESOL, ESP, postgraduate education and policy research in higher education.

Dr. Raja Rozina Raja Suleiman

Senior Lecturer, English Language Studies Section, School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia

Raja Rozina Raja Suleiman is a Senior Lecturer of the English Language Studies Section at the School of Humanities in Universiti Sains Malaysia. She has published in several local and international journals and her research interests include pragmatics, oral communication and teaching and learning English as a Second Language.

Prof. Dr. Gurnam Kaur Sidhu

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia

Gurnam Kaur Sidhu is a Professor at the Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia. She is currently the Head of the Post Graduate Programme for Educational Management and Leadership. With more than 30 years of experience in the field of education as a lecturer, practitioner and researcher, she sits on various education committees and is widely published. Her interests include TESL, Life Long Learning and Education Management & Leadership.

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