Masters Thesis

A grounded theory of student-centered communication: developing a taxonomy of student-centered verbal messages and examining substantive student verbal responses

The central issue of creating ideal conditions for teaching and learning has been extensively examined from multiple perspectives. However, while the growing prominence of the student-centered perspective in particular has led to a considerable body of knowledge about student-centered education (i.e., pedagogy), there exists a lack of explicit knowledge about student-centered communication (i.e., interaction). To address this gap in the literature, a convenient sample of faculty members from the Communication Studies and English Departments at CSU Sacramento audio recorded one of their own class meetings. Transcripts of these recordings were analyzed in order to develop a taxonomy of the types of student-centered verbal messages teachers express in the university classroom and complimentarily to determine which message types yield substantive student verbal responses. Investigative efforts resulted in the emergence of a 4-category taxonomy of student-centered verbal messages and the tentative selection of a core category of messages that discernibly albeit rarely yielded substantive student verbal responses. Most usefully, the final analysis of this study revealed that instructors who are serious about cultivating substantive student verbal responses ought to focus on expressing verbal messages that elicit student input while simultaneously avoiding response inhibiting practices, which effectively silence students.