Date of Conferral
Hubert A. Hardy, Ph. D.
The study examined the relationship of Communication Skills training to attitudes toward the self and to rate of learning. Sixty fifth-grade subjects from two public school classrooms were tested twice, before and after treatment, on the Piers-Harris Children’s Self-Concept Scale and a Paired- Associates Learning task. The latter test, administered orally and individually, consisted of ten pictures of common objects. All ten pairs were shown to each subject after which only the first picture of each pair was presented and the subject was asked to recall its picture-associate. The Piers-Harris scale entitled, "The Way I Feel About Myself," a self report instrument, was administered in group form. Fifteen subjects from each classroom were randomly assigned to the treatment group. The remaining thirty subjects became the control group. The subjects in the treatment group were randomly subdivided into six sections of five each (stratified by sex). Each section was arbitrarily assigned one male and one female group leader. The treatment (Communication Skills training) was given in fifteen forty-minute -periods on consecutive school days. It consisted of planned experiential lessons designed to give the subjects opportunities to deal with their concerns in small groups in an environment where a therapeutic relationship could be experienced. The subjects in the control group remained in their own classrooms during the treatment period and were expected to do their usual class work. Three null hypotheses were tested: (1) that fifth grade subjects who have participated in Co1!ll!lunication Skills training will not require significantly fewer trials to meet the criterion of mastery in a Paired-Associates Learning task than subjects who were in a Control group, (2) that fifth grade subjects who have participated in Communication Skills training will not make significantly fewer errors in meeting the criterion of mastery in a Paired-Associates Learning task than subjects who were in a Control group, ( 3) that fifth grade subjects who have participated in Communication Skills training will not report significantly higher scores on the Piers-Harris self-concept scale than subjects who were in a Control group. Hypotheses one and two were accepted. 1-Hypothesis three was rejected at the .001 1evel of' confidence. It was concluded that increased positive acceptance of self in the fifth-grade subjects was significantly related to Communication Skills training. Control group data affirmed that changes in self-concept did not occur within the environment created by conventional teaching methods. While the differences between groups on the learning task were not significant, they were in the predicted direction, when post-treatment scores were compared to pre-treatment scores. Further research, with a 1onger treatment period, may show a more significant relationship between Communication Skills training and Paired Associates Learning.