Glossophobia: The Fear of Public Speaking in ESL Students in Ghana
Glossophobia, an individual’s anxiety of public speaking, has been observed to be a common phenomenon among students. The present study explores factors associated with glossophobia among ESL students of a tertiary institution in Upper-West Ghana, the Dr. Hilla Limann Technical University, Wa and makes recommendations for improvement in their public speaking skills. The study combined both quantitative and qualitative research approaches in an opinion poll involving 46 participants from the Level 300 class of the Secretaryship and Management Studies of the Business School. Participants acknowledged the importance of public speaking, but conceded that at some point in their student lives, when they had to speak in public, glossophobia prevented them from making a good impression on the audience. Speaking English before a crowd was identified as the most dreaded experience. Low self-confidence in speaking in public; lack of constant speaking experience and lack of knowledge in public speaking; fear of making mistakes and being laughed at; inadequate preparation and timidity were also identified as challenges affecting participants’ ability to speak English in public. To help students overcome that phobia, the study recommends that lecturers should adopt an interactive approach combined with the appropriate communication strategies to promote positive attitudes and create the desirable atmosphere for boosting students’ confidence. Lecturers should also organise seminars on public speaking skills and encourage regular individual oral presentation in class so students can practise to develop positive attitudes towards public speaking.
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