In a recent article in Communication Education, Curtis, Winsor, and Stephens (1989) presented the results of a study that assessed managers’ perceptions of the skills and abilities of greatest significance in the business setting. The authors concluded “It is our belief and the belief of perspective (sic) employers throughout the United States that courses such as public speaking, listening, and interpersonal communication should be included as an oral communication core in (business programs)” (p. 13). The present study seeks to expand their findings and beliefs to a secondary-education setting. Specifically, this paper presents the results of a survey study conducted using a sample of secondary principals from the state of Ohio. The primary research question was “What skills, factors, and coursework are considered of greatest importance by secondary principals as administrators involved in the hiring and evaluation of secondary teachers?” A second question was “How do principals rate communication skills and courses when considering teacher effectiveness?”

The intent of the authors was to examine the perceptions of secondary principals to determine tentative answers to these questions answers to these questions. Principles were chosen because they play a central role in the teacher-effectiveness discussion. As educational administrators, most are directly involved in applying effectiveness standards to their schools. In addition, this study attempts to provide some empirical support for the assertions and suggestions of Dewitt, et all., (1991) as they argue for an increased role for oral-communication theory and practice in education, and for Allen and Shaw (1990) who assert that communication behaviors are related to teaching effectiveness in the perceptions of supervisors of teachers.

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Copyright © 1992 Ohio Association of College Teachers of Speech. This article first appeared in Ohio Speech Journal 30 (1992), 50-61.

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