Spring 2018

Document Type

Master's Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Teacher Education


Middle school students are often expected to complete tasks that require public speaking without the proper practice to successfully do so. One factor that hinders students’ ability to increase public speaking skills is a lack of confidence (Shafer, 2009). To increase confidence in public speaking, teachers must provide students the opportunity to practice public speaking skills. An adapted version of the Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning (YELL) curriculum was used in this study to provide students an opportunity to practice public speaking and increase their confidence. A quasi-experimental quantitative design was used with a treatment and control group to compare students’ responses on the Self-Statements During Public Speaking Scale (SSPS; Hofmann & DiBartolo, 2000) at the beginning and end of the study. The SSPS is comprised of the SSPS-Positive (SSPS-P) and the SSPS-Negative (SSPS-N) subscales. The control group (n = 14) received traditional classroom instruction and the treatment group (n = 15) received traditional classroom instruction with the addition of the YELL curriculum implemented daily for four weeks. Independent and paired t-tests were completed to determine the difference in SSPS scores. The results suggest the implementation of the YELL curriculum increased the mean scores on the SSPS-P and decreased the mean scores on the SSPS-N; however, neither change was statistically significant. Future research should examine the use of YELL and other public speaking interventions with other populations.