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Abstract

This field experiment answered the call to explore alternative pedagogies in communication by testing the use of structured peer workshops in public speaking courses. Peer workshops use systematic and structured peer feedback to assist students in improving their speeches. While strong theoretical reasons for using workshops have been advanced, and evidence from other disciplines suggest that they are effective, no research has specifically examined their use in public speaking. Results of our study show that peer workshops are a viable pedagogical option because they improve students’ speech grades, reduce public speaking anxiety, and improve perceptions of classroom climate. When comparing the use of workshops at two different universities, however, we observed inconsistent results which could be attributed to how workshops were integrated and supported.