Degree Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Anna Farrell

Second Advisor

Laura Wangsness Willemsen

Third Advisor

Juliette Rogers


Oral communication anxiety (OCA) is a challenge for many college students studying a foreign language. This phenomenon has yielded many studies explaining OCA exists, relating it to personality traits and concluding educators play a large role in either reducing or aggravating such anxieties. However, research is lacking in the role professor-student rapport and connections play in affecting OCA. Thus, the purpose of this qualitative study was to seek student perception on (through their worldviews), and recommendations for, professor teaching practices as it relates to anxiety and rapport-building. The participants are and were students of French in an undergraduate private liberal arts college in the Midwest region of the United States. Some of the findings referring to teaching practices were expected while other findings were surprising. For example, the very people who should reduce anxiety (professors) were sometimes the ones who aggravated it unknowingly. The recommendations participants shared were also unpredictable, surprising, and unexpected especially as they pertained to professor-student rapport outside of the classroom. Among recommendations were that professors make the academic environment as relaxed and welcoming as possible. Teaching practices, such as focusing on small group or pair activities were valued for their relatively low impact on oral communication anxiety and students recommended professors focus on these types of activities. Rapport building outside of the classroom was not deemed as important to students who experienced oral communication anxieties and no suggestions were made to improve it. The participants were concerned about the rapport inside of the classroom and professor pedagogical approaches.