Featured image of a young male 4-H Member competing in public speaking events with article title

Delaware 4-H Members Gain Self-Efficacy Through Public Speaking

February 26, 2024 Written by Jill Jackson, 4-H Youth Development Agent

Communication is an important part of everyone’s life.  From the time we are born, we are learning to communicate with others.  As we get older, we want to communicate effectively to make a statement and inform others. Even if a student fears public speaking, he can perform well by practicing and rehearsing quite rigorously. Public speaking if treated as a skill can be tremendously improved upon (Burgess, 2013).  When a variety of public speaking opportunities occur in a young person’s life, they become more confident speaking in front of others.  

 

Lifelong Skills

The Delaware 4-H program consistently provides programs to teach our youth leadership and communication skills as these are important life skills for every individual to learn. The goal of Delaware 4-H public speaking events are to provide members with techniques to help them improve their communication skills and feel comfortable speaking in any situation. Competitive 4-H events include the Public Speaking Contest where members are asked to develop a speech around a topic of their choice and present to an audience and judges.  Another competitive event is the Demonstration Contest where an individual or pair present a “how to” demonstration or illustrated talk on a topic of their choice.  Both events are held at the county and state levels.  Non-competitive ways members can improve their communication skills include being a club officer, giving event reports at a club meeting, leading a club activity or song, participating in interviews, and more! 

Two 4-H female members competing in public speaking event
Female 4-H member competing in public speaking event

Research Project

During the spring of 2023, University of California’s 4-H program reached out to multiple states to take part in a Public Speaking Self-Efficacy (PSSE) Research Project.  The goal was to survey 4-H members as well as non-4-H members in each state to see what impact 4-H programming has on youth public speaking skills.  Delaware 4-H surveyed seventy-one 4-H members ages 12-17 who had participated in public speaking events at the local, county and state levels.  Delaware 4-H also asked seventy non-4-H youth (ages 12-17) to complete the survey to see the positive impacts 4-H programs have on youth’s speaking skills. Based on the results of the surveys (n=141), Delaware 4-H’ers self-report significantly higher levels of public speaking self-efficacy, mastery experience, vicarious experience, and social persuasion than that of non-4-H members.  Mastery experiences are those situations where a person completes a challenging task or overcomes a difficulty.  Vicarious experiences happen when a youth sees another youth accomplish a task.  The vicarious experience of observing a model can also have a strong influence on self-efficacy.  By observing others like themselves perform tasks, individuals make judgments about their own capabilities. (Del Siegle, 2000).  Social persuasion refers to people who are persuaded by others that they can master a certain task.  PSSE (scale of 0-5) is measured using 12 Likert-scale items.

The following survey results were identified: 4-H Responses Non-4-H Responses

  • Mastery Experiences mean:  4.3 3.4

  • Vicarious Experiences mean:  4.1 3.3 

  • Social Persuasion mean:  3.9 3.1 

The conclusion provided from this survey stated that Delaware 4-H members reported a higher level of public speaking self-efficacy compared to individuals who did not participate in 4-H youth development programs.  4-H members emphasized the importance of consistent practice, gaining confidence through positive feedback, and actively seeking opportunities to engage in public speaking as helping them improve their public speaking skills. 

 


Related News

  • Trade Winds: Understanding the Shifting Landscape of Agricultural Exports

    April 19, 2024 | Written by Kofi Britwum, Assistant Professor of Farm Management and Agricultural Economics (britwum@udel.edu)
    Drought conditions experienced in Brazil in 2023 could mean a lower-than-expected soybean harvest. If you are outside mainstream agricultural production, you may rightly wonder whether this information has anything to do with you. Not directly, perhaps. But, thanks to international trade, events in other parts of the world can have a telling impact on populations thousands of miles away. In the specific case of soybean, given Brazil's recent status as the largest exporter, reduced production levels, in addition to other factors, could present an opportunity for higher prices for American soybean farmers in international markets, which is welcome news.
  • Volunteers Helping Delawareans Stay Healthy

    April 12, 2024 | Written by Gina Crist, Community Health Specialist and Health and Well-Being Program Leader
    Did you know Extension has a group of volunteers that work across the state to support health and wellness? We do! They are called Master Wellness Volunteers, and they are champions in the community for health! Each volunteer has received training and is equipped with knowledge about health equity, youth and adult partnerships, and social determinants of health. Master Wellness Volunteers serve as Walk Club Leaders, Community and School Garden Coordinators, Mindfulness and Well-being Educators and Food Educators - serving the community in a variety of ways. Leaders of walk clubs are there to support individuals looking to improve their wellness through walking while connecting with others.
  • Selecting a Drone for Crop Scouting

    April 08, 2024 | Written by Jarrod Miller, Agronomy Specialist
    After ten years the drone market has become fairly reliable, but it may still be confusing when deciding what kind of drone you may want. There are several types of drones available, with the most common being a quadcopter, which could be considered a micro-helicopter with four propellers (Figure 1a). Other options include a fixed-wing (airplane, Figure 1b), hybrid, or coaxial. A hybrid will take off like a quadcopter by flying like an airplane, helping land in tight spaces but using less battery during flight. Both fixed-wing and hybrids are better for field mapping useful in reconstructing whole fields for precision agriculture applications. For field scouting, the best option is the standard quadcopter, particularly as it can hover overtop of the field, stop at the edges, and land on the back of a truck.
View all news

Events