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The Impact of Psycho-pedagogical Traini ng on Communicative Competence

Article in Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences · June 2015

DO I: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.04.723

2 36

3 authors:

M aria-M onic a Popesc u- M itroi L ili ana L uminita Todoresc u

Polytec hnic Uni versi ty of Timisoara Polytec hnic Uni versi ty of Timisoara


Anc a G rec ulesc u

Polytec hnic Uni versi ty of Buc harest


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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 191 (2015) 2443 – 2447

WCES 2014

The Impact of Psycho-Pedagogical Training on Communicative


a b c
Maria-Monica Popescu-Mitroi *, Liliana-Luminita Todorescu , Anca Greculescu

Department for Teaching Training, "Politehnica” University of Timisoara, Petre Râmneanțu, no. 2, Timisoara, 300596, Romania
Department for Teaching Training, "Politehnica” University of Timisoara, Petre Râmneanțu, no. 2, Timisoara, 300596, Romania
Department of Communication in Foreign Languages, University Politehnica of Bucharest, Splaiul Independentei, no. 313, Bucharest 050107,


Communicative competence is a prerequisite for academic and professional success. Hence, communicative competence (self-
assessment based on CCS - Communicative Competence Scale - Wiemann. J.M) becomes compulsory for students who will
assist in further research on the subject. The present research is a comparative longitudinal study, performed on 40 engineering
students (2 groups), studying Computer Science, Electronics and Telecommunications, in their first and third years who followed
a psycho-pedagogical training program (30 ECTS), additional to the "must take" subjects and on 40 students (2 groups, studying
at the same faculty) in their first and third years who did not follow this particular training program. The research aims at
identifying the extent to which communicative competence modifies due to the Psycho-pedagogical training program and its
impact on the engineering students.
©© 2015
The Authors. Published
by Elsevier Ltd. by Elsevier
This Ltd.access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
is an open
http://creatand peer-review
ivecommons.o under responsibility of the Organizing Committee of WCES 2014.
Selection and peer-review under responsibility of the Organizing Committee of WCES 2014
Keywords: communicative competence, teacher, student, psycho-pedagogical training

1. Introduction

The didactic process, understood as a teaching-learning-evaluation process that unfolds in a compulsory,

organized, systemic and planned way, is by far a communication process between the teacher and the learner.

* Maria-Monica Popescu-Mitroi. Tel.: +0-40-723-461912

E-mail address:

1877-0428 © 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
Selection and peer-review under responsibility of the Organizing Committee of WCES 2014
140 Maria-Monica Popescu-Mitroi et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 191 (2015) 2443 –
Communication represents the main instructive and formative educational means and its quality goes hand in hand
with the quality of the communication processes.
The concept of communicative competence may be interpreted from at least two perspectives:
x Linguistically: greatly based on the ability to communicate efficiently in a certain language;
x Psycho-socially: unveiling the ability of the members of a particular community to establish rapport
with one another and manipulate their interlocutors so as to achieve their personal objectives.
The question to be posed is what communicative competence means after all? Communicative competence
represents a construct hard to be made operational since it includes such aspects as behaviour, t heoretical
assumptions, context appropriacy or goal achievement. The conceptualization of communicative competence differs
from one author to another according to literature reviews. Hence, for De Vito (1988, р. 6), communicative
competence refers to „one’s own knowledge of various social communicative aspects”. For a better understanding of
the concept, the author makes an useful comparison: we acquire communicative competence the same way we learn
how to use the fork and the knife: looking at others, through explicitely given instructions, by trail and error etc.
More conceptualizations of the communicative competence tackle the ability to display context appropriate
communicative attitudes (Spitzberg,1987, p. 32). Hymens (et al. 1994, p. 175) argues that communicative
competence is a set of skills, basic resources that a communicator is capable of use in communication; these
resources includ strategic knowledge (about adequate communication norms and rules) and skills (characteristics
and abilities such as coding and decoding). According to Grigorovita (1995), communicative competences are
closely linked to personal relationships, their knowledge in the field and awareness of interdependencies. Hence,
communicative competence can be acquired and demonstrated in a given social context. In line with this assumption,
the academic study programs may or may not provide students with sufficient contexts to develop communicative
competences. Students, irrespective of their field of study, require teachers capable of developing such a competence
and help them practice various communication ways in different real life contexts. So much so that researches reveal
that communicative competence proves the students’ professional performance and succes (Harvey, 1999).
Regarding communicative abilities, the teacher’s mastery and talent depend on his/her capacity to „produce” an
active interlocutor, versed in the „art of conversation” and capable of making conversation by himself/herself. It is
not enough for the pupil/student to learn to speak nicely and accurately, to write correctly and coherently rather
he/she must learn how to keep a conversation going, elaborate texts and arouse the interlocutor’s interest (Ezechil,
2002, p. 111). As a consequence, higher education systems must focus more on communicative competence and its
contribution to the designing of the curriculum (syllabus, study program) as well as on the teaching-learning-
evaluation process. Therefore, our research deals with communicative competence and its possible changes
(throughout two academic years) in the case of students attending technical training programs in comparison with
students also attending a psyco-pedagogical training program.

2. Methodology

Throughout the academic year 2011/2012 we administered the CCS questionnaire (Scale of Communication
Competence Wiemann, 1977) that addresses the communicative competence analyzed by means of self-assessment.
The target group was made of students in their first academic year, studying at the Faculty of AC, ETC and ET
(Computer Science, Electronics and Telecommunications) from the University „Politehnica” of Timisoara. The CCS
scale (Scale of Communication Competence Wiemann, 1977) includes various communicative aspects: listening,
extroversion, beginning, understanding, effectiveness, flexibility and empathy and it was used to identify the
students’ communicative competence through self-assessment. Some students opted and participated in the Psyco-
pedagogical training program – Level I at the same time with their studies in the field. Their major studies are in line
with a technical curriculum that, throughout the first two years, includes the study of Foreign Languages (1 year),
Culture and Civilization (1 semester), Professional Communication (1 semester). The psyco-pedagogical training
program consists of a curriculum that facilitates the development of the communicative competence essential for the
students’ graduation process, teachers-to-be in pre-university education system. After 2 years, at the beginning of
the third academic year, we administered the CCS once more to the same target group, so that we could select a total
of 80 students, 40 students for each educational program. The gender classification is as follows: male 48 (60%),
female 32 (40%), and for the two educational programs: 25 boys (31.25%)/technical, 23 boys (28.75%)/educational,
Maria-Monica Popescu-Mitroi et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 191 (2015) 2443 – 141

15 girls (18.75%)/technical, 17 girls (21.25%)/educational. Designed as a longitudinal study, we checked for

possible significant differences in former communicative competence between the two target groups. By comparing
the statistical means, (Mean 117.10, standard deviation 11.987 for the technical program and Mean 117.40 for
standard deviation 11.558, respectively, for the educational training program), we have noticed an insignificant
difference (t=0.114 insignificant for p=0.981). Hence, the research hypothesis was formulated based on the
assumption that “there is a significant difference in communicative competence between students studying technical
programs and students studying a psycho-pedagogical training program at the same time”.

3. Findings and Results

The research data were obtained by statistical means (SPSS18). The communicative competence was analyzed
according to: differences of statistical means for paired samples (former and latter competence for the same target
group) and differences of statistical means for independent samples (final competence for the target groups). For
each technical training program, we calculated the t Test for the paired samples. A key obsevation is that
communicative competence, regardless of the study program undetaken, takes time to develop, as shown by the
significant statistical difference between former and final self-assessment for both study programs (t=13.91
significant, p=0.000 for the technical study program and t=13.59, significant p=0.000 for the educational study

Table 1. Significant Mean differences in communicative competence for students attending both study programs

Paired Samples Test Mean/Average Std.Dev. Significance

Technical Programe CCS1 117.10 11.987 t=13.91
CCS2 130.58 13.255 significantly, p=0.000
Educational Programe CCS1 117.40 11.558 t=13.59
CCS2 143.93 12.727 significantly
Independent Samples test Mean Std.Dev. Significance
Technical Programme CCS2 130.58 13.225 t=4.59
Educational Programme CCS2 143.93 12.724 significantly

One conclusion is that the technical program provides students with sufficient opportunities to develop their
communicative competence in time. Moreover, the participants in the educational training program benefited, at the
same time, from the technical study program. Therefore, we compared the statistical means for the two different
samples (the two study programs) concerning the final communicative competence (CCS2). The t Test for
independent samples t=4.59 proves significant for p=0.001, and thus we can infer that students who followed both
programs achieved a higher level of performance of communiative competence. This is good news since the CCS
scale (Scale of Communication Competence Wiemann, 1977) is made up of various aspects of communication:
listening, extroversion, beginning, understanding, flexibility and empathy, prerequisites for the future teacher,
graduate of the educational study program. With regard to teachers’ communicative competence, the literature
reviews (Shaunessy, 2009; Cooper, 1997; Kearney, 1985; Bruschke, 1991) have emphasized the teacher’s ability to
put across accurate messages, to listen to and give feedback. Yuksel-Sahin (2008) considers empathy, active
listening, feedback and self-disclosure as efficient communication features within any educational context as all this
leads to high satisfaction of the student-teacher relationship, trust and learning motivation.
142 Maria-Monica Popescu-Mitroi et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 191 (2015) 2443 –
Maria-Monica Popescu-Mitroi et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 191 (2015) 2443 – 143
2447 160
143. 93
117. 4
130. 58
120 117. 1
Tehnic al
60 E duc ational
20 E duc ational
Tehnic al

Figure 1. Progress in time in communicative competence (former and latter) for students attending both study programs

Regarding the possible difference between the two genders in communicative competence the research has
revealed no significant statistical differences. As far as the final communicative competence is concerned CCS2 for
both study programs, a key observation is the statistical means that indicate high values for boys studying the
technical program and high values for the girls studying the educational program. These values may imply that boys
participating in technical program may benefit more from class communication (asking questions, swapping
opinions, debating) and they are more engaged in communication than girls. Furthermore, active students prove a
more developed communicative competence both inside and outside the classroom (Canary and MacGregor, 2008).

Table 2. Significant statistical means in communicative competence for both genders and study programs

Independent Samples test CC2 Mean Std.Dev. Significance

Technical Programe Female (15) 129.33 15.678 t=4.089
Educational Programe Female (17) 148.65 10.874

Technical Programe Male (25) 131.32 11.791 t= 2.677

Educational Programe Male (23) 140.43 13.083 p= 0.010

In addition, significant differences have been obtained between the final communicative competence for boys in
different study programs t= 2.677, significant for p= 0.010, as well as for girls t=4.089, significant for p=0.00, in
favor of those who attended the educational study program. Hence, the educational study program seems to foster
the communicative competence for both boys and girls.

4. Conclusions

The present research deems it fit to highlight the fact that the more a person is exposed to social situations, the
higher the level of communicative competence. The development of this competence for students in the psycho-
pedagogical training program (at the same time with the technical study program) is greatly and more sucessfully
achieved than in the case of students who followed only the technical program (for both gender categories). The
results are encouraging since a good communicative competence is vital for future teachers. Likewise, greater
interest should be shown in designing the curriculum for the higher educational system, mainly in carrying out the
didactic process so that communicative competence should be develop for both gender categories.

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