Volume 12 Issue 2 (2023)

The Impact of an Effective Communication Course with Enhanced Student Engagement on Communication Skills and Empathic Tendency of Preservice Teachers

pp. 33-58  |  Published Online: May 2023  |  DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2023.122.3

Özge Ceren Çelik, Gülgün Alpan


Background/purpose – The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of an Effective Communication course with enhanced student engagement on preservice teachers’ communication skills and empathic tendency levels.

Materials/methods – The study adopted a mixed-methods design where the one-group pretest–posttest design was used.

Results – It was found that the Effective Communication course with enhanced student engagement had a significant impact on the empathic tendency levels of preservice teachers, albeit with a small effect size. However, the impact of the course on communication skills was not statistically significant. The preservice teachers found the course efficient in contributing to their theoretical knowledge about communication and improving their attitudes and basic skills.

Conclusion – It was concluded that enhancing student engagement through an Effective Communication course had a limited contribution in optimizing the communication skills and empathic tendency levels of future teachers.

Keywords: preservice teacher education, mixed methods, student engagement, communication


Ahmetoğlu, E., & Acar, I. H. (2016). The correlates of Turkish preschool preservice teachers’ social competence, empathy and communication skills. European Journal of Contemporary Education, 16(2), 188-197. https://doi.org/10.13187/ejced.2016.16.188

Al-Musalli, A. (2019). Rethinking business communication skills education: Are communication courses preparing students for the workplace? College Quarterly, 22(2). https://collegequarterly.ca/2019-vol22-num02-spring/rethinking-business-communication-skills-education.html

Anderson, J. F., Norton, R. W., & Nussbaum, J. F. (1981). Three investigations exploring relationships between perceived teacher communication behaviors and student learning. Communication Education, 30, 377-392. https://doi.org/10.1080/03634528109378493

Appleton, J. J., Christenson, S. L., Kim, D., & Reschly, A. L. (2006). Measuring cognitive and psychological engagement: Validation of the student engagement instrument. Journal of School Psychology, 44(5), 427-445. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2006.04.002

Arghode V., Yalvac, B., & Liew, J. (2013). Teacher empathy and science education: A collective case study. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 9(2), 89-99. https://doi.org/10.12973/eurasia.2013.921a

Arslan E., Erbay F., & Saygın, Y. (2010). An investigation about the effect of communication skills education integrated with creative drama on students of departments of child development and education. The Journal of the Institute of Social Sciences 23, 1-8. https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/susbed/issue/61800/924420

Astin, A. W. (1999). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Development, 40(5), 518-529. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1999-01418-006

Ateş B., & Sağar M. E. (2022). The predictive role of psychological flexibility, self-efficacy and communication skills on life satisfaction in teacher candidates. Cumhuriyet International Journal of Education, 11(1), 219-227. https://doi.org/10.30703/cije.1007362

Axelson, R. D., & Flick, A. (2010). Defining student engagement. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 43, 38-43. https://doi.org/10.1080/00091383.2011.533096

Barr, J. J. (2010). The relationship between teachers’ empathy and perceptions of school culture. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 113-143. https://doi.org/10.1080/03055698.2010.506342

Baykara-Pehlivan, K. (2005). A study on perception of communication skills of preservice teachers. Elementary Education Online, 4(2), 17-23. https://ilkogretim-online.org/index.php?mno=121185

Bender, Y. (2005). The tactful teacher: Effective communication with parents, colleagues, and administrators. Nomad Press.

Beyaz, Ö. (2016). Evaluation of empathic tendency and empathic skill levels of pre-service teachers who study in Physical Education and Sports Department: The case of Anadolu University (Unpublished master’s thesis). Anadolu University, Eskişehir.

Beyaz, Ö. (2022). Examining preservice teachers’ communication skills in terms of different variables [Master’s thesis, Gaziantep University, Turkey]. https://www.proquest.com/openview/c97a281276222123df8ba8cb8c453af9/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=2026366&diss=y

Biçer, B., & Başer, E. (2019). Examining predictive role of preservice teachers’ empathic tendency on social entrepreneurship characteristics and factors affecting empathic tendencies and social entrepreneurship characteristics. Anemon Journal of Social Sciences of Mus Alparslan University, 7(5), 235-243. http://dx.doi.org/10.18506/anemon.520986

Bouton, B. (2016). Empathy research and teacher preparation: Benefits and obstacles. Southeastern Regional Association of Teacher Educators Journal, 25(2), 16-25. https://www.srate.org/JournalEditions/Volume25-2/Bouton.pdf

Boyer, W. (2010). Empathy development in teacher candidates. Early Childhood Education Journal, 38, 313-321. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10643-010-0419-8

Burak, S., & Durak, S. T.(2021). Media literacy and communication skills of pre-school pre-service teachers. The Journal of International Education Science, 28(8), 102-136. http://dx.doi.org/10.29228/INESJOURNAL.52145

Calloway-Thomas, C. (2010). Empathy in the global world: An intercultural perspective. Sage.

Carey, P. (2013). Student engagement: Stakeholder perspectives on course representation in university governance. Studies in Higher Education, 38(9), 1290-1304. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2011.621022

Cheraghi, F., Hooshangian, M., Doosti-Irani, A., & Khalili, A. (2021). The effect of peer support approach on communication skills of nursing students in pediatric clinical setting. Nurse Education in Practice, 52, Article 102984. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2021.102984

Cochran, L. M., & Parker Peters, M. (2023). Mindful preparation: An exploration of the effects of mindfulness and SEL training on pre-service teacher efficacy and empathy. Teaching and Teacher Education, 123, Article 103986. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2022.103986.

Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. Erlbaum.

Collie, R. J. (2017). Teachers’ social and emotional competence: Links with social and emotional learning and positive workplace outcomes. In E. Frydenberg., A. J. Martin., & R. J. Collie (Eds.), Social and emotional learning in Australia and the Asia Pacific (pp. 167-184). Springer. https://doi:10.1007/978-981-10-3394-0

Covey, S. R. (2020). The 7 habits of highly effective people. Simon & Schuster.

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage.

Cüceloğlu, D. (2002). Yeniden insan insana [Person to Person Again] (27th ed.). Remzi Kitabevi.

Çalışkan, N., & Ayık, A. (2015). Parent-teacher association (PTA) and communication with parents. Ahi Evran University Institute of Social Sciences Journal Institute, 1(2), 69-82. https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/aeusbed/issue/1446/17439

Çuhadar, C., Özgür, H., Akgün, F., & Gündüz, Ş. (2014). Teacher candidates’ communication skills and communicator styles. Ahi Evran University Journal of Kırşehir Education Faculty, 15(1), 295-311. https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/kefad/issue/59467/854536

Demetriou, H., & Nicholl, B. (2021). Empathy is the mother of invention: Emotion and cognition for creativity in the classroom. Improving Schools, 25(1), 4-21. https://doi.org/10.1177/1365480221989500

Deniz, K. (2015). Expectations of Turkish teacher candidates about the effective communication course. Journal of Mother Tongue Education, 3(2), 63-80. https://doi.org/10.16916/aded.55185

Derrick, E. J. (2006). Tools for student engagement that facilitate development of communication skills. In K. Elleithy, T. Sobh, A. Mahmood, M. Iskander, & M. Karim, (Eds.), Advances in Computer, Information, and Systems Sciences, and Engineering, (pp. 481-484). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-5261-8_74

Dökmen, Ü. (1988). Empatinin yeni bir modele dayanilarak ölçülmesi ve psikodrama ile geliştirilmesi [A new measurement model of the empathy and developing empathy by using psychodrama]. Ankara University Journal of Faculty of Educational Sciences, 21(1-2), 155-190. https://doi.org/10.1501/Egifak_0000000999

Dökmen, Ü. (2002). İletişim çatışmaları ve empati [Communication conflicts and empathy]. Sistem.

Eisenberg, N., Shea, C. L., Carlo, G., & Knight, G. (1991). Empathy-related responding and cognition: A chicken and the egg dilemma. In W. Kurtines & J. Gewirtz (Eds.), Handbook of moral behavior and development research (pp. 63-68). Erlbaum.

Ekinci, Ö., & Aybek, B. (2010). Analysis of the empathy and the critical thinking disposition of the teacher candidates. Elementary Education Online, 9(2), 816-827. https://www.ilkogretim-online.org/index.php?fulltxt=122959&fulltxtj=218&fulltxtp=218-1596894999.pdf

Elkatmış, M. (2015). The effect of effective communication courses with written and spoken expression on communication skills of pre-service teachers. Elementary Education Online, 14(4), 1341-1351. https://doi.org/10.17051/io.2015.58970

Engin, G., & Genç, S. Z. (2015). The empathic tendency of pre-service primary school teachers (The sample of Çanakkale 18 Mart University). International Journal of Language Academy, 3(2), 116-123. http://dx.doi.org/10.18033/ijla.217

Fadel, C., Bialik, M., & Trilling, B. (2015). Four dimension education. The competence learner need to succeed. The Center for Curriculum Redesign.

Feshbach, N. D., & Feshbach, S. (2009). Empathy and education. In J. Decety & W. Ickes (Eds.), The social neuroscience of empathy (pp. 85-98). MIT Press.

Field, A. (2009). Discovering statistics using SPSS. Sage.

Fraenkel, J. K., & Wallen, N. E. (2003). How to design and evaluate research in education (5th ed.). McGraw-Hill.

Gartmeier, M., Bauer, J., Fischer, M. R., Hoppe-Seyler, T., Karsten, G., Kiessling, C., Möller, G. E., Wiesbeck, A., & Prenzel, M. (2015). Fostering professional communication skills of future physicians and teachers: effects of e-learning with video cases and role-play. Instructional Science, 43(4), 443-462. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11251-014-9341-6

Gelişli, Y. (2019). Eğitim, öğretim, öğrenme ve değerlendirme sürecinde etik ilkeler [Ethical principles in education, instruction, learning and evaluation process]. In B. Oral, A. Çoban, & M. Bars (Eds.), Eğitimde ahlak ve etik [Morals and ethics in education] (pp. 91-120). Pegem Academy.

Gezer, M. (2021). Örneklem seçimi ve örnekleme yöntemleri [Sample selection and sampling methods]. In B. Çetin, M. İlhan, & M. G. Şahin (Eds.), Eğitimde araştırma yöntemleri [Research methods in education] (pp. 102-132). Pegem.

Griffin, E. (2006). A first look at communication theory. McGraw-Hill.

Groccia, J. E. (2018). What is student engagement? New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 154, 11-20. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tl.20287

Günönü-Kurt, S. (2019). The relationship between primary school teacher candidates’ communication skills and empathetic tendency levels [Master’s thesis, Pamukkale University, Denizli, Turkey]. https://search.trdizin.gov.tr/tr/yayin/detay/375532/

Hair, J., Black, W., Babin, B., & Anderson, R. (2010). Multivariate data analysis (7th ed.). Prentice-Hall.

Hardee, J. T. (2003). An overview of empathy. The Permanente Journal, 7(4), 51-54. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/03-072

Hoffman, M. L. (2000). Empathy and moral development: Implications for caring and justice. Cambridge University Press.

Huang, H., Liu, Y., & Su, Y. (2020). What is the relationship between empathy and mental health in preschool teachers: The role of teaching experience. Frontiers in Psychology, 11(1366). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01366

Hunt, S., Simonds, C., & Cooper, P. (2002). Communication and teacher education: Exploring a communication course for all teachers. Communication Education, 51(1), 81-94. https://doi.org/10.1080/03634520216497

Jennings, P. A. (2011). Promoting teachers’ social and emotional competencies to support performance and reduce burnout. In A. Cohan & A. Honigsfeld (Eds.), Breaking the mold of preservice and inservice teacher education: Innovative and successful practices for the 21st century (pp. 133-143). Rowman & Littlefield.

Jennings, P. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2009). The prosocial classroom: Teacher social and emotional competence in relation to student and classroom outcomes. Review of Educational Research, 79, 491-525. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654308325693

Johnson, M. B. (1999). Communication in the classroom. Guides Non-Classroom (055) Opinion Papers (120). https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED436802

Kahu, E. R. (2013). Framing student engagement in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 38(5), 758-773. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2011.598505

Karahan, T. F., Sardoğan, M. E., Güven, M. Ç., Özkamalı, E., & Dicle, A. N. (2006). İnsan ilişkileri ve iletişim dersi’nin öğretmen adaylarının çatışma çözme ve empatik beceri düzeylerine etkisi [The Effect of Human Relations and Communication Course on the Conflict Resolution and Empathic Skill Levels of Prospective Teachers]. Eurasian Journal of Education Research, 23, 127-136. https://ejer.com.tr/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/ejer_2006_issue_23.pdf

Kiema-Junes, H., Hintsanen, M., Soini, H., & Pyhältö, K. (2020). The role of social skills in burnout and engagement among university students. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 18(50), 77-100. https://doi.org/10.25115/ejrep.v18i50.2728

Korkut, F. (1996). İletişim becerilerini değerlendirme ölçeğinin geliştirilmesi: Güvenirlik ve geçerlik çalışmaları [Development of a communication skills assessment scale: Reliability and validity study]. Psikolojik Danışma ve Rehberlik Dergisi, 2, 18-23.

Kuh, G. D. (2003). What we’re learning about student engagement from NSSE. Change 35(2), 24-32. https://doi.org/10.1080/00091380309604090

Kuh, G. D. (2009). The national survey of student engagement: Conceptual and empirical foundations. New Directions for Institutional Research, 141, 5-20. https://doi.org/10.1002/ir.283

Kuh, G., Cruce, T., Shoup, R., Kinzie, J., & Gonyea, R. (2008). Unmasking the effects of student engagement on first-year college grades and persistence. The Journal of Higher Education, 79(5), 540-563. https://doi.org/10.1080/00221546.2008.11772116

Kula, S. S., & Akbulut, O. F. (2020). The relationship between pre-service teachers’ sensitivity to violence against children and empathic tendencies. Trakya Journal of Education, 10(3), 917-932. https://doi.org/10.24315/tred.658597

Kurenkova, R., & Shkineva M. (2008). Communication in the teacher training university. In A. T. Tymieniecka (Ed.), Education in human creative existential planning. Analecta Husserliana (The yearbook of phenomenological research) (pp. 419-421). Springer.

Kuzu, T. S. (2003). Eğitim-öğretim ortamında etkili sözel iletişim [Effective verbal communication in the educational environment]. Milli Eğitim Dergisi, 158, 14-24. http://dhgm.meb.gov.tr/yayimlar/dergiler/milli_egitim_dergisi/158/kuzu.htm

Levine, D. (2005). Teaching empathy: A blueprint for caring, compassion, and community. Solution Tree.

Mallik, B. (2023). Teacher-student relationship and its influence on college student engagement and academic achievement. Anatolian Journal of Education, 8(1), 93-112. https://doi.org/10.29333/aje.2023.817a

McClenney, K., Marti, C. N., & Adkins, C. (2012). Student engagement and student outcomes: Key findings from CCSSE validation research. Community College Survey of Student Engagement.

McCroskey, C. J., Richmond, P. V., & Bennett, E. V. (2006). The relationships of student end-of-class motivation with teacher communication behaviors and instructional outcomes. Communication Education, 55(4), 403-414. https://doi.org/10.1080/03634520600702562

Mersin, S. (2017). The views of students regarding the communication lesson. Sağlık Akademisyenleri Dergisi, 4(4), 249-252. https://dergipark.org.tr/tr/pub/sagakaderg/issue/46723/585991

Meyers, S., Rowell, K., Wells, M., & Smith, B. C. (2019). Teacher empathy: A model of empathy for teaching for student success. College Teaching, 67(3), 160-168. https://doi.org/10.1080/87567555.2019.1579699

Miller, P. W. (1988). Nonverbal communication: what research says to the teacher. National Educational Association.

Morgan, G. A., Leech, N. L., Gloeckner, G. W., & Barrett, K. C. (2004). SPSS for introductory statistics: Use and interpretation. Erlbaum.

Morgan, L. Close, S., Siller, M., Kushner, E., & Brasher, S. (2022). Teachers’ experiences: social emotional engagement – knowledge and skills. Educational Research, 64(1), 41-59. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131881.2021.1988865

Morreale, S. P., & Pearson, J. C. (2008). Why communication education is important: The centrality of the discipline in the 21st century. Communication Education, 57, 224-240. https://doi.org/10.1080/03634520701861713

Moura, D., Costa, M. J., Pereira, A. T., Macedo, A., & Figueiredo-Braga, M. (2021). Communication skills preparedness for practice: Is there a key ingredient in undergraduate curricula design? Patient Education and Counseling, 105(3), 756-761. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2021.06.034

Muste, D. (2016). The role of communication skills in teaching process. The European Proceedings of Behavioral and Social Sciences EpSBS, 18, 430-434. https://www.futureacademy.org.uk/files/images/upload/ERD2016FA052F.pdf

Ocak, G., & Erşen, Z. B. (2015). Examination of perception of preservice teachers on communication skills. Mehmet Akif Ersoy University Journal of Education Faculty, 33, 1-19. https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/maeuefd/issue/19406/206288

Okoli, A. C. (2017). Relating communication competence to teaching effectiveness: Implication for teacher education. Journal of Education and Practice, 8(3), 150-154. https://iiste.org/Journals/index.php/JEP/article/view/35109

Özgökman, Ş. (2019). Investigation of the relationship between present teachers’ communication skills and empathetical trends (Afyonkarahisar sample) [Master’s thesis, Afyon Kocatepe University, Turkey]. http://www.acikerisim.aku.edu.tr/xmlui/handle/11630/7182

Özyürek, H. (2012). Qualifications required for accountants. Hukuk ve İktisat Araştırmaları Dergisi, 4(1), 139-148. https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/hiad/issue/7651/100152

Pala, A. (2008). A research on the levels of empathy of prospective teachers. Pamukkale University Journal of Education, 23(1), 13-23. https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/pauefd/issue/11120/132986

Pennington, R. C., Walker, V. L., & Tapp, M. C. (2020). Teacher preparation in communication instruction for students with extensive support needs. Teacher Education and Special Education, 44(3), 239-254. https://doi.org/10.1177/0888406420978606

Reeve, J. (2012). A self-determination theory perspective on student engagement. In S. L. Christenson, A. L. Reschly, & C. Wylie (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 149-172). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-2018-7_7

Riemer, M. J. (2007). Communication skills for the 21st century engineer. Global Journal of Engineering Education, 11(1), 89-100. http://www.wiete.com.au/journals/GJEE/Publish/vol11no1/Riemer.pdf

Saunders, S., & Mills, M. A. (1999, November 29 – December 2). The knowledge of communication skills of secondary graduate student teachers and their understanding of the relationship between communication skills and teaching [Conference presentation]. NZARE/AARE Conference, Melbourne.

Schnitzler, K., Holzberger, D., & Seidel, T. (2021). All better than being disengaged: Student engagement patterns and their relations to academic self-concept and achievement. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 36, 627-652. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10212-020-00500-6

Schonert-Reichl, K. A (2017). Social and emotional learning and teachers. The Future of Children, 27(1), 137-155. https://doi.org/10.1353/foc.2017.0007

Sezen-Balçıkanlı, G. (2009). Fair play and empathy: A research study with student teachers. Journal of US-China Public Administration, 6(4), 79-84. https://doi.org/10.17265/1548-6591/2009.04.010

Taşpınar, M. (2017). Sosyal bilimlerde SPSS uygulamalı nicel veri analizi [Quantitative data analysis with SPSS in social sciences]. Pegem.

Tettegah, S., & Anderson, C. J. (2007). Pre-service teachers’ empathy and cognitions: Statistical analysis of text data by graphical models. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 32(1), 48-82. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2006.10.010

Trowler, V. (2010). Students engagement literature review. The Higher Education Academy.

Üstün, B. (2005). Because communication has more changed. Journal of Anatolia Nursing and Health Sciences, 8(2), 88-94. https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/ataunihem/issue/2630/33836

Vuori, J. (2014). Student engagement: buzzword of fuzzword? Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 36(5), 509-519. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360080X.2014.936094

Wang, M. T., & Hofkens, T. L. (2020). Beyond classroom academics: a school-wide and multi-contextual perspective on student engagement in school. Adolescent Research Review, 5, 419-433. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40894-019-00115-z

Warren, C. A. (2018). Empathy, teacher dispositions, and preparation for culturally responsive pedagogy. Journal of Teacher Education 69(2), 169-183. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022487117712487

Waxman, H. C. (1983). Effect of teachers’ empathy on students’ motivation. Psychological Reports, 53(2), 489-490. https://doi.org/10.2466/pr0.1983.53.2.489

Wilson, A. (2020). A study of empathy and teacher self-efficacy among preservice early childhood educators [Master’s thesis, East Tennessee State University]. https://www.proquest.com/openview/25438a5311fa52525e24f564c25a99af/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y

Yarar-Kaptan, S., & Oğuz, A. (2011, September 8-10). Etkili iletişim dersinin sınıf öğretmeni adaylarının iletişim becerilerine etkisi [The effect of effective communication course on communication skills of primary school preservice teacher]. [Conference presentation]. 20th Ulusal Eğitim Bilimleri Kurultayı, Mehmet Akif Ersoy University, Burdur, Turkey.

Yaşar, M., & Erol, A. (2015). Determination of relationship between the empathic tendency levels and thinking styles of preschool teacher candidates. International Journal of Assessment Tools in Education, 2(2), 38-65. https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/ijate/issue/22372/239561

Yıldırım, A., & Şimşek, H. (2006). Sosyal bilimlerde nitel araştırma yöntemleri [Qualitative research methods in social sciences]. Seçkin.

Yılmaz, İ., & Akyel, Y. (2008). Examination of emphatic tendency levels of physical education candidates teacher in terms of different variables. Ahi Evran University Kırşehir Faculty of Education Journal, 9(3), 27-33. https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/kefad/issue/59524/855994

Yükseköğretim Kurulu. (2007). Eğitim fakültesi öğretmen yetiştirme lisans programları [Edducation faculty teacher training undergraduate programs]. YÖK. https://www.yok.gov.tr/Documents/Yayinlar/Yayinlarimiz/egitim-fakultesi-ogretmen-yetistirme-lisans-programlari.pdf

Yüksel-Şahin, F. (1998). Effect of communication skills training within a group upon communication skill levels of university students. Education and Science, 22(110), 12-19.



► Journal Metrics

  • 8% acceptance rate
  • 3.4 (2023) CiteScore (Scopus)
  • Q2 (2023) CiteScore Best Quartile
  • 0.42 (2023) Scimago Journal & Country Rank (SJR)

EDUPIJ Statistics from Scopus

CiteScore: 3.4, view Scopus page

SCImago Journal & Country Rank

► Educational Process: International Journal is member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). 

► New issue coming soon! (Volume 13 Issue 2, 2024)