Donald W. Klopf

University of Hawaii

James C. McCroskey

Pennsylvania State University

Recently we completed two studies of the professional speech affiliations of high school speech teachers. We were shocked at the results. Only 12.3% of the total membership of the nine major regional and national organizations are high school speech teachers. This group of teachers who would benefit most from such membership apparently repudiate any association with these major speech organizations.

Our first study, finished during the Spring 1963, was a survey of certain characteristics of selected sponsors of National Forensic League programs. We discovered from a phase of this survey that 32% of these high school speech teachers belonged to either a state or regional association and 24% belonged to the Speech Association of America, the national speech group.

We frankly expected a better record from these NFL sponsors who were involved intensively in speech activities. We wondered what the professional speech membership of all high school speech teachers would be. As a consequence, we undertook our second study.

During the summer 1963, we examined the most recent available membership lists of the major area and national speech organizations which speech teachers might join. The results are:


Total Membership
Total High School Membership* Percent of High School Membership
Speech Association of America 4800 348 7.2
American Speech and Hearing Association 9218 464 5.0
National Society for the Study of Communication



American Forensic Association 440 56 12.7
American Institute of Parliamentarians 235 7 2.1
Speech Association of the Eastern States 1053 266 23.1
Central States Speech Association 874 151 17.3
Western Speech Association 493 143 29.0
Southern Speech Association

(membership lists not available)

*These figures in some instances are approximations; a few member listings do not indicate employment affiliation.

As we were checking these membership lists, we also noted Hawaii's record. This record, which follows, indicates the total number of Hawaii membership. These include speech teachers at the high school and college level (approximately 75 high school and 43 college teachers), retired teachers, clinicians, students, and non-teachers.


Total Hawaii Membership
Total Hawaii High School Membership % Hawaii High School Membership
Speech Association of America 28 5 17.8
American Speech and Hearing Association 27 1 3.7
National Society for the Study of Communication



American Forensic Association 1 0 0
Speech Association of the Eastern States 1 0 0
Central States Speech Association 1 0 0
Western Speech Association 10 2 20.0
American Institute of Parliamentarians 4 1 25.0

Unquestionably, many personal reasons exist for not joining regional or national speech groups. Undoubtedly, these groups partially are to blame for they do not always actively solicit memberships among high school speech teachers. But regardless what the rationale might be, the fact remains that the speech teacher has a responsibility to himself, to his students, and to his school to join. He has this responsibility for numerous reasons, two of which are vital in Hawaii where the insularity prohibits normal communication with teachers in other areas or states.

Membership in professional speech associations helps the individual develop as a teacher. Through his membership, the individual can obtain important new knowledge and theory. He can learn about new methods, materials, equipment, and programs. He is kept abreast of the changes in this dynamic field of speech through the publications and conventions of these associations. To prevent personal stagnation and innateness of ideas, such membership is necessary for the teacher in Hawaii.

Of equal importance in Hawaii is the need among speech teachers to maintain strong active relations with regional and national speech associations in order to protect and further common interests. Recently, in California, an attempt was made to remove speech from State's list of subjects required for teacher certifications. The State Speech organization could not defeat this attempt. Only the combined action of the Western Speech Association and the Speech Association of America overthrew this attempt. If this California speech body had not maintained its relationships with WEA and SAA, the very existence of the speech profession in the Western State may have been jeopardized. Hawaii could face a similar situation; here the academic justification of speech periodically is challenged.

So the high school speech teacher has a responsibility to affiliate--and, for that matter, so has the college teacher. He should at least join three associations, attend their annual meetings, read their journals. To do so would be what Loren Reid calls "a minimum, just-barely-respectable, doing-your-share-and-no-more-effort" in becoming a full-fledged member of the speech profession [in Teaching Speech, third edition, Columbia, Artcraft Press, 1960, page 377].

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