This inquiry primarily sought to describe existing classroom communication practices in college as viewed by selected students from three tertiary education institutions and to draw out the marginalizing and empowering dimensions of college classroom communication as viewed by the students. I collected data by inviting graduating students or new graduates of three selected colleges or universities to write essays on the typical, worst, and best classroom environments that they experienced in college. Ricoeur’s version of hermeneutic analysis served as the method of analyzing their stories.
The students’ typical classroom communication environment is source-oriented. Teachers’ authoritarianism, egotism, and indifference resulting in students’ feelings of apprehension, ineptitude, betrayal, and reluctance create a marginalizing dimension of classroom communication environment. On the other hand, students experienced empowering classroom communication environments characterized as democratic. On this basis, I proposed a model of an empowering classroom communication where the teacher is competent, passionate, friendly, caring, creative, and innovative within an overall tone of democracy, rapport, and accountability that engenders participative, creative, and interdependent as well as independent student learning.