Investigation of the factors that cause language anxiety for ESL/EFL learners in learning speaking skills and the influence it casts on communication in the target language

| July 28, 2008
Title
Investigation of the factors that cause language anxiety for ESL/EFL learners in learning speaking skills and the influence it casts on communication in the target language
Author
MUHAMMAD TANVEER
University of Glasgow
Abstract
Feelings of anxiety, apprehension and nervousness are commonly expressed by second/foreign language learners in learning to speak a second/foreign language. These feelings are considered to exert a potentially negative and detrimental effect on communication in the target language. The use of modern communicative language teaching approaches in the language classrooms and the wide-spread use of English Language have increased the demand to learn good communication skills but existence of such feelings in the learners may prevent them from achieving the desired goal. Consideration of learners anxiety reactions in learning to speak another language by a language teacher is deemed highly important in order to assist them to achieve the intended performance goals in the target language. This study has attempted to investigate the factors that language anxiety can possibly stem from, both within the classroom environment and out of classroom in the wider social context, and has recommended a variety of strategies to cope with it. The past researchers, considering it a complex and multi-faceted psychological phenomenon, have suggested to use a variety of perspectives and approaches to investigate the subject. This study used a qualitative semi-structured interview format and focus-group discussion technique to investigate the issue. A total of twenty participants, six ESL/EFL learners, three highly experienced ESL/EFL teachers and eleven ESL/EFL practitioners participated. The findings suggested that language anxiety can originate from learners own sense of self , their self-related cognitions, language learning difficulties, differences in learners and target language cultures, differences in social status of the speakers and interlocutors, and from the fear of losing self-identity. The pedagogical implications of these findings for understanding second/foreign language anxiety for enhancing learners communication abilities in the target language were discussed, as are suggestions for future research. Furthermore, considering the crucial role of teachers in second or foreign language pedagogy, a need was felt to investigate the beliefs and perceptions of language teachers about learning and teaching a second or a foreign language.

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Category: Thesis