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A Review of Horwitz, Horwitz and Cope’s Theory of Foreign Language Anxiety and the Challenges to the Theory

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Abstract

Language anxiety has become a great concern in second and foreign language learning research over the last three decades, and is a topic that triggers significant differences of opinions. As the first theory that emphasises the specific nature of foreign language anxiety, Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope's theory of foreign language anxiety has been used in quite a number of studies in the field. This paper reviews the theory and discusses the criticisms that other researchers have put forward it with an aim to provide further understanding of the theory for those who are interested in involving foreign language anxiety in their research.
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Published by Canadian Center of Science and Education 69
A Review of Horwitz, Horwitz and Cope’s Theory of Foreign Language
Anxiety and the Challenges to the Theory
TRAN Thi Thu Trang
School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences and Behavioural Studies
The University of Queensland, Australia
E-mail: tranghce@gmail.com
Received: July 19, 2011 Accepted: December 30, 2011 Published: January 1, 2012
doi:10.5539/elt.v5n1p69 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v5n1p69
This study was funded by Endeavour Postgraduate Awards.
Abstract
Language anxiety has become a great concern in second and foreign language learning research over the last three
decades, and is a topic that triggers significant differences of opinions. As the first theory that emphasises the
specific nature of foreign language anxiety, Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope’s theory of foreign language anxiety has
been used in quite a number of studies in the field. This paper reviews the theory and discusses the criticisms that
other researchers have put forward it with an aim to provide further understanding of the theory for those who are
interested in involving foreign language anxiety in their research.
Keywords: Language anxiety, Anxiety research, Theoretical framework, Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety
Scale
1. Introduction
Research has shown that anxiety is not uncommon in almost all disciplines of learning. Recently, Cassady (2010)
introduced the term academic anxiety as “a unifying formulation for the collection of anxieties learners experience
while in schools” (p. 1). While it seems that there is some commonality in terms of the nature and consequences of
anxiety, the type of anxiety triggered in and suffered by learners from each specific discipline is, to a certain extent,
unique to that specific discipline. Foreign language anxiety (FLA) is one such unique type of anxiety. There is a
considerable body of research indicating that foreign language anxiety is not merely an abstract construct studied by
theorists or by researchers under laboratory on induced-anxiety conditions, but a reality for many students (e.g.,
Casado & Dereshiwsky, 2001; Coryell & Clark, 2009; Kostić-Bobanović, 2009; Liu, 2006; Liu & Jackson, 2008;
MacIntyre & Gardner, 1994a; Tallon, 2009; Von Wörde, 2003).
In terms of definition, several researchers have offered definitions of foreign language anxiety. Clement (1980)
defined foreign language anxiety as a complex construct that deals with learners’ psychology in terms of their
feelings, self-esteem, and self-confidence. Emphasising the distinctive feature of FLA, Young (1992) defined it as a
complicated psychological phenomenon peculiar to language learning. More specifically, MacIntyre and Gardner
(1994b) defined FLA as the feeling of tension and apprehension specifically associated with second or foreign
language contexts, including speaking, listening, and learning, or the worry and negative emotional reaction arousal
when learning or using a second or foreign language (MacIntyre, 1999). Similarly, Zhang (2001) defined anxiety as
the psychological tension that the learner goes through in performing a learning task. These definitions, in fact, are
built around the claim made by Horwitz, Horwitz and Cope (1986) that FLA is “a phenomenon related to but
distinguishable from other specific anxieties” (p. 129). Horwitz, Horwitz and Cope were the first to conceptualise
FLA as a unique type of anxiety specific to foreign language learning. Their theoretical model of FLA plays a vital
role in language anxiety research, which has made them influential researchers in this area.
2. Horwitz, Horwitz and Cope’s Theory of Foreign Language Anxiety
In their well known article, Horwitz, Horwitz and Cope (1986) defined FLA as “a distinct complex construct of
self-perceptions, beliefs, feelings, and behaviours related to classroom language learning arising from the
uniqueness of language learning process” (p. 128).
Up to the time the theory was introduced, it was understood that anxiety research had been unable to establish a
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clear-cut relationship between anxiety and foreign language achievement (see review by Scovel, 1978). Horwitz,
Horwitz and Cope thus suggested that one reason accounting for this failure was the lack of anxiety measures
specific to foreign language learning. Only one instrument, a five-item scale designed by Gardner, Clement, Smythe,
and Smythe (1979), was relevant to FLA, but it was restricted in scope.
Based on their clinical experience with foreign language students in university classes during their teaching process,
and feedback received from 30 students attending a support group for language learning, Horwitz, Horwitz and
Cope suggested that foreign language anxiety should be viewed as a situation-specific anxiety arising from the
uniqueness of the formal learning of a foreign language, not just a case of general classroom anxiety being
transferred to foreign language learning. According to Horwitz et al., no other fields of study implicate self-concept
and self-expression to the same degree as foreign language study. This feature makes the anxiety caused by foreign
language learning distinctive from other academic anxieties. It is possible that students with general anxiety are
likely to experience FLA; however, it is not uncommon to find those who are very good at other subjects frustrated
in learning a foreign language. Therefore, there must be something unique to the language learning experience that
makes some students anxious.
Although Horwitz et al.’s theory evolved mainly from clinical data and anecdotal evidence, a large number of
studies conducted subsequently adopted their theoretical model, thus supplying evidence to validate their theory of
anxiety particular to language learning. MacIntyre and Gardner (1989), for example, used nine anxiety scales,
including French Class Anxiety Scale, English Class Anxiety Scale, Mathematics Anxiety Scale, French Use
Anxiety Scale, Trait Anxiety Scale, Computer Anxiety Scale, State Anxiety Scale, Test Anxiety Scale, Audience
Anxiety Scale to examine the relationship between the dimensions of anxiety and the various measures of learning
and production, including oral and written scores. Factor analysis of the scales and correlational analysis between
the anxiety scales and achievement measures indicated that foreign language anxiety is separable from general
anxiety, and a clear relationship was found to exist between FLA and foreign language proficiency while only a
weak relationship was found between general anxiety and foreign language proficiency. Chen and Chang (2004)
also found that neither academic learning history nor test characteristics were variables predictive of foreign
language anxiety, which can be interpreted to mean that foreign language anxiety is a form of situation-specific
anxiety that is uniquely related to foreign language learning experience. These results supported Horwitz et al.’s
theory of a unique type of anxiety that is specific to foreign language learning. More justification of this conclusion
requires a look into the development of foreign language anxiety research before and after the introduction of
Horwitz et al.’s theory of anxiety specific to foreign language learning.
In the 1970s, anxiety research mainly used the state-trait anxiety viewpoint to investigate the role of anxiety in
language learning. This approach posited language anxiety as a transfer of other more general types of anxiety. For
example, test-anxious people may feel anxious when learning a language because they feel constantly tested, or shy
people may feel uncomfortable because of the demands of communicating publicly. Early studies adopting this
approach produced conflicting results about the effects of anxiety on achievement and performance. Specifically,
Tucker, Hamayan, and Genesee (1976) found significant negative correlations between language anxiety and one of
four French performance indices, i.e., Test de Rendement en français, but not three other indicators. i.e., Reading
Comprehension, Listening Comprehension, and Oral Production; whereas, Young (1986) found no relationship
between state anxiety and oral proficiency in French, German and Spanish when students’ ability was controlled.
Other studies reported contradictory results. For example, in a study of university students in approximately one
third of the courses offered in beginning French, German, and Spanish, Chastain (1975) concurrently found positive,
negative, and near zero correlations between anxiety and French, German and Spanish second language learning.
While finding a negative correlation between French students’ scores on tests and anxiety, Chastain also discovered
a positive correlation between anxiety and the scores of German and Spanish students.
Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope’s explanation for the inconsistency of the research findings was similar to that of
Scovel (1978), who recognised conflicting findings in the earlier anxiety research and attributed them to the
problems of construct ambiguity, confusing definitions of anxiety, and lack of proper language anxiety measures.
Scovel thus suggested that researchers should be specific about the type of anxiety to be studied. This view was
supported by Gardner (1985), who argued that the measures directly concerned with foreign language anxiety were
more appropriate for studying foreign language anxiety than general anxiety measures. According to Gardner, not all
forms of anxiety would influence second or foreign language learning, but “a construct of anxiety which is not
general but instead is specific to the language acquisition context is related to second language achievement” (p.34).
Other researchers also expressed their consensus by stating that the variety of anxiety types made it possible that the
anxiety being studied was not the anxiety specific to language learning (MacIntyre, 1999; Young, 1994). Most
recently, Horwitz (2010) reported a foreign and second language anxiety research timeline, in which she once again
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postulated that one of the reasons for such confusing results was the multi-faceted conceptualisation of anxiety
which differentiates a number of types of anxiety, including trait anxiety, state anxiety, achievement anxiety, and
facilitating-debilitating anxiety.
In their theory, Horwitz, Horwitz and Cope (1986) acknowledged the uniqueness of foreign language anxiety and
introduced the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) as an instrument to measure anxiety levels as
evidenced by negative performance expectancies and social comparisons, psychophysiological symptoms, and
avoidance behaviours. The FLCAS consists of 33 statements with significant part-whole correlations with the total
scale, aiming to assess communication apprehension, test anxiety and fear of negative evaluation associated with
language anxiety. Each item on the FLCAS is rated on a five-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly agree) to 5
(strongly disagree). Total scores of the scale range from 33 to 165 with lower scores indicate higher levels of anxiety.
Twenty-four of the items are positively worded, and nine of the items are negatively worded.
Horwitz et al.’s theory of foreign language anxiety has been widely accepted with subsequent research
acknowledging the uniqueness of foreign language anxiety and providing evidence that the FLCAS is a reliable tool.
Since then, “the concept of anxiety in second language acquisition has achieved the status of a precise technical
notion” (Young, 1994, p.3) with more consistent research findings of the negative effects of language anxiety on
achievement and performance (e.g., Djigunovic, 2006; Horwitz, 1991; Ito, 2008; MacIntyre, 1988; MacIntyre &
Gardner, 1989, 1991a; Tallon, 2009).
Although Horwitz et al.’s theory has been widely used, some issues have triggered rather heated debates.
3. Challenges to Horwitz, Horwitz and Cope’s Theory of Foreign Language Anxiety
Four points in Horwitz et al.’s theory have been challenged: (i) the direction of the causal relationship between FLA
and language learning difficulties; (ii) the important role of FLA; (iii) the components of FLA; and (iv) the validity
of the FLCAS.
First, opposing views have been found in terms of the direction of the causal relationship between FLA and
language learning difficulties. While Horwitz et al. postulated the detrimental effects of FLA on language learning,
some other researchers considered it a consequence rather than a cause (Argaman & Abu-Rabia, 2002; Ganschow et
al., 1994; Sparks & Ganschow, 1991, 1995). According to Sparks and Ganschow (1995), “one cannot discuss
anxiety without inferring a cause” (p. 236). Although they agreed that anxiety could hinder learning and students
might experience anxiety in learning a foreign language, it was their view that anxiety is more likely to be a
consequence rather than a cause of poor achievement in foreign language learning. In supporting Sparks and
Ganschow’s hypothesis, Argaman and Abu-Rabia (2002) examined the influence of language anxiety on
achievement in English writing and reading comprehension tasks and found a significant relationship between
language anxiety and both reading and writing skills. However, they argued that language anxiety might not be a
cause of failure in learning a foreign language, but a consequence.
In support of Horwitz et al.’s position, MacIntyre (1995b) argued against Sparks and Ganschow, indicating that
anxiety arousal could act as a causal agent in creating individual differences in second or foreign language learning.
He used the example of the student who knows the material but “freezes up” on a test to argue that anxiety is more
likely to be a cause rather than a consequence of poor performance. His view was further supported by Horwitz
(2000), who argued that Sparks and Ganschow’s theory could not explain why advanced and successful students
also reported anxious reactions. Sparks and Ganschow (1995) have commented that these differing views are a
chicken and egg phenomenon. That is, does the language difficulty cause anxiety or does anxiety cause the language
difficulty? In fact, the two sides have not totally rejected each other’s perspective. While arguing that anxiety both
causes students to learn less and makes students unable to demonstrate the information that they have learned,
MacIntyre (1995a) also recognised the cyclical relation between anxiety and task performance. He pointed out that
students’ anxiety level might increase even more as students experience more failure.
It seems that the answer to the question whether language difficulty causes anxiety or anxiety causes language
difficulty may differ between situations. Sparks and Ganschow are right to point out that anxiety is likely to result
from certain situations with a possible reason being language difficulty in the case of language learning; however,
the fact is that even good students experience FLA regardless of its frequency. Therefore, it cannot be denied that
anxiety is likely to be both a cause and an effect of language difficulty. A point made by Horwitz (2001) about this
question seems to be logical, that is, “it is easy [italics added] to conceptualise FLA as a result of poor language
learning ability … the challenge is to determine the extent to which anxiety is a cause rather than a result of poor
language learning” (p. 118).
Second, while Horwitz et al. have attributed a very important affective role to foreign language anxiety, some
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researchers consider it as either being independent of or having little effect on foreign language achievement. Sparks
and Ganschow (1991, 1993a, 1993b, 2007) have cast doubt on the importance attributed to FLA in foreign language
learning, arguing that it is not likely to be a primary cause of problems with foreign language learning. They
questioned the claims made by Horwitz et al. about the importance of anxiety and argued that studying anxiety does
not add much to the understanding of language achievement. Instead, they advocated their Linguistic Coding
Differences Hypothesis (LCDH) as an alternative to account for poor foreign language learning achievement (see
Sparks & Ganschow, 1991; Sparks, Ganschow, & Pohlman, 1989). According to Sparks and Ganschow (1991, 1995),
the possibility of a confounding interaction between anxiety and receptive/expressive language skills (such as
listening, speaking, and audio memory) in the foreign language learning might exist, and that first language learning
deficits are the primary source of poor achievement. Argaman and Abu-Rabia (2002) supported this view, arguing
that “if students with high language anxiety obtained significantly low grades in every foreign-language skill, the
real problem may not be the anxiety but a lack of ability in the foreign language arising from a totally different
origin” (p. 157). Spieldmann and Radnofsky (2001) have also had doubts about the importance of foreign language
anxiety in language learning, suggesting that anxiety research should shift the focus from anxiety to tension.
Despite these opposing views, it is clear that a large body of research on the effects of foreign language anxiety has
provided strong evidence about the detrimental effects of FLA on language learning. Based on these research
findings, one may agree with MacIntyre (1995a) that “the effects of anxiety may be more complex than has been
implied by Sparks and Ganschow” (p. 96). Besides, it should be important to note that different disciplines may
offer competing explanations for difficulties that foreign language learners encounter (Young, 1995). In this case,
MacIntyre is a cognitive psychologist, therefore he emphasises the need to examine the role of cognitive and
affective variables to understand how individuals learn a foreign or second language; meanwhile, Sparks and
Ganschow are learning-disability specialists, so they suggest that an examination of language aptitude alone can
offer explanations for much of the success or failure in language learning. Although their interpretations and
approaches to the same issue are different, it does not necessarily mean that one position excludes the other. It
should also be noted that a few studies have found no significant correlation between first language learning history
and foreign language anxiety; that is, first language learning history is not the best predictor of foreign language
anxiety (Chen & Chang, 2004; MacIntyre & Gardner, 1989, 1994a), which does not support Sparks and Ganschow’s
LCDH. As Horwitz (2001) has stated, “in addition to contributing to our understanding of second language
achievement, language anxiety is fundamental to our understanding of how learners approach language learning,
their expectations for success or failure, and ultimately why they continue or discontinue study” (p.122). If we
accept these arguments as being true, the important role of anxiety in foreign language learning becomes
undisputable.
The third challenge is related to the components of FLA. Horwitz et al. have integrated three related anxieties in
their conceptualisation of foreign language anxiety, including communication apprehension, test anxiety, and fear of
negative evaluation. However, while communication apprehension and fear of negative evaluation are closely
related to FLA, test anxiety is likely to be a general anxiety problem rather than being specific to foreign language
learning. This has been justified in some studies. In examining the relationship between test anxiety, general anxiety
and communicative anxiety, MacIntyre (1989) found that test anxiety contributed to the general anxiety factor and
not to the communicative anxiety factor, thus suggesting that test anxiety is a general problem rather than being
specific to the foreign language classroom. Using factor analysis to detect the underlying structure of the FLCAS’s
thirty-three statements, Aida (1994) also reported that the findings did not support Horwitz’s claim for the inclusion
of test anxiety as a component of FLA. These findings have led Horwitz (2010) to clarify her position that FLA is
related to communication apprehension, fear of negative evaluation and test anxiety rather than being composed of
them as “misinterpreted” by many researchers (p. 158).
In addition, Sparks and Ganschow (1991, 1996, 2007) have questioned the validity of the FLCAS and claimed that it
measures language skills rather than anxiety levels. According to Sparks and Ganschow, 60 percent of the items
(20/33) involve comfort level with expressive or receptive language, 15 percent of the items (5/33) involve verbal
memory for language, 12 percent of the items (4/33) involve difficulty with reading and writing, and 12 percent of
the items (4/33) involve speed of language processing. They have also criticised the FLCAS which excludes native
language skills or foreign language aptitude. Other researchers such as Aida (1994) and Rodríguez and Abreu (2003)
have posited that the FLCAS appears to measure anxiety primarily related to speaking situations. To some extent,
these views may be true; however, it is also true that with the same data set, each researcher may have his or her
own way of interpreting the data, which does not necessarily mean that way is right and the other ways are wrong.
In addition, it is evident that since the introduction of Horwitz et al.’s FLCAS as an instrument to measure anxiety
levels, the FLCAS has been widely used in language anxiety research, and the problem of inconsistent research
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Published by Canadian Center of Science and Education 73
findings has been considerably solved, which has strengthened its reliability.
Despite the above challenges, it has become clear that the distinctiveness and complexity of FLA differentiate it
from other anxieties. Foreign or second language learning has “more potential for students to embarrass themselves,
to frustrate their self-expression, and to challenge their self-esteem and sense of identity than almost any other
learning activities” (MacIntyre, 1999, p. 33); therefore, anxiety derived from foreign or second language learning is
associated with, but distinctive from other types of anxiety. As such, consensus has been reached that foreign
language anxiety is a unique type of anxiety, not a transfer of other forms of anxiety.
4. Conclusion
Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope’s theory of foreign language anxiety has played a vital role in language anxiety
research with a large number of studies using it as the theoretical framework. However, it does not necessarily mean
that the theory is perfect, as “the most accepted working hypotheses themselves may need revising” (Spielmann &
Radnofsky, 2001, p. 261). With its complexity and controversy, it is likely that foreign language anxiety has been
and will continue to be a key area of research interest.
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... Language anxiety affects students' performance in assessments which involves reading and writing and has established a considerable correlation of second or foreign language anxiety for both writing and reading skills (Trang, 2012). In addition, it was observed that secondary school students with the lowest degrees of Foreign Language (FL) (Spanish, French or German) anxiety on the Foreign Language Anxiety Scale showed highest grades (Sparks & Ganschow, 2007). ...
... Studies show that there is negative association between foreign language anxiety and students' attitude towards English language learning. Students undergo anxiety in the language class because most of the time, they deem that they would not be able to achieve better in the language test (Trang, 2012). ...
... MacIntyre and Gardner (1991a). On the other hand, results of the present investigation did not back up contentions of Trang (2012) and Sparks and Ganschow (2007) who asserted that language anxiety has nothing to do with students' attitudes and difficulties in learning a foreign or second language. ...
... 63 January -June 2022 | 257 E-ISSN: 2287-0024 (FLCAS) , have looked at the effects of FLA on performance in Thai secondary EFL classrooms. Although Horwitz et al. (1986) based the FLCAS on three related effects of FLA (communication apprehension, test anxiety, and fear of negative evaluation), it has been shown that these three elements may not make up the entirety of FLA experienced by Thai adolescents in typical secondary EFL classrooms, nor do they reveal the cause of FLA (Park, 2014;Servaes, 2017;Sipe, 2011;Tran, 2012). Horwitz et al. (1986) has played a vital role in language anxiety research, with many studies using their concept as a theoretical framework (Tran, 2012); however, this theory propagates that the above effects of FLA are more likely to be consequences rather than a source of FLA. ...
... Although Horwitz et al. (1986) based the FLCAS on three related effects of FLA (communication apprehension, test anxiety, and fear of negative evaluation), it has been shown that these three elements may not make up the entirety of FLA experienced by Thai adolescents in typical secondary EFL classrooms, nor do they reveal the cause of FLA (Park, 2014;Servaes, 2017;Sipe, 2011;Tran, 2012). Horwitz et al. (1986) has played a vital role in language anxiety research, with many studies using their concept as a theoretical framework (Tran, 2012); however, this theory propagates that the above effects of FLA are more likely to be consequences rather than a source of FLA. Böttger and Költzsch (2020) analyzed and interpreted neuroscientific findings in a fundamental pilot study to help answer central questions as to the sources of FLA. ...
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Foreign language anxiety (FLA), the pervasive feeling of mild to severe apprehension when faced with communicating in a foreign language, is universally quite common. The manifestation of FLA in Thailand, where English is taught as a foreign language in secondary schools, is no exception. By employing descriptive phenomenology, this study sought to corroborate the existence of FLA at some stage during Thai secondary EFL classes and discover if FLA continues to trouble Thai adults working in international organizations. The population of this study is 12 Thai adults who are working as office workers, management, and administrative staff in an international organization in Thailand. The participants shared accounts of experiencing negative or harsh feedback from Thai teachers and Thai classmates, doubting their English language proficiency, persistent fear of embarrassment when making mistakes in English, and a prolonged feeling of guilt from limited grammatical and vocabulary knowledge while in secondary EFL classes. In the end, all participants disclosed that FLA, which they corroborated began when they were students in secondary school, has continued to plague them in adulthood. The study recommends that to diminish FLA in Thai secondary EFL classrooms, education stakeholders must implement sound language policy changes, progressive educational development, and most importantly, sufficient teacher education and teacher support focused on producing qualified Thai teachers of English.
... 347). Despite these challenges, Trang (2012) indicated that: …since the introduction of Horwitz et al.'s FLCAS as an instrument to measure anxiety levels, the FLCAS has been widely used in language anxiety research, and the problem of inconsistent research findings has been considerably solved, which has strengthened its reliability. (pp. ...
... Ignoring, on the other hand, is a type of oral corrective feedback interpreted as never preferred by the students. The only small but relevant advantage for this method is that the students avoid the embarrassment of having their utterance corrected in front of their peers (Trang, 2012). This is in opposition with Long (1996as cited in Rassaei, 2010 who said That corrective feedback is among the techniques which are believed to facilitate L2 development by providing learners with both positive and negative evidence. ...
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Since there is a dearth of research in oral corrective feedback in the Philippines together with the implementation of the K-12 curriculum, the researcher deemed it necessary to shed light to the significance of corrective feedback in oral communication classes. The study aimed to determine the different types of oral corrective feedback used by oral communication teachers and preferred by students, level of effectiveness of oral corrective feedback as perceived by teachers and students, and the difference in the level of effectiveness of oral corrective feedback as perceived by teachers and students. Specifically, the results showed the following: first, ignoring was the type of oral corrective feedback mostly used by oral communication teachers in improving oral communication skills; second, recast, explicit correction, and questioning (self-correction) were the types of oral corrective feedback most preferred by students in improving oral communication skills. However, ignoring was the type of oral corrective feedback that was never preferred by the students in improving oral communications skills; third, teachers and students perceived recast, questioning (peer correction), and questioning (self-correction) as highly effective. On the other hand, ignoring was perceived as never effective in improving oral communication skills; finally, there was a significant difference in the level of effectiveness in clarification request as perceived by teachers and students. More importantly, there was a high significant difference in the level of effectiveness in explicit correction, denial, and ignoring as perceived by teachers and students.
... The instructive research domain was preoccupied with inspecting negative emotions such as boredom, apprehension, stress, and foreign language classroom anxiety in classes (Horwitz et al., 1986;MacIntyre and Gardner, 1989;Shaw et al., 1996;Harris, 2000;Horwitz, 2000Horwitz, , 2001Rodríguez and Abreu, 2003;Tran, 2012;Capone et al., 2019;Fathi and Derakhshan, 2019;Chen et al., 2021;Derakhshan et al., 2021). But, considering the negative aspects is only half of the issue, so a new approach, positive psychology (PP) in educational settings, has grown throughout previous decades and is welcomed by scholars (Mercer et al., 2018;Chen and Padilla, 2019;De Ruiter et al., 2019;MacIntyre et al., 2019;Wang et al., 2021), and the eminence of affectivity in both second and foreign language instruction research has been at the center of attention of many researchers lately (Fathi and Derakhshan, 2019;Derakhshan, 2021;Pishghadam et al., 2021;Xie and Derakhshan, 2021;Yazdanmehr et al., 2021;Zeng, 2021). ...
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It has been documented that grit plays an indispensable role in the process of language learning and teaching. It is postulated that gritty people are more able to become involved in classroom practice and remain motivated even in light of challenges; however, what remains vague is the interplay of grit, well-being, and classroom enjoyment. To this end, 335 male and female Chinese EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners who were studying English in 28 universities took part in this study. They completed three questionnaires including the grit scale questionnaire (Grit-S), foreign language enjoyment scale, and PERMA well-being scale. The Pearson coefficient of correlation was run to investigate the first research question of the study while, after checking the preliminary assumptions, for the second research question a multiple regression analysis was used. The findings of the study demonstrated that there is a positive relationship between learners' grit and enjoyment, and high degrees of enjoyment were interrelated to high degrees of grit. The findings of the study also signified that grit significantly predicted students' well-being and was also a predictor of classroom enjoyment. Finally, some implications and recommendations have been offered for language teaching stakeholders in educational settings.
... Although FLCAS has been widely used in a large number of research projects and in different contexts around the world (Horwitz, 2010), few scholars criticise and challenge the method, as mentioned in Trang (2012). ...
Thesis
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At Dalarna University it is possible to publish the student thesis in full text in DiVA. The publishing is open access, which means the work will be freely accessible to read and download on the internet. This will significantly increase the dissemination and visibility of the student thesis. Open access is becoming the standard route for spreading scientific and academic information on the internet. Dalarna University recommends that both researchers as well as students publish their work open access. I give my/we give our consent for full text publishing (freely accessible on the internet, open access): Yes ☒ No ☐ Dalarna University-SE-791 88 Falun-Phone +4623-77 80 00 1 Abstract Language anxiety (LA) is "the worry and negative emotional reaction when learning and using a second language and is especially relevant in a classroom where self-expression takes place" (Gregersen & MacIntyre, 2014, p. 14). In the present study, particular attention is drawn to the development of students' communicative competence and speaking proficiency in English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) classrooms. The prevalence and effects of foreign language speaking anxiety (FLSA) were examined among Swedish EFL lower secondary school students, reporting the triggers of foreign language anxiety (FLA) and FLSA from the perspective of pupils and teachers. A mixed-methods approach was applied to collect data from pupils (N=273) where a self-report questionnaire, a modified version of the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) operationalised originally by Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope (1986) is administered, plus open-ended semi-structured interviews with open-ended and closed questions were conducted with pupils (N=67) and teachers (N=5). The participants were grouped into three categories: low, medium and high anxiety, based on their scores. The results showed that 26% of the participants were assigned as low anxious learners; 59% of the students experienced medium levels of FLSA and 15% of the pupils were highly anxious language learners. Interviews with pupils and teachers explored the effects and the sources of the FLA and FLSA on pupils' oral and general English language proficiency (fear of negative evaluation (FNE), affective variables, grades, teachers, classmates, pronunciation, and classroom atmosphere), noting that some pupils reported that monologic genres such as long episodes of speaking, evaluation situations and giving an oral presentation present the most anxiety-provoking contexts in EFL lessons.
... 128). Hay consenso, a nivel internacional, en que se trata de un tipo específico de ansiedad y no la transferencia de otros tipos de ansiedad (Trang, 2012) y de que es un fenómeno universal (Duxbury y Tsai, 2010;Trang, Baldauf y Moni, 2013) que obedece a diferentes combinaciones de fuentes o causas. ...
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Este trabajo busca comprender los efectos de la ansiedad lingüística ante el aprendizaje de inglés en los Grados en Magisterio de la Facultad de Educación de la Universidad de Zaragoza (España), mediante un estudio de caso. Se recogieron datos de 63 alumnos y 4 profesoras con cuestionarios, observaciones de aula y un grupo de discusión. Los principales hallazgos revelan que la ansiedad lingüística puede disminuir la calidad y cantidad de producción oral en inglés de los estudiantes ante toda la clase, así como perjudicar su autoestima, autoeficacia y motivación. Un modelo explicativo facilita la comprensión de las consecuencias en el contexto de estudio y entornos similares, y la conveniencia de que este tipo de ansiedad sea abordada en la formación de los maestros.
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The impact of affective factors such as anxiety on the inhibition of language learning has been a highly researched aspect in the area of language teaching and learning. This research aims to find an explanation for the speech anxiety experienced by students of English as a foreign language in a class for intermediate to upper-intermediate level students enrolled in a Mexican university located in Uriangato, Guanajuato called ITSUR. This research is of a phenomenological qualitative type that investigates the behavior and experience of students to find patterns that explain the reasons for this problem. Different data collection techniques, such as a questionnaire and a semi-structured interview, have been used to analyze the perspectives of the participants. The results of this study indicated that grammar, lack of vocabulary, pronunciation and public speaking are identified as the main factors that provoke speech anxiety. The findings of this study, together with the review of the literature and the experience of the participants, raise new questions about the impact of language anxiety on foreign language acquisition.
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This study examined the linguistic and extra-linguistic sources of speech anxiety of second/foreign language (L2) learners of Chinese through a structural equation modeling approach. Data were collected from 226 L2 learners of Chinese via questionnaires and speaking tests. Three competing models were proposed to understand how linguistic (i.e., speech proficiency) and extra-linguistic (i.e., willingness-to-communicate/WTC, socio-cultural attitudes, speech strategies, and speech self-efficacy) factors jointly influenced learners' L2 Chinese speech anxiety. The results of model comparisons suggested that 1) speaking strategies were the most positive predictor directly contributing to speech anxiety; 2) the other significant direct predictors included WTC, speaking self-efficacy, and speaking proficiency; 3) socio-cultural attitudes had a positive indirect effect on speech anxiety through the mediation of WTC. The study concluded with pedagogical implications on how to ameliorate students’ L2 Chinese speech anxiety in classroom teaching.
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Language anxiety has been one of the so-called personal factors that have been considered worth studying once a psychological theory of the process of second/foreign language learning started to develop. The purpose of this research is to identify the main difference in language anxiety perceived by Austrian and Croatian university students of Economics who are studying Business English as a foreign language. The author suggests that the findings obtained in this study should be verified in other socio-cultural and language contexts.
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MacIntyre (1995, p. 90) takes the position that language anxiety plays a significant causal role in creating individual differences in foreign language (FL) learning. He suggests that our Linguistic Coding Differences Hypothesis (LCDH), which posits that language aptitude is the primary source of individual differences in FL achievement, reduces affective variables to a position “devoid of explanatory power.” Our response defends our position that language aptitude is likely to account for the largest part of the variance in FL learning. We also describe ways in which affective variables can influence FL learning, although the instances in which they play a causal role is likely to be small. We also suggest that both methodological and conceptual difficulties exist with theories that attribute affective and social context variables in FL learning to causal factors. We then propose ways in which MacIntyre and others could counter our argument and posit that a “Strong Inference” approach to research on the variables affecting FL learning would be beneficial to the FL field.