“The Effect of Language Anxiety on Students' Oral Test
Performance and Attitudes”
ELAINE M. PHILLIPS Department of Modern ...
Definition
O Foreign language anxiety:

a distinct complex of self-

perceptions, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors related...
Anxiety is the feeling of tension, apprehension, nervousness and
worry.
Two types of anxiety can be distinguished:
• TRAIT...
Sources of Anxiety

O Speaking the target language in front of peers.
O Teacher-centered classroom.
O Fear of losing onese...
Three Types of Foreign Language Anxiety
(Horwitz,1986)

1.

Communication apprehension: arising from learner’s
inability t...
The Influence of Anxiety
O Severe language learning anxiety causes interlocking

problems.
O Language anxiety is one of th...
Activities that Reduce Language Anxiety Levels
O Conversation gambits

(Woodrow, 2006)

“Oh, really?”
“Sorry, I don’t get ...
Activities that Reduce Language Anxiety Levels
O Cued response
Wake up early:
Have dinner out:
Meet friends:
Watch a movie...
Activities that Reduce Language Anxiety Levels
O Information Gap

Activity: Find out where the international students
come...
Activities that Reduce Language Anxiety Levels
O Improvising dialogues

Activity: In pairs, students receive two lines of ...
Activities that Reduce Language Anxiety Levels
O Interviews and surveys

Activity: Find someone who...
a. stayed at home S...
Helping lower students’ level of anxiety during oral
tests
• Provide students’ with ample opportunities for oral practice ...
Conclusion
O No teacher can guarantee that a class will be anxiety-

free; however, teachers should be aware of trying to
...
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The Effect of Language Anxiety on Students' Oral Test Performance and Attitudes

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The Effect of Language Anxiety on Students' Oral Test Performance and Attitudes

  1. 1. “The Effect of Language Anxiety on Students' Oral Test Performance and Attitudes” ELAINE M. PHILLIPS Department of Modern and Classical Languages Southwestern University, Georgetown
  2. 2. Definition O Foreign language anxiety: a distinct complex of self- perceptions, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors related to classroom learning arising from the uniqueness of the language learning process (Horwitz; Horwitz & Cope, 1986:126). O Anxiety is a complex psychological construct consisting of many variables. Three of these variables are trait anxiety, state anxiety and situation-specific anxiety (Dornyei, 2005).
  3. 3. Anxiety is the feeling of tension, apprehension, nervousness and worry. Two types of anxiety can be distinguished: • TRAIT ANXIETY is the general trait of a person being anxious. • STATE ANXIETY is anxiety experienced in relation to a particular event. (Phillips, 1999)
  4. 4. Sources of Anxiety O Speaking the target language in front of peers. O Teacher-centered classroom. O Fear of losing oneself. O Making errors. (MacIntyre, 1999)
  5. 5. Three Types of Foreign Language Anxiety (Horwitz,1986) 1. Communication apprehension: arising from learner’s inability to express thoughts and ideas. 2. Fear of negative social evaluation: from a learner’s need to make a positive social impression on others. 3. Test anxiety: nervousness from academic evaluation.
  6. 6. The Influence of Anxiety O Severe language learning anxiety causes interlocking problems. O Language anxiety is one of the best predictors of foreign language achievement. O Research on language anxiety (Philips, 1999; MacIntyre, 1999; Arnold & Brown, 1999; Dornyei, 2005; Woodrow, 2006) has repeatedly shown that it has a negative impact on L2 learners’ performance, especially during speaking practices.
  7. 7. Activities that Reduce Language Anxiety Levels O Conversation gambits (Woodrow, 2006) “Oh, really?” “Sorry, I don’t get it.” “Say that again, please.” “It’s a beautiful day, eh?” “By the way, …” “Actually, …” “Are you serious?” “No kidding!” This activity helps learners carry on a more ‘natural’ conversation and help build a sense of community in the classroom by the use of common communicative vocabulary.
  8. 8. Activities that Reduce Language Anxiety Levels O Cued response Wake up early: Have dinner out: Meet friends: Watch a movie: Add more: “I’m going to wake up early on Saturday” “I’m not going to have diner out.” “I’m going to meet my friends” “I’m going to watch a movie” “I’m not going to work this weekend…” It helps learners, especially in the early stages of learning, to alleviate the frustration that occurs when they have to focus both on meaning and on form.
  9. 9. Activities that Reduce Language Anxiety Levels O Information Gap Activity: Find out where the international students come from and in which countries they lived and traveled in. It helps learners to build a sense of community. The final product is built as a team, rather than individual answers.
  10. 10. Activities that Reduce Language Anxiety Levels O Improvising dialogues Activity: In pairs, students receive two lines of a dialogue. They work together and come up with a possible dialogue. They are allowed some time to rehearse it before presenting it to the class. E.g.: I never thought I’d be in a situation like this! Who said I liked apples? It helps learners to work cooperatively with peers; gives them an opportunity to rehearse their speech; allows them to get used to presenting in front of other students; if an element of comedy is introduced it helps to break the ice.
  11. 11. Activities that Reduce Language Anxiety Levels O Interviews and surveys Activity: Find someone who... a. stayed at home Saturday b. saw a good film last week c. went out last night d. didn’t sleep well last night e. arrived on time for class today It helps learners to have a great deal of practice, which lowers L2 oral anxiety.
  12. 12. Helping lower students’ level of anxiety during oral tests • Provide students’ with ample opportunities for oral practice in class. • Use the same types of activities students have practiced in class. • Test students’ in pairs or small groups. • Role-plays are excellent tools for evaluating communicative competence • Humorous role-play could be incorporated into the testing situation. • Teachers need to re-evaluate the evaluation instrument itself: test communicative competence and not only accuracy. • Students’ test anxiety may be lower if they are aware that their communicative competence will be rewarded.
  13. 13. Conclusion O No teacher can guarantee that a class will be anxiety- free; however, teachers should be aware of trying to minimize the anxiety in the classroom to strengthen language learning efficiency. O For further research, there is a need for empirical evidence concerning how effective anxiety reducing techniques are in second language learning classrooms.

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