Anxiety

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Anxiety

  1. 1. Individual Differences in SLA: Anxiety Facilitating v. debilitating anxiety “ Facilitating anxiety motivates the learner to ‘fight’ the new learning task; it gears the learner emotionally for approval behavior. Debilitating anxiety , in contrast, motivates the learner to ‘flee’ the new learning task; it stimulates the individual emotionally to adopt avoidance behavior” -- Scovel, T. (1978). The effect of affect on foreign language learning; A review of the anxiety research. Language Learning, 28 , 129–142, p. 139.
  2. 2. Individual Differences in SLA: Anxiety State v. trait anxiety State anxiety is relative momentary, associated with a particular situation – giving a speech, for example. Trait anxiety is a “more permanent predisposition to be anxious” (Scovel, p. 137).
  3. 3. Individual Differences in SLA: Anxiety Interaction among Anxiety and other individual differences Interaction between level of anxiety and IQ level. “Higher states of anxiety facilitate learning at upper levels of intelligence, whereas they are associated with poorer performance at lower IQ levels” (Scovel, p. 136).
  4. 4. <ul><li>Individual Differences in SLA: </li></ul><ul><li>Affective Domain </li></ul><ul><li>Anxiety is one of many affective factors that may influence SLA. Other affective factors include: </li></ul><ul><li>self-esteem </li></ul><ul><li>risk taking </li></ul><ul><li>sensitivity to rejection </li></ul><ul><li>empathy </li></ul><ul><li>motivation </li></ul>
  5. 5. Individual Differences in SLA: Methods / Affect One dominant methodology for SLA studies of the affective domain; Elkhafaifi is no exception: Correlation research
  6. 6. <ul><li>Individual Differences in SLA: Correlation </li></ul><ul><li>In correlation studies, researchers </li></ul><ul><li>develop an instrument / questionnaire to measure some aspect of difference (e.g., level of anxiety); this is called “self-report” data. </li></ul><ul><li>test students on some aspect of language proficiency (vocabulary skills, e.g.), and </li></ul><ul><li>examine the two for strength of correlation, as in: </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Individual Differences in SLA: </li></ul><ul><li>Instruments </li></ul><ul><li>Instruments for affective SLA studies include: </li></ul><ul><li>For extroversion / introversion , </li></ul><ul><li>Eysenck Introversion – Extroversion Scale </li></ul><ul><li>Marlowe – Crowne Scale of Reserved – Outgoing Personality </li></ul><ul><li>For anxiety , </li></ul><ul><li>Sarason Text Anxiety Scale </li></ul><ul><li>Manifest Anxiety Scale </li></ul><ul><li>Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale </li></ul><ul><li>Foreign Language Listening Anxiety Scale </li></ul><ul><li>For sensitivity , </li></ul><ul><li>Mehrabian Sensitivity to Rejection Scale </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Individual Differences in SLA: </li></ul><ul><li>Instruments </li></ul><ul><li>Instruments for affective SLA studies include: </li></ul><ul><li>For empathy , </li></ul><ul><li>Hogan Empathy Scale </li></ul><ul><li>Micro-Momentary Expression Test (facial expressions) </li></ul><ul><li>For tolerance of ambiguity , </li></ul><ul><li>Budner Scale of Tolerance – Intolerance </li></ul><ul><li>For motivation , </li></ul><ul><li>Attitude / Motivation Test Battery </li></ul>
  9. 9. Individual Differences in SLA: Self-Report Data In correlation studies of SLA affect, informants provide information about themselves (about their anxiety, tolerance for ambiguity, motivation, and so on) by completing the instrument (a questionnaire). The results are called “self-report data.” What are the pros and cons of self-report data? Advantages : they provide a fast and easy way of categorizing informants’ affective characteristics. We could categorize informants ethnographically (through observation), but this would require a considerable investment in time and resources. Self-report data represent a trade-off for researchers in time-energy-accuracy.
  10. 10. Individual Differences in SLA: Self-Report Data Disadvantages : Hawthorne effect: Informants may provide data they think the researcher wants to receive. Self-flattery syndrome: They may provide data that present themselves favorably, but which may be inaccurate.
  11. 11. Individual Differences in SLA: Correlation Self-report data are then correlated with some measure of SLA success (test scores, typically), so that researchers can draw conclusions about the relationship between affect (extroversion, self-esteem, anxiety, and so on) and success in SLA. Remember what correlation is not: Causation Correlation simply shows a relationship between two things, not that one causes the other. With that in mind, what is wrong with this statement? “The majority of studies support the view that anxiety contributes to poor performance, not the reverse” (Elkhafaifi, p. 208).

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