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Anxiety in SLA

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Anxiety group1 slideshare

  1. 1. Anxiety and Willingness to communicate Chris Jinhee Masayo Philip
  2. 2. Anxiety • Anxiety in foreign languages is the same anxiety experienced in other contexts such as a music performance, interviews and tests • “Some individuals report experiencing intense feelings of apprehension, tension and even fear when they think about foreign languages” (Ortega, 2009;p200). • . • There are many symptoms of anxiety but the two most common are freezing up and blanking.
  3. 3. Symptoms of Anxiety • Freezing up is when, in the case of a foreign language, a learner is unable to make utterances due to the immense anxiety that they feel and are unable to communicate. • This can occur in many contexts such as public speaking, contests, interviews or even in front of peers. • Blanking is when what the learner wants to communicate cannot produce what they want to even when the learner has the knowledge of what they want to produce. • This may happen in such situations as tests and various conversational contexts. • The vast majority of us have experienced freezing up and blanking in various contexts, not just language.
  4. 4. How to Measure Anxiety • Horwitz et al (1986) developed the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS). • It consists of 33 statements about production of and attitude to foreign language learning that are measured on a five point scale of how strongly the learner agrees with the statements. See an example on the following slide.
  5. 5. How to Measure Anxiety • MacIntyre and Gardner (1994) developed the Input, Processing and Output Anxiety Scales (IPOAS). • It consists of 18 statements that focus on the anxiety caused at the input, processing and output stages. • Input via listening or reading, processing via comprehension and meaning, and output via speaking or writing.
  6. 6. Anxiety and Performance • Learners that have low-anxiety levels usually perform better than learners that have high-anxiety levels. • “…high, debilitating levels of anxiety do interfere with academic achievement in foreign language classes…[and can result in] slower speed in their learning and processing…underestimate their true L2 competence and…engage in risk-avoiding behaviours…” (Ortega, 2009; p201)
  7. 7. Reasons for Anxiety • There are many reasons for why learners have anxiety when studying a foreign language. • Low self-esteem was found to be one factor of anxiety by Onwuegbuzie et al. (1999). When students feel pressure to perform in the L2, lack of confidence can contribute to anxiety and L2 performance. • Horowitz (1988; 2000) contributed the sense of failure to high- levels of anxiety. For example when students learn a new word but can’t reproduce it perfectly, either through spelling or pronunciation students become stressed. This perfectionist attitude can sometimes have a negative effect.
  8. 8. Anxiety • Anxiety can lead to learners freezing and blanking when using the L2. • Two methods that are used to measure anxiety are the FLCAS and the IPOAS. • High-anxiety can result in lower production and achievement in the L2, whilst low-anxiety can result in higher production and achievement. • Self-esteem, confidence, pressure and perfectionist attitudes can all contribute to the levels of anxiety a student may feel.
  9. 9. WTC • WTC : Willingness to Communicate • Anxiety has been studied under WTC construct in the field of communication in the 1980s and was imported into SLA a decade later by Canadian researchers (Clement and MacIntyre) (Ortega 2009 p2002) • WTC in the L1 is associated to a complex of personality sub-traits such as introversion, shyness, apprehension of communication and reticence.
  10. 10. WTC and L2 • WTC in the L2 is independent from WTC in the L1 (Baker and MacIntyre, 2000) • Communicative Confidence in the L2 contributes greatly to WTC in the L2. • According to Clement, L2 communicative confidence can be measured by how relaxed or nervous they are (anxiety, an affective variable ) and how competent or incompetent they feel (self-perceived competence, a cognitive self- evaluation variable)
  11. 11. Anxiety, Competence and L2 Frequency • Positive or negative feelings of anxiety and competence are related to the frequency and quality of past L2 contact. • Communicative anxiety and self-perceived confidence are shaped by past experiences through contacts with L2 speakers and both contribute to the degree of L2 communicative confidence. • Speakers in a high-use L2 environment have developed higher communicative competence and have successful experiences. Therefore, any slight negative experience has a great impact.
  12. 12. Willingness to Communicate in a Second Language: The Japanese EFL Context, Yashada (2002) • This study examined the relationships among L2 learning and L2 communication variables using the WTC model and the socio-educational model (the relationships among attitudes, motivation, and achievement) as a framework. • The participants were 377 Japanese students majoring in information science at a coeducational university in Osaka. They were freshmen who had selected English among seven choices as their primary foreign language to study. (269 or 71.4% males, 107 or 28.4% females, and 1 unknown).
  13. 13. L2 communication model used to investigate the relations among the variables
  14. 14. Some important conclusions • Merely having motivation does not seem to be sufficient for an individual’s being willing to communicate; he or she needs to have confidence in his or her L2 communication. • As expected, attitude toward intercultural communication or international interest directly influenced WTC in the L2. Such individuals are also more motivated to study English, and this motivation, in turn, contributes to proficiency and confidence in L2 communication. • In order to encourage students to be more willing to communicate in English, EFL lessons should be designed to enhance students’ interest in different cultures and international affairs and activities, as well as to reduce anxiety and build confidence in communication.
  15. 15. Thank you for watching our presentation