where the entire population is divided into groups or clusters, and then a random sample of these clusters is selected. Cluster sampling is typically used when researchers cannot get a complete list of the members of a population they wish to study as conducting a study on a widely scattered population would be too expensive, time-consuming, and in the need of more energy and human resources.
In this study, the participants’ age was from 20 to 30 and their native language was Persian. The selected EFL learners were considered as the sample to determine the degree of anxiety among them and how it is related to their motivation and to see whether there is any significant relationship between anxiety, motivation, and their language proficiency. They were attending general English language classes two sessions per week for 17 consecutive weeks in the spring semester of the 2013-2014 Academic Year. They had been studying English for almost seven years since they were in junior and senior school. However, their language proficiency was at the intermediate level according to the results of the language proficiency test, and some of the participants were attending English language classes in language institutes at the time of conducting the present study.
Three instruments were used in this study. The first instrument was the Foreign Language Learning Anxiety Scale (FLCAS), developed by Horwitz, Horowitz, and Cope (1986) which includes 33 statements, each to be rated by the respondents on a 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly disagree) Likert scale (See Appendix I). The statements describe language learning situations in which the degree of anxiety that respondents experience is rated.
The second instrument used to measure learner motivation was a 26-item version of Gardner’s (1985) Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB). The AMTB was originally designed to assess various individual difference variables of Canadian students learning French as a second language. This questionnaire contained 26 items each with six responses: Strongly Disagree (SD), Moderately Disagree (MD), Slightly Disagree (SD), Slightly Agree (SA), Moderately Agree (MA), and, Strongly Agree (SA). In case the items were positive in the light of learning English for communication, the responses were marked respectively as 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and1, and vice versa (See Appendix II).
Finally, a modified version of a paper-based TOEFL test was used to measure the participants’ level of English proficiency. The test included three sections: English grammar and written expressions (20 items), Vocabulary (20 items), a Reading comprehension (10 items), all together consisting of 50 items (See Appendix III). However, the listening and speaking sections of the test were excluded because of the time, facility considerations, and the difficulty of their administrations to the participants. The participants’ scores on the test were used as a measure of their English proficiency level.
Since the instruments used in this study were well-known standard questionnaires and tests, they were assumed to possess a high level of validity and reliability. However, asthe listening and speaking sections of the TOEFL test were excluded; three EFL teachers were asked to review the instruments in order to ensure the validity. According to the teachers, the three instruments had an acceptable level of validity.
A pilot study was also conducted to measure the reliability of the instruments. To do so, 30 students were randomly selected from the target population. The reliability coefficient test was run by SPSS (Version 19) to measure the reliability of the Foreign Language Learning Anxiety Scale (FLCAS), the Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB), and the TOEFL test. The values of Chronbach Alpha were 0.977, 0.940, and 0.890 for these three instruments, respectively. Accordingly, it can be said the reliability of the instruments were high.
3.3 Data Collection Procedures
Before distributing the instruments, the researcher explained the objectives and the significance of the study to the participants and provided some explanations about the instruments that were administered to them. In addition, the participants were asked to answer the questions presented by the instruments accurately and patiently, and they were ensured that their responses and scores would remain confidential and would not be leaked out. Besides, they were informed that their scores would not affect their final scores at the end of the course. Since the instructions and items in instruments were in English, the researcher explained any ambiguous term if needed so that the participants could answer the items as accurately as possible. However, it should be mentioned that the total number of the items in the Foreign Language Learning Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) and Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB) was in total 59 items plus 50 items in the TOEFL test; and thus responding to all the items was very tiresome for the participants. Therefore, the two questionnaires and the language proficiency test were administered in two separate sessions. The two questionnaires were administered in a single session with a 15-minute interval between each administration and the language proficiency test was given in the following session so that the participants’ performance would not to be affected by the administration of the questionnaires.
In order to measure the participants’ language anxiety, the Foreign Language Learning Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) was administered to the participants. The questionnaire consisted of 733 items. The participants were asked to fill out the questionnaire in 25 minutes. Then, the participants’ responses to the items were given a score of 1 to 5 using a 5-piont Likert scale in which 1 showed no anxiety and 5 indicated high anxiety level. Afterward, the collected data were codified and analyzed by SPSS Software Package (Version 19) to find out the extent to which the participants were experiencing language anxiety.
In addition, another questionnaire, Attitude/Motivation Test Battery (AMTB, Gardner, 2004) was administered to the participants to measure their motivation. It consisted of 26 items with a 6-point scale (strongly disagree, moderately disagree, slightly disagree, slightly agree, moderately agree, and strongly agree), and the participants were required to provide their answers to the items in 20 minutes. The participants’ responses to each item were scored 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, respectively.
Finally to explore the relationship between the participants’ language proficiency and their anxiety level, the paper-based TOEFL including 50 items was administered to determine the participants’ English language proficiency. The participants were asked to answer the questions in 60 minutes. The collected data through these three questionnaires were codified and entered into SPSS to test the research hypotheses.
3.4 Data Analysis Procedures
After the administration of the test and questionnaires and collecting data on the students’ language proficiency level, motivation and anxiety, the collected data were analyzed using the SPSS Statistical Package (Version19) in order to answer the research questions. Descriptive statistics such as mean and standard deviation were calculated to determine to what extent the students felt anxious in English language classrooms, and if there was significant differences between male and female learners in this regard. Besides, the participants’ language scores in the proficiency test were used to divide them into two groups of low competent and high competent EFL learners. Then, the level of anxiety was determined for the two groups to see if there were any differences between the participants with higher English language proficiency and those with lower English proficiency concerning the degree to which they experience anxiety.
In addition, based on the answers given by the participants, th
eir motivation for learning English was determined using the descriptive statistics. The level of motivation was also determined for low proficient and high proficient participants and also for male and female participants to find out if there were any differences between the participants with higher English language proficiency and those with lower English proficiency and also between male and female participants.
Pearson product moment correlation was run to determine the correlation between participants’ motivation and anxiety, the correlation between low proficient and high proficient participants’ motivation and anxiety, and correlation between male and female participants’ motivation and anxiety and to determine if possible correlations were significant or not.
3.5 Design of the Study
A correlational-descriptive research design was employed in the present study in an attempt to determine the language anxiety of Iranian EFL learners, to determine the relationship between Iranian EFL learners’ anxiety and their motivation as well as the relationship between Iranian EFL learners’ anxiety and their English language proficiency level.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
This chapter consists of two main parts. The results of the study concerning the participants’ level of anxiety, the relationship between the participants’ level of anxiety and motivation, the relationship between the participants’ language proficiency, level of anxiety, and motivation, and the gender role in the relationship between anxiety, motivation and language proficiency level are presented in the first part. The second parts of this chapter provide a discussion of the findings of the study in the light of previous research done in this field.
4.1 Results of the Study
As mentioned earlier, the aim of the present study was to determine the language anxiety level experienced by Iranian EFL learners, to determine the relationship the participants’ anxiety and their motivation as well as the relationship between the participants’ anxiety and their English language proficiency level. The following section deals with the participants’ level of anxiety in language classrooms.
4.1.1 Participants’ Anxiety Level in Language Classrooms
This section presents the results of the study with regard to the participants’ level of anxiety in language classrooms. Table 4.1 shows the participants’ demographic statistics:
Participants’ Demographic Statistics
As can be seen in the above table, of 80 participants in this study, 35 participants were males and 45 participants were females. Accordingly, 43.8% of the participants were males, and 56.2% participants were females. Table 4.2 presents the descriptive statistics concerning the participants’ level of anxiety:
Descriptive Statistics of the Participants’ Level of Anxiety
As shown in the above table, the mean score of the participants’ level of anxiety is 84.60. Besides, given that the mean scores of the minimum and the maximum levels of the anxiety experienced by the participants are 55 and 112, respectively, it can be said that the participants in this study had relatively a high level of language learning anxiety. On the other hand, if the minimum and the maximum levels of the participants’ anxiety are seen as the two extremes of their language learning anxiety continuum, it is possible to divide this continuum into three parts: low-anxiety, mid-anxiety, and high-anxiety. Accordingly, the participants whose scores fall into one of these parts are divided into low-anxiety group, mid-anxiety group, and high-anxiety group as shown in Table 4.3: