social-evaluative anxiety, which were shown to have a negative effect on production. The students with high communicative anxiety tended to have lower scores on free recall on the paired-associates learning task and oral and written vocabulary tests.
Horwitz, Horwitz and Cope (1986) have found that anxiety typically relates to listening and speaking. Speaking in class is most frequently difficult for anxious students even though they are pretty good at responding to a drill or giving prepared speeches. Anxious students may also have difficulties in discriminating sounds and structures or in catching their meaning. Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope (1991) also state that over-studying sometimes makes students so anxious, and it causes errors in speaking or on tests.
MacIntyre and Gardner (1994), in a study on 97 college students who were learning French, concluded that compared with more relaxed learners, students with anxiety find it more difficult to express their own views and tend to underestimate their own abilities. They also found that in the three stages of language acquisition including, input, processing, and output, anxiety, and learning achievement are negatively correlated.
Matsuda and Gobel (2004) examined the relationships between general foreign language class-room anxiety (FLCA), foreign language reading anxiety (FLRA), gender, extended overseas experience, and classroom performance. The results of their study suggested that the factor related to self-confidence in speaking English seemed to be significantly affected by overseas experience. Following this, the first-year student subgroup data was analyzed for possible predictors of success in required English classes. It was demonstrated that self-confidence in speaking English, gender, and proficiency played an important role in classroom performance of first-year students.
In a more recent study, Andrade and Williams (2009) reported Japanese university students’ reactions to anxiety-provoking situations in English-as-a-foreign language (EFL) classes. Overall, the findings indicate that some degree of anxiety affected 75% of the learners and that the debilitating aspects of anxiety strongly hindered about 11% of them. As another important finding, it was noted that many students enter their university EFL classes expecting to experience an anxiety-provoking situation and that anxiety is likely to significantly hinder the performance of some students.
However, it should be noted that there is not a clear-cut boundary between variations of foreign language anxiety and there is sometime an overlap between them. For example, a study conducted by MacIntyre and Gardner (1989) to measure the three types of language anxiety, i.e., communication apprehension, test-anxiety and fear of negative evaluation, suggested that that communication anxiety includes fear of negative evaluation as well. The findings of the previous studies also show that there exists a significant correlation between foreign language anxiety and fear of negative evaluation (Kitano, 2001).In another study, Koralp (2005) aimed to investigate the anxiety levels of learners to determine the relationship among different types of anxiety. It was noted that there is a positive correlation between test anxiety and fear of negative evaluation.
In addition, language learning anxiety may be found among language learning with regard to the components of the language or four language skills. For instance, speaking anxiety has been addressed in the literature as one of the components of the language learning anxiety. Horwitz et al. (1986) beleive that learners suffering from foreign language speaking anxiety report feelings of apprehension, worry, and uneaseness about speaking in class. For these learers only correct English must be spoken and comparing their skills with native speakers of the target language makes them fear that their pronunciation is not perfect enough. In addition, Kitano (2001) argues that as the speaking skill is usually the first thing that learners compare with that of peers, teachers, and native speakers, learners who are faced with their teachers’ questions that they must answer and the possibility of talking in front of the whole class, may have difficulty concentrating, and experience some symptoms like nausea and sweating. Such anxious learners tend to skip classes, exhibit some disruptive behavior in class, or quit studying altogether. In the same way, Gregerson (2003) suggests that anxious learners suffer from mental blocks during spontaneous speaking activities andlack confidence. Such learners are less able to self-edit, identify language errors, and are more likely to employ avoidance strategies such as skipping class.
Listening anxiety occurs when students feel they are faced with a task that is too difficult or unfamiliar to them. This anxiety is sever if the listeners are under the false impression that they must understand every word they hear (Scarcella & Oxford, 1992). Listening anxiety is defined as a reaction developed against listening and it can show itself either emotionally in the form of unhappiness, anger and fear, or physically in the form fast heartbeat and sweating. The assessment following the listening process and the features of the material to be listened are thought to be the reasons of listening anxiety (MacIntyre & Gardner, 1991). According to Kim (2000), there are various reasons for anxiety that can negatively affect listening comprehension.Listening anxiety generally emerges when students face a difficult or new listening situation, and it exacebates when listeners cannot hear the words, misunderstands what they hears or makes wrong inferences from them. Tobias (1986) recommended that listening anxiety could be addressed in three main phases: before listening, during listening, and after listening. Factors that could arouse anxiety before listening are distraction and lack of information on the material to be listened to. These factors hinder the effective listening process. To make the matter worse, the level of anxiety may increase after listining if the listener fails to establish a link between the new and previous knowledge. However, as MacIntyre and Gardner (1989) suggested, with the improvement of learners’ listening skill, negative influences of anxiety begain to disappear and their positive experiences start to grow. Therefore, the importance of educational environments and tasks further increases. These environments and tasks should be designed in a way that they enable students to be successful when they exhibit the required performance and they should enable them to gain experience about different listening tasks. Besides, listening situations should appeal to learners’ everyday lives and interests. Therefore, it is necessary to present examples from the daily life to students during listening skill exercises in order to increase their positive experiences. Authentic environments can be useful in this regard.
A further point that should be emphasized here is that the anxiety that accompanies the listening comprehension tasks is the one that is most easily ignored because the goal of most classroom activities focuses on the speaking skill. Besides, listening comprehension is more often than treated as a passive skill that will “happen” during the regular classroom activities. Teachers often anticipate anxiety on the part of speakings students and expect them to stumble and hesitate. To prevent this, teachers engage in all kinds of structured practice to help the learners overcome their fear of speaking. Listening comprehension anxiety can undermine speech production because the listener must first understand what is being said. Therefore, such anxiety should not be ignored, but actively addressed.
Melanlioglue (2013) studied listening anxiety, listening comprehension and impact of authentic tasks on both listening anxiety and comprehension to determine the impacts of authentic tasks in teaching listening on decreasing
students’ listening anxiety and increasing their levels of listening comprehension. To do so, a quasi-experimental design with pretest-posttest control groups was used. The study group consisted of eighth-grade students in a public school in Turkey. Listening Anxiety Scale for Secondary School Students and Listening Comprehension Tests were used as instruments to collect data. Findings of the research showed that using authentic tasks for the listening skill has a positive influence in terms of decreasing listening anxiety and improving listening comprehension.
Reading anxieity occurs when L2 readers read second language texts to decode unfamiliar scripts, writing system, and cultural materials. In the case that learners encounter difficulty induring the process of readingthey may get frustrated with reading, and experience anxiety. The anxiety aroused during the process of reading L2 texts is known as reading anxiety (Saito, Horwitz, & Garza, 1999). Reading anxiety is related to language anxiety but it is disticnct from language anxiety (Saito et al., 1999). Reading anxiety may affect the process of reading comprehension. As a case in point, Hsu (2004) explored reading anxiety and reading comprehension of 125 junior military college EFL students and found that anxious students tended to recall less content of the text than less anxious students. In the same way,Sellers (2000) also studied the possible relationship between language anxiety and reading comprehension among foreign language university students. The results indicated that that reading anxiety was related to, but distinct from, language anxiety. It was also noted that learners with high reading anxiety and language anxiety could recall less content of the reading material.
Wu (2011) conducted a study in Taiwanese English as a foreign language reading class to explore the relationship between language anxiety and reading anxiety, and whether students’ reading comprehension performance differs across different levels of language anxiety and reading anxiety. Whether students’ language anxiety and reading anxiety vary with gender and the length of language learning was also explored. The results indicated reading anxiety was related to language anxiety, but they were two different aspects of foreign language learning. Although reading comprehension performance did not differ significantly with the students in different levels of language anxiety and reading anxiety, lower language anxiety and reading anxiety were related to higher performance. Besides, there was no difference in language anxiety and reading anxiety based on the participants’ gender. Students’ language anxiety decreased with their learning in reading classes while reading anxiety showed no differences. These results suggest that students with language anxiety tend to show reading anxiety.
Writing anxiety or writing apprehension refers to “the dysfunctional anxiety that many individuals suffer when confronted with writing tasks” (Cheng, 2002, p. 647). Compared to foreign language communication apprehension, writing apprehension seems as a distinct typeof anxiety arising from the uniqueness of the written communication process. According to Madigan, Linton, and Johnson (1996), “distress associated with writing and a profound distaste for the process” constitute the two main effects of anxiety about writing on prospective writers (p. 295).
Concerning writing apprehension in English learning contexts, Leki (1999) claimed that although writing is the most private and self-controlling language skill, it makes EFL learners experience a kind of writing block. In addition, Cheng, Horwitz, and Schallert (1999) found a significant moderate correlation between second language classroom anxiety and second language writing anxiety. This shows that these two types of
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