Language Anxiety: A Case Study of the Perceptions and Experiences of Teachers and Students of English as a Foreign Language in a Higher Education Institution in the United Arab Emirates
Date: 31 March 2015
University of Exeter
EdD in TESOL
Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety (FLCA) is considered a situation-specific anxiety experienced in the context of the foreign language classroom (MacIntyre & Gardner, 1991a, 1991b, 1994). Despite the growing interest in investigating and exploring the potential causes and manifestations of language anxiety in many Western and Far ...
Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety (FLCA) is considered a situation-specific anxiety experienced in the context of the foreign language classroom (MacIntyre & Gardner, 1991a, 1991b, 1994). Despite the growing interest in investigating and exploring the potential causes and manifestations of language anxiety in many Western and Far Eastern countries, the potential sources of this complicated phenomenon have not been widely researched and identified in Arab EFL contexts. The importance of this research rests on a paradigm, which attests the existence of substantial variation through which FLA is experienced not only across cultural groups Horwitz (2001) but also across regions within a specific country (Yan and Horwitz 2008). In order to fill the gap in literature, this mixed method research design study explored and investigated possible factors associated with language anxieties and the coping strategies used by students to alleviate its existence in the hope that the findings contribute to current related literature. Therefore, the current case study comprised two phases. The first phase explored the scope and severity of language anxiety among all Foundation level male students at a Federal college in the UAE. In the second phase of the study, quantitative data were collected using two inventories and one scale with the purpose of investigating the anxiety levels, effects, sources, and beliefs of language learners. In addition, interviews were undertaken with a sample of teachers and students. Focus group (FG) interviews with students were conducted to gain a deeper understanding of the possible sources of anxiety about language learning and its manifestations, as well as consideration of the strategies that may be used to alleviate its negative effects. The purpose of the 1:1 interviews with the teachers was to explore their views and experiences of the phenomenon of language anxiety. Observations of language sessions were also conducted to triangulate the data gathered from the inventories and the teacher and student interviews. The findings show that some of the student participants in this case study experienced moderate to high levels of anxiety in the second language classrooms. Feelings of anxiety could be attributed to a number of interrelated personal and situational related variables. The findings paved the way for a number of implications and recommendations for future research.
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