Foreign language anxiety (FLA) is perceived as a negative factor influencing learners’ language achievement. Targeting Chinese overseas students, this paper investigates whether communicative confidence, fear of negative evaluation, attitude towards using English in workshops and trait anxiety are related to Chinese students’ speaking anxiety. The present study also aims to examine how students perceive their speaking anxiety and coping strategies both from teachers and students. The questionnaire and the semi-structured interview were adopted for data collection. 80 TESOL students at the University of Edinburgh were invited to complete the questionnaires, with 6 students participating in the interviews to get deeper insights into Chinese students’ perception of their speaking anxiety. Research findings revealed that communicative confidence, fear of negative evaluation, attitude towards using English in workshops and traits anxiety were strongly related to Chinese students’ speaking anxiety. In the interviews, 6 respondents commented that instructors’ characteristics, such as patience and humor, and their preparation before class can alleviate their speaking anxiety in workshops. It is hoped that the current study can contribute to a deeper understanding of Chinese students’ speaking anxiety in UK universities.
The main aim of this paper is to verify the assumption that pronunciation learning during a course of phonetics is hindered by the feeling of anxiety (Phonetics Learning Anxiety) experienced by foreign language (FL) learners studying English as their major at universities or colleges. A study carried out among 32 students of the School of English at Wroclaw University (Poland) revealed a significant negative correlation of moderate strength between the subjects’ level of Phonetics Learning Anxiety (PhLA) and their attainments on pronunciation tests (sentence, passage and word reading) conducted after a 45-hour (30x90-minute lessons) course of practical phonetics. The detrimental effect of PhLA on pronunciation learning was further supported by t-tests, in which the pronunciation of high anxiety subjects was found to be at a significantly lower level than that of low anxiety students.
The Phonetics Learning Anxiety Scale, a 44-item questionnaire based on a 6-point Likert scale, designed for the purpose of the research sheds light on the nature of this peculiar type of apprehension experienced by advanced FL learners in a specific educational context (i.e. a traditional classroom, rather than a language or computer laboratory), in which the major focus is on pronunciation practice. The obtained quantitative data imply that such factors as fear of negative evaluation (represented by general oral performance apprehension and concern over pronunciation mistakes, pronunciation self-image, pronunciation self-efficacy and self-assessment) and beliefs about the nature of FL pronunciation learning are significant sources of PhLA. Anxiety about the transcription test (IPA Test Anxiety) - one of the other hypothetical determinants of PhLA - did not prove to be correlated with the general level of Phonetics Learning Anxiety
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