Measuring Language Anxiety in an EFL Context

Choudhary Zahid Javid


It has been reported that the learners in foreign language classes suffer from considerable levels of anxiety because they are faced with the challenge of handling the contents in the medium of the target language they are not very much familiar with. While interacting with their teachers, class fellows and even the textbooks, the students are confronted with different social, cultural and psychological factors that create anxiety in EFL learners that makes their objective of achieving proficiency in the target language rather difficult. The present study is an attempt to identify Saudi EFL learners’ anxiety and its causes by administering FLCAS (Horwitz, Horwitz and Cope, 1986) to randomly-selected 216 freshmen students enrolled in the preparatory year programme at Taif University. The results reveal that Saudi preparatory year students represented by the participants of this study bear medium level of language learning anxiety. Among the four anxiety factors, communication apprehension anxiety remained at the top with an average mean of 3.1 followed by English class room anxiety. Fear of negative evaluation anxiety has been assigned the third position and test anxiety got the least average mean. The following suggestions are forwarded based on the findings of the data analyses that have significant pedagogical implications. It is suggested that EFL teachers should discuss language learning anxiety, its effects and various related issues with the students in the beginning so that they should be on board to minimize foreign language anxiety. It is also highly recommended that the teachers should exploit appropriate teaching methodologies to ensure friendly atmosphere in EFL classes to facilitate learning process. The students should be encouraged to participate actively not only in various class activities but also contribute positively by sharing their likes and dislikes in learning process. The teachers should ensure that the students’ level is taken into consideration while presenting, explaining and practicing the target language. It is important to ensure better teacher-students and students’ mutual relationship for increased interaction in the target language.

Key Words: language anxiety; proficiency; pedagogical implications

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