Anxiety in the Foreign Language Classroom: An empirical study of foreign language anxiety experienced by a group of Australian university students studying spoken Chinese

Liu, Shu-Fong Shirley (2007). Anxiety in the Foreign Language Classroom: An empirical study of foreign language anxiety experienced by a group of Australian university students studying spoken Chinese MPhil Thesis, School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies, University of Queensland.

       
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Author Liu, Shu-Fong Shirley
Thesis Title Anxiety in the Foreign Language Classroom: An empirical study of foreign language anxiety experienced by a group of Australian university students studying spoken Chinese
School, Centre or Institute School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Dr Chiu-Yee Cheung
Subjects 420100 Language Studies
Abstract/Summary Foreign Language Anxiety is a complex phenomenon that has been found to be a predictor of foreign language achievement. Many researchers have studied the proposed notion of language anxiety in the second language classroom. MacIntyre (1995) maintained that language anxiety can play a significant role in creating individual differences in both language learning and communication. In Young’s Interviews (1992), Krashen, Young, Omaggio Hadley, Terrell, and Rardin acknowledged that speaking in the foreign language probably produces the greatest amount of anxiety in language learners. Horwitz et al. (1983) developed the FLCAS (Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale) from their research and empirical studies in order to capture the specific anxiety reaction of a learner to a foreign language learning setting. The main purpose of this study was to test Horwitz et al.’s construct of foreign language anxiety by validating an adapted FLCAS for students of Chinese. Most published research has focused on anxiety in learning Western languages, such as Spanish, French, and German. It was hoped that the results of this empirical study using a non-Western language would shed new light on the concept of foreign language anxiety and would expand its scope and implications. This study investigates and examines students’ perspective on speaking in the Spoken Chinese classes at different levels (Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced classes) over two consecutive semesters during 2004 at The University of Queensland. Objectives of the study include: (1) investigate and compare the perception of first and second semester students’ foreign language anxiety in Spoken Chinese classes at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels; (2) assess the reliability of the FLCAS when it is applied to a non-Western language; (3) compare the contributions of the different factors associated with Foreign Language Anxiety; (4) correlate the results obtained from foreign language anxiety and students’ performance; (5) investigate the role of anxiety contributing to student attrition in foreign language courses at university; and (6) identify the educational implications of the findings with the aim of creating a less stressful language classroom environment. More generally, the results of this empirical study of second language anxiety in learning Chinese should further elucidate the concept of foreign language anxiety established in studies of Western languages and expand the scope and implications of these concepts.

 
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