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Title: Factors influencing foreign language classroom anxiety : an investigation of English learners in four Japanese universities
Author: Effiong, Martins
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2013
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Over the past three decades there has been increasing interest in foreign language classroom anxiety in both EFL and ESL settings. Many empirical studies have used a standardised tool to measure L2 anxiety in different contexts and findings have shown varying associations between L2 anxiety and learning outcomes. However, in EFL settings, the influence of cultural and contextual factors on L2 anxiety and L2 oral communication has not been extensively investigated. This thesis focuses on the nature of anxiety experienced by Japanese learners of English in higher education settings, and explores causative agents by looking into classroom pedagogic, social, cultural approaches without ignoring the impact of the nature of the institutions within which these occur. The research questions aim to explore how foreign language anxiety is influenced by institutional type, pedagogy, teacher and learner variables as well as classroom social factors. In addition, this research aims to explicate the cultural dimension of anxiety experienced in the Asian L2 context and how this affects the development of speaking skills. The study adopted both quantitative and qualitative data collection procedures. The field work took place over a period of four months in four Japanese universities scattered over three prefectures. Whereas one hundred and forty students took part in a survey using a Japanese version of the well-known FLCAS scale, qualitative data was obtained from observing the classes and interviewing twenty four student and four teacher participants. The findings of this study suggest that Asian EFL learners experience different dimensions of anxiety from those reported in generic literature. Additionally, trainee teachers were found to experience higher levels of anxiety than learners in other disciplines. Teaching approaches largely predicted anxiety in the different classrooms studied. Furthermore, the Japanese learners were notably more anxious than their Asian counterparts; an outcome that is explained by cultural differences between the Japanese and other Asians. Finally, other anxiety predictors that emerged from the study were the age of the teacher and their self-presentation, as evidenced in their dress code. The results indicate that while the domains of anxiety experienced by Asian EFL learners are dissimilar to those in other regions, particularly, the Japanese learners differ from other Asians in both their anxiety profile and approaches to acquiring L2 speaking skills.
Supervisor: Mitchell, Rosamond ; Huettner, Julia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB2300 Higher Education