A Measure of EFL Public Speaking Class Anxiety: Scale Development and Preliminary Validation and Reliability

Article excerpt

Abstract

The present study contributes to developing a Public Speaking Class Anxiety Scale (PSCAS) to measure anxiety in the EFL public speaking class in the Thai context. Items were adopted from previous scales: Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) by Horwitz et al. (1986); Personal Report of Communication Apprehension (PRCA-24) and Personal Report of Public Speaking Anxiety (PRPSA-34) by McCroskey (1970); and Speaker Anxiety Scale (SA) by Clevenger and Halvorson (1992) based on their critical appraisals. Some minor changes in wordings of adopted items were made to a preliminary PSCAS and were validated. The preliminary PSCAS yielded an internal consistency of .84 using Cronbach's alpha coefficient when administered to 76 participants and was factor-analyzed to establish the construct and the final version. The factor analysis revealed that the PSCAS included the components of communication apprehension, test anxiety, fear of negative evaluation, and comfort in using English in a public speaking class.

Keywords: scale development, critical appraisal, factor analysis, validation, reliability

1. Introduction

In current EFL pedagogic situations, it is known that many students exhibit fear of foreign language speaking. To quote Kim (1998), in Asian EFL classrooms, students manifest less anxiety dramatically in the reading class than the conversation class and this leads to the intuitive feelings of both teachers and students that language classrooms requiring oral communication are found to be more anxiety-provoking than those requiring less speaking. In the Thai EFL context, addressing speaking skill has become a critical part of the processes of learning and teaching because it has been found to be extremely hard for Thai learners to master fluent speaking (Khamkhien, 2010). This can be attributed to the unnatural language often used and the lack of genuine interaction in the language classroom. Sethi (2006) asserts that generally Thais do not reach a level of proficiency high enough to perform well in speaking English. Boonkit (2010) reveals that in the Thai context undergraduate students are not able to speak English with confidence to communicate, especially in real situations with international speakers because they are anxious about making errors. Thus, strengths of English speaking skills are attributed to confidence and competence for them. Forman (2005) states that the unwillingness to communicate on the part of Thai EFL students is that Thai EFL students tend to lose natural feeling of meanings of what has been spoken, leading to the lack of confidence to perform in the medium of the target language, and according to Wariyachitra (2003), the lack of an opportunity to learn English in an English environment or the tendency for students to avoid interaction in daily life makes learning in Thailand unsuccessful.

As such, foreign language classroom anxiety has been proven to affect EFL learners' language performance depending on each individual's anxiety level in different learning situations (Young, 1986; Horwitz & Young, 1991; MacIntyre & Gardner, 1991; Phillips, 1992; and Aida, 1994). To measure the anxiety levels, the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) by Horwitz et al. (1986) has been most frequently used to determine overall foreign language anxiety in the classroom, while in public speaking the most frequently employed scale has been the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension (PRCA-24) by McCroskey (1970), which measures anxiety in different dimensions, such as public speaking, talking in meetings or classes, talking in small groups, and talking in dyads. Accordingly, no research studies have been conducted to determine anxiety levels using a developed scale to tap into speaking anxiety in the public speaking class setting, specifically in the context of Thailand. Therefore, a Public Speaking Class Anxiety Scale (PSCAS) was developed to refine public speaking class anxiety in the Thai EFL context. …