Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Study of the Relationship between Female Efl Learners' Shyness, Self-Esteem and Level of Education

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Study of the Relationship between Female Efl Learners' Shyness, Self-Esteem and Level of Education

Article excerpt

1. Introduction:

1.1. Preliminaries:

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the effect of affective domain on language learning due to the arrival of humanistic psychology which shifted researchers' attention from focusing solely on the cognitive aspect of learning to considering both the psychological and cognitive aspects of language learning. Hilgard (1963 cited in Brown, 2000, p. 142) asserted long ago that "purely cognitive theories of learning will be rejected unless a role is assigned to affectivity". Tallon (2009) states that the outcome of the learning process depends on a great many factors, namely: individual differences such as cognitive abilities, personality characteristics, learning styles, meta-cognitive differences, social contexts, and affective aspects. Samimy (1994) puts that researchers in L2 acquisition "seem to agree that the complex process of second language acquisition cannot be adequately explained solely by cognitive or non-affective factors" (p. 30). As a result, the role of affective variables in language learning has received considerable attention. Schuman (1998) asserts that affective factors are the key to successful language learning. Brown (2007) views personality factors as the intrinsic side of affectivity which influences language learning to a great extent. Schuman (1975, cited in CelceMurica, Brinton, & Goodwin (2010, p.21) also states that "personality factors are the heart of second language". Thus, in the domain of language learning, personality factors are subjected to a great deal of language learning studies. Among personality factors, shyness, due to its influence on different aspects of foreign language learning has been the focus of language learning theorists and researchers (Cheek & Buss, 1981; Leary & Schlenker, 1981; Chu, 2008; Bashosh, Abbas Nejad, Rastegar & Marzban, 2013). Chu (2008, p.1) states that "The experience of learning a foreign language, for most learners, is not only a process that is cognitively demanding, but also emotion-laden". She further asserts that since there is an ongoing performance evaluation by the teacher and the classmates in language classes, the situation "can be daunting for most learners, especially those who are shy, due to their fear of negative evaluation and desire for approval from others". Alavian & salmasi ( 2012, p.91) put forward that shy learners are "less adept at expressing themselves during social encounters, and are hence more likely to be left out from the main stream practice of the education". Thus, shy student's language learning process is impeded because according to Richards, Platt & Platt (1992, cited in Alavinia & Salmas, 2012, p.94) an important characteristic of successful second language learning is for the students to be "willing to undertake actions and try out hunches about the new language and take the risk of being wrong" (p. 137). Furthermore, shy people experience behavioral inhibition such as being reticent and timid, displaying gaze aversion because they do not wish to make an undesirable impression on others (Cheek & Buss, 1981; Lea ry & Schlenker, 1981). Mahir (2004, p.7) asserts that "inhibition is linked with the negative attitude that prevents learners from learning another language due to the belief that they are incapable of performing well in any language practice". This evokes the concept of self-esteem in the mind because as Coopersmith (1967, cited in Mahir, 2004, p.18) states "self-esteem is a personal judgment of worthiness that is expressed in the attitudes that the individual holds towards himself". According to Willoughb y, King, and Polatajko (1996), self-esteem is "the overall value that one places on oneself as a person" (para. 4); consequently, for successful achievement self - esteem plays a crucial role.

Due to the fact that in most foreign language classrooms shyness, accompanied by self-esteem, can greatly affect different aspects of foreign language learning, the present study attempted to probe into the nature of the relationship between EFL learners' shyness level and their self-esteem. …

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