Relating Oral Classroom Anxiety and Unwillingness to Communicate to Linguistic Proficiency

By Magogwe, J. M. | NAWA: Journal of Language and Communication, December 2010 | Go to article overview

Relating Oral Classroom Anxiety and Unwillingness to Communicate to Linguistic Proficiency


Magogwe, J. M., NAWA: Journal of Language and Communication


Introduction

Speaking English is very important, but yet remains a challenge to English as a Second Language (ESL) learners. This has been confirmed by previous researchers (Horwitz and Cope, 1986, Phillips, 1992, Scott, 1986). As a result, educators, professionals and other stakeholders have developed interest in helping ESL learners to improve their oral English skill (Phillips, 1992:14). The University of Botswana (UB) ESL learners are not an exception to the speaking challenges facing other ESL learners in other parts of the world. To help them, the UB has a Communication and Study Skills Unit (CSSU) responsible for developing, among other skills, the oral skill both at first year and post year one levels. The CSSU offers two compulsory communication and study skills courses to first year students, one in semester 1 and the other in Semester 2. These courses are tailored to meet the needs of the students in their respective faculties. Among other things, students are expected to participate in oral class presentations which constitute part of their continuous assessment mark (CA).

Despite the measures that have been put in place to help the UB students, experience shows that they still do not orally participate satisfactorily in class, especially at first year. For instance, Akindele and Trennepohl (2008:156) found that Botswana students "become passive and non-responsive when they do not understand what is being taught, and are afraid to ask". They claim that these students "are sometimes shocked and pleasantly surprised when they are forced to participate in class ... and they remain quiet". One then wonders whether these students' lack of participation in class is a result of oral classroom anxiety and/or unwillingness to communicate, and whether this can also be linked with proficiency. It should be noted that most of the students used in this study, except for some of those in the faculty of humanities, are non- English majors. Similarly, Liu (2006) used non-English majors.

As is the case with Liu (2006), Botswana students do not have much access or chance to speak/use English, although increasing importance has been attached to using the language, especially in speaking and writing in the country. Botswana learners have little contact with English or English native speakers. They mostly contact English in school because English is an official language in Botswana, and is also a subject and a language of instruction in the schools. Botswana is a southern African country sharing a border with Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Foreign language anxiety

Foreign language anxiety is a complex, multidimensional phenomenon referring to "the feeling of tension and apprehension specifically associated with second language (L2) contexts, including speaking, listening and learning" (MacIntyre & Gardner, 1994: 284). Anxiety has been found to impede learning to speak another language (Horwitz, Horwitz and Cope, 1986:125). Horwitz et al. (1986:125) define anxiety as "the subjective feeling of tension apprehension, nervousness, and worry associated with an arousal of the automatic nervous system." They further indicate that, "just as anxiety prevents some people from performing successfully in science and mathematics, many people find foreign language learning, especially in classroom situations, particularly stressful" (Horwitz et al. 1986:125).

Horwitz et al. (1986) identified three components of FL anxiety: communication apprehension, test anxiety, and fear of negative evaluation. Firstly, they define communication apprehension as "a type of shyness characterised by fear of or anxiety about communicating with people" (p. 127). According to Liu & Jackson (2008:72) "People who typically have trouble speaking in groups are likely to experience even greater difficulty speaking in an FL class where they have little control over the communicative situation and where their performance is constantly monitored". …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Relating Oral Classroom Anxiety and Unwillingness to Communicate to Linguistic Proficiency
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.