英语水平和学科专业对研究生英语学习焦虑影响研究

英语水平和学科专业对研究生英语学习焦虑影响研究

来源:www.51fabiao.org作者:lgg发布时间:2015-06-08 17:29论文字数:32625字
论文编号:fbo201506051001516239论文地区:中国论文语言:English论文类型:硕士毕业论文
The purpose of the present study is to investigate non-English majorpostgraduates’ language learning anxiety and what levels of anxiety they experience.It tries to explore the effect of academic major, English proficiency on languagelearning anxiety

Chapter One Introduction


1.1 Research Background
Individual difference variables such as aptitude, motivation, emotion andlearning strategies have been recognized as influential factors in foreign language (FL)learning (Dornyei, 2007). Of all the individual difference variables, anxiety is theaffective factor with the most potential to significantly affect language learning(Horwitz, 2001). Some findings show that students with higher anxiety are prone tobe less confident than others. They tend to become uncomfortable in the presence ofpeers in the classroom or when faced with academic tasks; they are often worriedabout making mistakes and loosing face; and they fear criticism, negative evaluation,and judgmental remarks. All these may make individuals to be quieter and less willingto communicate. Considering this, it is rather important and essential to conduct aresearch on the effects of foreign language anxiety on the foreign language classroom(Ellis, 1994; Frantzen & Magnan, 2005; Young, 1991).The research by Horwitz et al. (1986) is the pioneer work for the study onforeign language e anxiety. Horwitz et al. believed that foreign language anxietywas responsible for students’ negative emotional reactions to language learning. Theyclassified three components of foreign language classroom anxiety: communicationapprehension, fear of negative evaluation, and test anxiety. Since then, studies onforeign language anxiety have been flourishing, using the Foreign LanguageClassroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS). Meanwhile, they also used other data collectinginstruments such as diaries, journals, or interviews, and observations. Some studieshave concentrated on specific types of anxiety in relation to foreign language learning,and they pertained to different language learning skills, such as foreign languagewriting anxiety (Horwitz, & Schallert, 1999; Daly & Miller, 1975), foreign languagereading anxiety (Saito, Garza, & Horwitz, 1999), and foreign language listeningcomprehension anxiety (Kim, 2000; Vogely, 1998), foreign language speaking anxiety(Horwitz, 2001; Phillips, 1992; Price, 1991). In addition, relationships between FLanxiety and FL performance have also been of interest. Scovel (1978) reviewed thestudies from the 1970s, and found positive, negative, or non-significant relationshipsbetween students learning anxiety and their language performance (Rodriguez, 1995; Sellers, 2000; Yan & Horwitz, 2008).
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1.2 Purpose and significance of the present study
The purpose of the present study is to investigate non-English majorpostgraduates’ language learning anxiety and what levels of anxiety they experience.It tries to explore the effect of academic major, English proficiency on languagelearning anxiety. In addition, this study tries to examine the potential factors thataffect students’ language learning anxiety. It is hoped that the research findings anddiscovery can give us some suggestions to deal with the problems in languageteaching process. Finally, this study tries to offer some implications that can helpcultivate a comfortable and relaxing language learning environment, so that studentscould learn English in a better and more efficient way.This study will be of great significance for both students and educators. Aftergaining a deep understanding of students’ anxiety, teachers can take various strategiesto reduce students’ anxiety. Also, educators can help students to improve their Englishachievement through curriculum reform and improve teaching methods. Meanwhile,different variables such as academic major and high and low achievement in thisstudy will provide information for teachers to guide their teaching. Meanwhile, thestudy has the potential to yield a rich understanding of learners’ perceptions of howanxiety functions in their language learning, which, in turn, might lead to a clearunderstanding of the general role of anxiety in language learning.
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Chapter Two Literature Review


2.1 Definition of language learning anxiety
Anxiety is a natural mood, which can occur frequently in our humanpsychological experience. According to the famous psychologist Spielberger, anxietyis defined as "the subjective feeling of tension, apprehension, nervousness and worryassociated with an arousal of the autonomic nervous system"(Spielberger, 1983).According to Scoval’s definition, anxiety is “apprehension, a vague fear that is onlyindirectly associated with an object” (Scoval,1978). In spite of this profusion, wecan broadly define anxiety as the psychological tension that the subject goes throughin performing an object.In fact, language learning anxiety is a kind of anxiety limited to the languagelearning situation (Horwitz, et a1, 1986). Gardener and MacIntyre (1993) maintainthat language learning anxiety should be seen as “a stable personality trait referring tothe propensity for an individual to react in a nervous manner when speaking in thesecond language.” However, researchers have investigated specific types of anxiety inrelation to foreign language learning, such as, foreign language writing anxiety(Cheng, Horwitz, & Schallert, 1999), foreign language reading anxiety (Saito, Garza,& Horwitz, 1999), and foreign language listening comprehension anxiety (Kim, 2000;Vogely, 1998). Therefore, foreign language learning anxiety can be identified as “thefeeling of tension and apprehension specifically associated with second language (L2)contexts, including speaking, listening, and learning” (MacIntyre & Gardner, 1994).
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2.2 Classification of language learning anxiety
Trait anxiety is defined as an individual’s likelihood of becoming anxious in anysituation (Spielberger, 1983). It is a relatively stable quality and varies according tohow individuals have conditioned themselves to respond to and manage the stress.What may cause anxiety and stress in one person may not generate any emotion inanother. The person who usually perceives varieties of situations as dangerous orthreatening are often quite easily stressed and anxious, i.e. the person who suffershigh trait anxiety would be likely to become apprehensive frequently in mounts ofdifferent situations. Therefore trait anxiety is perhaps best viewed as an aspect ofpersonality. According to the research, anxiety has been proved to impair cognitivefunctioning, to disrupt memory, to lead to avoidance behaviors, and to have otherseveral other efforts (Eysenck, 1979).
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Chapter Three Research Methodology .........18
3.1 Research questions......18
3.2 Subjects .........19
3.2.1 Survey subjects ........19
3.2.2 Interview subjects ....19
3. 3 Instruments..........20
3.4 Data Collection and analysis.....22
Chapter Four Results and discussion.....24
4.1 General tendency of English Learning Anxiety.......24
4.2 Language learning anxiety and language proficiency ........26
4.3 Differences of language learning anxiety between students....33
Chapter Five Conclusion and Implications .....38
5.1 Major Findings in this Study.....38
5.2 Pedagogical implications for English teaching and learning.....39
5.3 Limitations of the Study and Suggestions for the Future Research.........42


Chapter Four Results and discussion


The present chapter sought to address the research question mentioned in lastchapter. Section 4.1 describes general tendency of English learning anxiety ofnon-English major postgraduates. Section 4.2 presents differences in learning anxietybetween high proficiency students and low proficiency students, and then explorescorrelations between students’ proficiency level and English learning anxiety.Section 4.3 explains differences of language learning anxiety between students fromliberal arts and those from science majors. As shown in the table, the minimum anxiety score and the maximum anxietyscore of the subjects in the study is 53 and 127 respectively, with a mean score95.55(SD=13.33). This finding is quite similar to that of Horwitz's (1991) 94.5 andthat of Aida's (1994) 96.7.Next, I divided the participants into three groups according to their level ofanxiety: high anxiety, medium anxiety and low anxiety (see Table 4.2). As the resultsshow, twenty-eight (15%) participants in the study scored between 53and 80, with amean score of 73.46 (SD=7.22). I considered these students as low-anxiety students.One hundred and thirty participants (70%) scored between 81 and 106, with a meanscore of 93.27(SD=7.12), and I considered them to be average-anxiety students. Thefigure 1 indicates that the number of FLA in this population of students was very big.Finally, 28 participants (15%) scored between 107 and127, with a mean score of114.97 (SD=5.42), and I considered this group of students as high-anxiety students.The distribution of scores (grouped at 10-point interval) presented on the histogrambelow (see Figure 1) shows that, the largest number of students was in theaverage-anxiety range.


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Conclusion


This study explored the language learning anxiety of non-English majorpostgraduates in Jiangxi Normal University and examined the effect of languagelearning proficiency and academic major on students’ language learning anxiety. Theresults of this study can be summarized as follows:Firstly, the results obtained from this study show that this group of students had amoderate level of language learning anxiety in EFL learning. However, their level oflearning anxiety was lower than many other students in the previous studies. Besides,the majority students in this study suffer the fear of negative evaluation most and testanxiety least.Secondly, some significant differences were found between high proficiency andlow proficiency learners in terms of language learning anxiety, with the formerscoring higher on the anxiety scale. The higher the language proficiency level, thehigher the anxiety levels.Thirdly, regarding the significant difference between liberal arts and sciencemajor students, the researchers found a significant difference between these twogroups students. Both liberal arts and science students suffer the fear of negativeevaluation most and test anxiety least.
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Reference (omitted)