Exploring the Factors Responsible for Learners’ Anxiety in Speaking English as a Foreign Language

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Ghulam Ali Buriro
Syed Abdul Aziz

Abstract

It has been observed that despite learners’ seven year (Class VI to XII) consecutive input in English as a compulsory subject at school and college levels in the target context, in addition to their privately-made efforts; they still fail to obtain the desired level of oral proficiency in English as a foreign language. (National Education Policy Reports 2009 to 2013: 27, Higher Education Commission of Pakistan Reports 2009 to 2013: 50 & 164, Gillani, 2004: 5). This is, probably, due to EFL teachers’ lack of attention to the learners’ affective needs during teaching-learning practice. Affect in foreign language learning includes: emotions, feelings, beliefs, personality traits, motivation, learning styles, socio-cultural and psycholinguistic factors. These affective variables may affect the learners’ ability to learn a foreign language. Foreign language anxiety is also one such affective variable (Horwitz, 1986: 125-132). Language anxiety is one of the major factors in learning a foreign language in any context or setting (Hurd, 2007: 488). It is one of the highly examined variables in all psychology and education (Horwitz, 2003: 13). Though, there has been a considerable research in the cognitive domain in learning English as a foreign language, but the aspect of emotion and the way to deal with emotion to maximize positive results in a language classroom has not been explored in Pakistan. The proposed paper thus, aims at exploring the factors responsible for learners’ anxiety in speaking English as a foreign language in the target context.

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