Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 11 : 5 May 2011
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.
         L. Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.





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An Investigation into the Causes of English Language Learning Anxiety in Students at AWKUM

Zafar Iqbal Khattak, M.A. and Ph.D. Scholar
Muhammad Gulfraz Abbasi, M.A. and Ph.D. Scholar
Tanveer Jamshed, M.A.
Mirza Naveed Baig, M.A. and Ph.D. Scholar


It has been generally acknowledged that many an individual faces intrapersonal difficulties in learning a second/foreign language. Anxiety is one of them. The purpose of the present study is to investigate the factors that cause language anxiety among English Department students at Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan (AWKUM), Pakistan and to devise strategies for reducing the effect of language anxiety.

The researchers carried out the study by administering FLCAS (Horwitz et al. 1986) to 62 AWKUM students, and by conducting semi-structured interviews with 10 volunteer students. The findings from FLCAS and semi-structured interviews showed that the students felt anxious of making mistakes and about teachers' correcting their mistakes in the classes; they felt nervousness about failing the exams; and, moreover, it was also found that the students' poor socio-economic backgrounds developed a sense of marginalization among them vis-a-vis foreign language use. Again, the poor return rate of the FLCAS also shows the students' feeling anxiety regarding foreign language.

The study recommended that language teachers should adopt purely learners-centred teaching methods. A low- anxiety and supportive learning environment should be created inside the classrooms.

Keywords: English Language Learning Anxiety; FLCAS; AWKUM

1. Introduction

With the emergence of English as a global language, its importance and usage has also got manifold. Almost every second prospective international student, who wants to engage himself in further studies, has to learn and attain a certain level of English proficiency. However, many a learner expresses their inability and sometimes they even acknowledge their failure in learning English as a second/foreign language. These learners may be good at learning any other skill but, when it comes to the skill of learning another language, they claim to have a 'mental block' against it (Horwitz et al., 1986:125).

In many cases, students' feeling of stress, anxiety or nervousness may impede their language learning and performance abilities. Many a researcher believes that anxiety is the major hurdle to be overcome while learning English or any other foreign language. Anxiety experienced in learning English language can be debilitating and may influence students' achievements of their goals.

The present study was carried out for probing into the causes of English language learning anxiety at the department of English in Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan (AWKUM) Pakistan. Hopefully, it would benefit the students as well as teachers at AWKUM and across Pakistan, helping them in reducing the effects of language anxiety.

2. The Aim of the study

The main purpose of our study was to know about some of the factors that may cause English language learning anxiety among students in AWKUM. Previous research studies have shown that language anxiety is caused due to some psychological, social, and cultural factors. The fact that language anxiety is a psychological construct, it most likely stems from the learner's own 'self', i.e., as an intrinsic motivator (Schwartz, 1972; cited in Scovel 1991: 16).

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Zafar Iqbal Khattak, M.A., Ph.D. Scholar
Lecturer, English Language Centre
Al-Musanna College of Technology
Sultanate of Oman

Muhammad Gulfraz Abbas,i M.A., Ph.D. Scholar
Lecturer, Department of English
Asghar Mall College Rawalpindi Pakistan

Tanveer Jamshed, M.A.
Abdul Wali Kahan University
Mardan Pakistan

Mirza Naveed Baig, M.A., Ph.D. Scholar
National University of Modern languages
Islamabad Pakistan

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