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Volume 10 Number 1, Spring 2013, Pages 1-131   

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Foreign Language Anxiety: Understanding Its Sources and Effects from Insiders' Perspectives

    Tran Thi Thu Trang, Karen Moni and Richard B. Baldauf Jr.

This paper reports a study that examined the perceptions and experiences of foreign language students and teachers about sources and effects of foreign language anxiety (FLA). A preliminary investigation of the status of FLA in a Vietnamese tertiary EFL context using a sample of 419 non-English major students confirmed the existence of FLA in the research context. Sources and effects of FLA were then examined from the perspectives of 67 students and eight teachers, using interviews and autobiographies. The findings indicate that FLA mainly originated from learner-related factors. Although FLA had both positive and negative impacts, the students reported suffering from anxiety more than benefiting from it. The teachers were found to be aware of potential sources and effects of FLA, but they were not aware of the actual situation of their students. The factors that affected the impact of FLA were also identified. The study suggests that teachers should pay more attention to understanding student FLA, and that the approach to management of FLA should focus on students, and should be a dual-task approach involving minimising negative effects and optimising positive effects of FLA.

Keywords: foreign language anxiety, English as a foreign language, university students, Vietnamese