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Volume 15 Number 3, Autumn 2018, Pages 566-899 PDF Download

The Complexity of Speaking Anxiety in a Graduate EFL Classroom

    Jeffrey Dawala Wilang & Thanh Duy Vo

Anxiety among students in non-English speaking learning contexts remains a dynamic construct due to moment-by-moment fluctuations influenced by different variables – teacher, peers, task, among others. To understand the complexity of speaking anxiety, this study presents the results of case studies of two low, moderate, and high anxious graduate students chosen based on their anxiety self-reports. Data sources include a self-report anxiety questionnaire, heart rate monitor, idiodynamic self-rating, observation, and semi-structured individual interview. Each participant was asked to wear a heart rate monitor while speaking and being observed by the researcher. In addition, the participants were asked individually to rate their moment-by-moment anxiety by using the idiodynamic method. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted, transcribed, and coded accordingly. The use of five data sources revealed findings that demonstrate the strength of considering specific short periods of time and individual level studies when investigating speaking anxiety. Methodological implications were generated to investigate the complex nature of anxiety in non-English speaking contexts.

Keywords: speaking anxiety, complex dynamic system, heart rates