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

Understanding Chinese Middle School Students' Anxiety in English Speaking Class

    Meihua Liu

This study employed a concurrent mixed method to find out whether Chinese young EFL learners (7th- to 9th- graders) were anxious, what caused them to feel/become anxious in English speaking class, how anxiety affected their learning of (spoken) English, and what differences existed in English speaking anxiety among the learners. Both quantitative (199 questionnaires) and qualitative (8 interviews) data were collected. The major findings were: (1) each grade sample was not anxious when speaking English in class. Few students were afraid to speak English, to make mistakes and to be laughed at in class, (2) the majority did not feel anxious when speaking English, a few did so due to such reasons as peer pressure, fear of making mistakes, fear of losing face, low self-confidence, little/no preparation, little practice, fear of being the center of attention, task difficulty, a limited vocabulary, poor English and wrong pronunciation, (3) anxiety seemed to have a negative effect on students' learning of (spoken) English, and (4) differences occurred in English speaking anxiety levels, causes for and effects of anxiety among the learners in different grades.

Keywords: middle school students, anxiety, English speaking class