‘UNDER THE MAGNIFYING GLASS’: STUDENTS’ PERSPECTIVES ON ORAL PRESENTATIONS AND ANXIETY IN THE EFL CLASSROOM

Zsuzsa Tóth

Abstract


This research was prompted by a perceived conflict between the pedagogical implications of research into anxiety in the context of second language (L2) learning and some of the instructional practices employed in language classrooms. It examines learner anxiety in relation to a frequently used classroom activity: the oral presentation. The participants were Hungarian university EFL students’ (N=39), who, as part of their course requirements, were asked to give a 5-10 minute classroom presentation in one of their regular language development classes. To examine students’ affective responses to this experience, data were collected in two phases. To have a quick survey of their immediate reactions, right after their talk participants were requested to rate on ten-point rating scales (1) how pleasant/unpleasant they felt during the presentation and (2) how much anxiety they experienced. To elicit an in depth account of their perceptions of and feelings about presenting their talks, they were invited to reflect upon their experiences in more detail, answering a set of open-ended questions within 24 hours. Based on participants’ self-ratings of anxiety and overall feelings during the talk and their post-presentation reflections, the paper explores how anxiety-provoking it is for students to give an L2 classroom presentation, what the specific sources of anxiety over oral presentations are, and how important a role anxiety plays in shaping learners’ subjective experience of delivering a speech in the target language. Giving insights into participants’ views on the gains and pains of oral presentations the study has important implications for foreign language teachers.

 

Article visualizations:

Hit counter

DOI

Keywords


anxiety, oral presentation, public speaking, affective factors, emotional reactions, positive/ negative emotions, feelings, language learning experiences, EFL

Full Text:

PDF

References


Arnold, J. (2011). Attention to affect in language learning. Anglistik. International Journal of English Studies, 22/1, 11-22.

Baker, S. C., & MacIntyre, P. D. (2000). The role of gender and immersion in communication and second language orientations. Language Learning, 50, 311-341.

Brooks, G. & Wilson, J. (2014). Using oral presentations to improve students’ English language skills. Kwansei Gakuin University Humanities Review, 19, 199-212.

Dewaele, J-M. & MacIntyre, P. (2014). The two faces of Janus? Anxiety and enjoyment in the foreign language classroom. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 4(2), 237–274.

Ely, C. M. (1986). An analysis of discomfort, risk taking, sociability, and motivation in the L2 classroom. Language Learning, 36, 1- 25.

Ewald, J. D. (2007). Foreign language learning anxiety in upper-level classes: Involving students as researchers. Foreign Language Annals, 40(1), 122-142.

Girard, T., Pinar, A. M., & Trapp, P. (2011). An exploratory study of class presentations and peer evaluations: Do students perceive the benefits? Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 15(1), 77–93.

Horwitz, E. K., Horwitz, M. B., & Cope, J. (1986). Foreign language classroom anxiety. The Modern Language Journal, 70, 125-132.

Horwitz, E. K. (2001). Language anxiety and achievement. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 21, 112-126.

Horwitz, E. K. (2017). On the misreading of Horwitz, Horwitz and Cope (1986) and the need to balance anxiety research and the experiences of anxious language learners. In C. Gkonou et al. (Eds.), New Insights into Language Anxiety: Theory, Research and Educational Implications (pp.31-47). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Kim, S-Y. (2009). Questioning the stability of foreign language classroom anxiety and motivation across different classroom contexts. Foreign Language Annals, 42(1), 138-157.

King, J. (2002). Preparing EFL learners for oral presentations. Dong Hwa Journal of Humanistic Studies, 4, 401-418.

Koch, A. S. & Terrel, T. D. (1991). Affective reactions of foreign language students to natural approach activities and teaching techniques. In E. K. Horwitz, & D. J. Young (Eds.), Language anxiety: From theory and research to classroom implications (pp. 109-127). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

MacIntyre, P. D. (1999). Language anxiety: A review of the research for language teachers. In D. J. Young (Ed.), Affect in Foreign Language and Second Language Learning: A Practical Guide to Creating a Low-Anxiety Classroom Atmosphere (pp. 24-45). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

MacIntyre, P. D. (2017). An overview of language anxiety research and trends in its development. In C. Gkonou et al. (Eds.), New Insights into Language Anxiety: Theory, Research and Educational Implications (pp.156-177). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

McCroskey, J. C. (1984). The communication apprehension perspective. In J. D. Daly and J. C. McCroskey (eds.): Avoiding Communication Shyness, Reticence and Communication Apprehension. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.

Price, M. L. (1991). The subjective experience of foreign language anxiety: Interviews with anxious students. In E. K. Horwitz, & D. J. Young (Eds.), Language anxiety: From theory and research to classroom implications (pp. 101-108). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Tóth, Zs. 2011. Foreign language anxiety and advanced EFL learners: An interview study. Working Papers in Language Pedagogy 5: 39–57.

Tóth, Zs. 2017. Exploring the Relationship between Anxiety and Advanced Hungarian EFL Learners’ Communication Experiences in the Target Language: A Study of High- vs. Low-anxious Learners. In C. Gkonou et al. (Eds.), New Insights into Language Anxiety: Theory, Research and Educational Implications (pp. 156–177). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Ushioda, E. (2012). Motivation: L2 learning as a special case? In S. Mercer et al. (Eds.), Psychology for Language Learning: Insights from Research, Theory and Practice (pp. 58-73). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Yashima, T. (2012). Willingness to communicate: Momentary volition that results in L2 behaviour. In S. Mercer et al. (Eds.), Psychology for Language Learning: Insights from Research, Theory and Practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 119-135.

Young, D. J. (1990). An investigation of students’ perspectives on anxiety and speaking. Foreign Language Annals 23, 539-553.

Young, D. J. (1991). Creating a low-anxiety classroom environment: What does language

anxiety research suggest? The Modern Language Journal, 75, 426-439.

Young, D. J. (Ed.). (1999). Affect in Foreign Language and Second Language Learning: A Practical Guide to Creating a Low-Anxiety Classroom Atmosphere. Boston: McGraw-Hill.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright © 2015. European Journal of Foreign Language Teaching (ISSN 2537-1754) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing GroupAll rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms.

All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).