Four Teachers’ Thoughts about Pupils’ Speaking Anxiety in the ESL Classroom

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Four Teachers’ Thoughts about Pupils’ Speaking Anxiety in the ESL Classroom

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Publication Student thesis
Title Four Teachers’ Thoughts about Pupils’ Speaking Anxiety in the ESL Classroom
Author(s) von Kogerer, Sofia
Date 2016
English abstract
Findings by the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (2011), show that some pupils in Sweden feel anxiety when speaking English. This is no surprise to Horwitz, Horwitz and Cope (1986) who state that speaking is regarded to be the scariest part of language learning. To understand the phenomenon of speech anxiety further and to contribute to existing research, the purpose of this study was to investigate what learner speech anxiety is according to four chosen teachers as well as their strategies in dealing with speech anxiety. The teachers play an essential role when dealing with learner anxiety. Not including the pupils themselves is not necessarily a limitation, but a strength: Young (1992) reports that the students’ perspectives have been well-documented, and that investigating the teachers’ point of view might offer new insights on the issue at hand. In retrieving information from the four teacher respondents, semi-structured interviewing was used, adopting pragmatic qualitative research as an approach as well as the two paradigms phenomenology and pragmatism. The teachers perceive speech anxiety in the subject of English to be the learners’ feeling of nervousness, worry and fear stemming from real or imagined insufficient language skills, a fear of making mistakes and being humiliated. To decrease anxiety, the teachers believed ample oral practice in small groups in a supportive environment to be part of the solution. There was, furthermore, strong mutual agreement regarding what not to do: forcing and pressuring pupils to speak when feeling uncomfortable with speaking in front of others.
Publisher Malmö högskola/Lärande och samhälle
Pages 29
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) speech
speaking
anxiety
teacher perspective
English
ESL
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/20139 (link to this page)

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