Foreign Language Anxiety

anxietyWe are asked often to name the one thing EnglishCentral does best. There are a lot of benefits to using EnglishCentral and we aren’t shy about sharing them;

  • motivating content that is current and up to date
  • large amounts of graded listening (input) material
  • vocabulary presented in context and at the students’ level
  • allowing students to notice their language and compare against a model
  • immediate pronunciation feedback and progress data
  • great reports and tools for teachers to manage student learning
  • 24/7 access for all students through their own device

However, there is one thing we do best, one thing that trumps them all – we allow learners to lower their anxiety when studying English. This has a dramatic effect on their successful study and practicing of the language.

FLA, Foreign language anxiety is a well research phenomena that effects a large number of language students. They experience stress, doubt, fear, apprehension, decreased confidence, bewilderment, negative emotions when encountering / studying a foreign language.  Student achievement suffers.  It can get so bad that students aren’t even able to speak or respond – they just freeze up.

EnglishCentral gives students a secure, comfortable, non-judgmental practice area. We hear so often from teachers how they are so surprised by the results from their once “quiet” students upon using EnglishCentral over an extended period of time.  Teachers relate how practice on EnglishCentral helped give “anxious” student more confidence because they could practice until they were ready to use their language in a communicative, public setting. EnglishCentral also gave students more control over the learning process, unlike a traditional classroom. Students were less overwhelmed and could repeat language and move at their own pace.

So if we have to say one thing we do best, we’ll say we lower student anxiety significantly. This itself leads to dramatic student results, anxiety and affective factors being such impediments to language learning.

The Foreign language anxiety scale (Horwitx, 1986) is a nice likert scale questionnaire teachers can give their students to assess their levels of anxiety. Give it in the students’ first language if possible (google and you’ll find many translated versions. Here’s the English version.).

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