Investigating the Relationship between Iranian EFL Learners’ Language Anxiety and their Willingness to Communicate

Document Type : Original Article

Author

Department of English Language and Literature, Islamic Azad University, Urmia Branch, Urmia, Iran

Abstract

Learning a foreign language, English in this context, and communicating in that language can be an anxiety provoking experience for learners. In other words, language anxiety is a major potential factor affecting EFL learners’ willingness to communicate (WTC). In this study, the researcher made an attempt to fulfill the following purposes: a) the correlation between foreign language anxiety (FLA) and WTC of the students, b) the reasons of FLA among EFL learners, c) the ways to get rid of FLA, and d) the reasons of students’ reticence in English classes. For this purpose, 60 university EFL learners within the age range of 18-22 filled out two questionnaires of Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale and Willingness to Communicate questionnaire. Also, the participants were asked to provide their ideas about the reasons of anxiety and reticence in EFL classes. In order to find the possible relationship between students’ FLA and WTC, one set of Pearson Product correlation analyses was run, the findings of which revealed that there existed a strong negative relationship between EFL learners’ FLA and WTC indicating that students who had high level of anxiety, tended to have low desire to communicate. Moreover, quantitative descriptive approach was used to examine learners’ perspectives towards the two concepts. Teachers’ negative evaluation was the predominant reason of anxiety among learners. Also, the participants believed that EFL teachers have the most important role in easing the level of anxiety by creating a friendlier relationship and less negative evaluation. The choice of topic was also known as the most important reason of reticence among EFL learners. The findings of this study highlight the fact that language anxiety is a great barrier to WTC.

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