Anxiety in the L2 Classroom

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Introduction According to MacIntyre, et. al (1997, p. 266), “affective factors may systematically bias the self-assessment of language proficiency.” This statement helps me understand my L2 learning and provides a rationale for my experience this semester. In this paper, I will examine the role of anxiety in my concurrent L2 learning and my strategies in managing it. I will also examine the close relationship between my anxiety and motivation. My Background I grew up in a bilingual household, speaking both English and Tagalog. In addition, I studied five languages in both academic contexts and abroad. It’s no surprise then that I enjoy studying foreign languages (and decided to pursue an MA TESOL degree). I am currently enrolled in a beginning level Mandarin course at CCSF. Class meets once a week for 3 hours. I chose Mandarin as my language because I feel it would help me better understand the students I tutor at SFSU and how to better help them learn ESL. Also, Mandarin is a useful language to know, given the current state of global affairs. In the Classroom There are 30 students in my class – which consists of both heritage learners (of all levels) and first time learners. Since the class is large, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to work one on one with the teacher, resulting in a lot of pair/group work. Since there are a lot of heritage language learners in the class, I almost always end up working with them on class assignments. One of the most frustrating moments for me this semester was working with this group of learners. When working together on tasks (practicing dialogue, completing worksheets), I felt that I couldn’t keep up. I ... ... middle of paper ... ... E.K., Horowitz, M.B., and Cope, J. (1986). Foreign language classroom anxiety. The modern language journal, vol. 70, No. 2, pp. 125-132 MacIntyre, P.D., Noels, K.A., and Clement, R. (1997). Biases in self-ratings of second language proficiency: the role of language anxiety. Language learning, 47:2, pp. 265-287 MacIntyre, Peter D. (2002). Motivation, anxiety and emotion in second language acquisition. In Peter Robinson (ed.), Individual differences and instructed language learning (pp. 45-69). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Noels, K. A. , Pelletier L. G. , Clement R. , & Vallerand R. J. (2000). Why are you learning a second language? Motivational orientations and self-determination theory. Language Learning, 50:1, 57-85. Ortega, L. (2009). Understanding second language acquisition. New York: Hodder Arnold/Oxford
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