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Review Of Related Literature And Studies English Language Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 2867 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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This chapter presents various related literature and studies. Related literature includes commentaries and reviews of other people regarding the reading, language acquisition, and anxiety. Related studies include various researches, thesis, or studies related to the present investigation.

Foreign Literature

Bernhardt (32) believes that is important to recognize that second language reading is a new and different literacy. As such it is a complex social and psycholinguistic process that cannot be separated into reading components and language components. Indeed, it can be hypothesized that second language reading is in part dependent of first language literacy and other language operations.

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Chan and Wu (5) talk about the three perspectives from which research studies on anxiety are conducted. These are trait anxiety, state anxiety, and situation-specific anxiety. Trait anxiety, a motive or acquired behavioral disposition that predisposes an individual to perceive a wide range of objectively non-dangerous circumstances as threatening, and to respond to these circumstances with anxiety state reactions disproportionate in intensity to the magnitude of the objective danger, is relatively permanent and steady personality feature (Spielberger 10). State anxiety is apprehension experienced at particular moment in time, for example, prior to taking exams. This anxiety can be provoked in the confrontation of the perceived threat (MacIntyre & Gardner 157 – 158). However, it is temporary and altered in time. In order to attribute the experience to a particular source, researchers adopt situation specific perspective to the study of anxiety. This perspective focuses on the situations in which anxiety is aroused and this kind of anxiety is therefore termed as situation-specific anxiety. Unlike trait and state perspective, situation-specific perspective requires the respondents to attribute their anxiety to particular sources. Specific situations can offer more understanding to particular anxiety in diverse situations.

Worde (Students’ Perspectives on Foreign Language Anxiety) discusses that some students were unaware of foreign language anxiety, others were unsure, but still conscious of a generalized feeling of uneasiness. He mentions that the inability to comprehend what was being said in the classroom provoked considerable anxiety among students. Other factors which contribute to anxiety include:

Non-comprehension

Speaking activities

Pedagogical and instructional practices

Error correction

Native speakers

Language anxiety, according to Zheng (8) is a pervasive phenomenon, especially among the foreign language learning population. Instead of assuming its generic property as one type of anxiety, it is vital to approach this conceptually complex psychological emotion from diverse angles. Language anxiety is not merely an additional element that is negligible in second/foreign language learning. It is indeed a central emotional construct that is essential in influencing second/foreign language learning. He mentions that language anxiety threshold is a level of language anxiety below which second or foreign language learners feel challenged, yet not overwhelmingly anxious. It is therefore important to understand language anxiety threshold in order to help learners and teachers to be aware of the comfort level of the students.

Due to the characteristics of situation anxiety, “the term situation-specific anxiety has been used to emphasize the persistent and multi-faceted nature of some anxieties” According to Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope (113), foreign language anxiety belongs to situation-specific anxiety.

In the article “Overcoming Language Anxiety”, Guess states that what appears to be a kind of anxiety attack or a case of chronic stage fright could be occurring on college campuses every day. He mentions that students might not be aware of their problem and there could be a number of factors that might affect their learning (par. 3).

Garza, Horwitz, and Saito (204) developed the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) and Foreaign Language Reading Anxiety Scale (FLRAS). FLCAS (Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope 129) was developed to assess the degree to which a respondent feels anxious in a foreign language classroom based on the construct of foreign language classroom anxiety being a composite of communication apprehension, fear of negative evaluation and test anxiety. The scale is a 33-item 5-point Likert scale which includes 24 positively worded and 9 negatively worded items. FLRAS on the other hand elicits students’ self-reports of anxiety over various aspects of reading, their perceptions of reading difficulties in their target language, and their perceptions of the relative difficulty of reading as compared to the difficulty of other language skills. It contains 20 Likert scale items also scored on a 5-point scale. The theoretical ranges of the FLCAS and FLRAS scales are from 33 to 165 and from 20 to 100, respectively.

Local Literature

Foreign Studies

Kimura (iv) conducted a study to investigate second language listening anxiety (L2 listening anxiety) among university students learning English in Japan and demonstrate that L2 listening involves social concerns that are specific to L2 settings. Successful performance in aural interaction presupposes mutual understanding, and L2 listeners have good reason to become anxious when it is doubtful whether they properly comprehend what others say. The verbal data suggested that L2 listening anxiety was receiver-specific in that it involved concerns over comprehending and responding appropriately to aural messages. They also indicated that the levels of L2 listening anxiety were (a) susceptible to individual differences, and (b) influenced by different social situations.

Bordbar and Shariati (179) investigated the interrelationship of Foreign Language Reading Anxiety (FLRA), Reading Proficiency (RP) and Text Feature Awareness (TFA). The study surveyed and analyzed 74 students from Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman. The results indicated that there is no significant relationship between RP and RA, positive significant relationship between RP and TFA and negative significant relationship between TFA and RA. Also results revealed that there is no significant difference between foreign language reading anxiety, reading proficiency and text feature awareness scores of male and female students, as a result; there is no relationship between gender and these three constructs.

Cubukcu (133) researched on the effects of anxiety in the foreign language classroom. The aim was to focus on the relationship between anxiety and second language learning and the ways to cope with anxiety among university students. 120 students were asked to write down the things that led them to feel anxious in the classroom and then the researcher held interviews with these students as to what caused anxiety in the department. The main sources of anxiety were identified as: (a) Presenting before the class, (b) Making mistakes, (c) Losing face, (d) Inability to express oneself, (e) Fear of failure, (f) Teachers, and (g) Fear of living up to the standards. It is concluded that teachers should consider the possibility that anxiety is responsible for the student behaviors before attributing poor student performance to lack of ability, inadequate background or poor motivation.

Zhao (x) explored the subject on the foreign language reading anxiety among learners of Chinese in colleges in the United States. A total of 125 learners of Chinese in a large public research university in the U.S. took part in this survey study. The primary data source came from the two anxiety instruments, namely, Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale and Foreign Language Reading Anxiety Scale and also a background information questionnaire. The findings suggested that reading was as anxiety-provoking to learners of a non-cognate non-western language as speaking did. The unfamiliar scripts were found to be the major source of foreign language reading anxiety, which confirmed one of the hypothesized sources of Saito in 1999.

Song (vi) presented his study, investigating the effects of foreign language reading anxiety on Korean ESL learners’ reading strategy use and reading comprehension. Data were collected from forty-five Korean students who were enrolled in either ESL programs or graduate programs at UT. The students took the foreign language reading anxiety scale (FLRAS) followed by a background questionnaire. Based on their FLRAS scores, six participants who were classified as high, mid, and low anxiety were invited to an individual reading study. The results showed that there is a fair amount of FL reading anxiety among Korean ESL learners. Although it seems at first glance that reading in a FL is not anxiety-provoking, the result indicated that it can indeed arouse anxiety in some learners due to distinct features of FL texts including a different orthography, textual organizations, and cultural topics. The results showed that highly anxious students who were occupied with off-task thoughts tended to use more local strategies while less anxious students employed more global strategies and background knowledge strategies.

Liu and Sammy (1363) surveyed a total of 189 Taiwanese university students from assorted majors at a university in Northern Taiwan to know the potential role of Chinese-English syntactic differences in English reading anxiety. With the use of the Foreign Language Reading Anxiety Scale and the Survey of Anxiety in Reading Chinese-English syntactic differences (SARCE; a self-designed measure), the study showed that Chinese-English syntactic differences in the passive and relative constructions were a significant factor attributing to the participants’ English reading anxiety.

Mohd.Zin and Rafik-Galea (41) presented their findings based on a study which investigated the relationship between reading anxiety and comprehension performance of academic texts among ESL Malay students. A total of 218 first-year low proficiency ESL learners participated in this study. The findings showed that the anxiety influenced the subjects’ reading performance significantly.

Wu (273) conducted a study investigating the relationship between language anxiety (LA) and reading anxiety (RA), and if students’ reading comprehension performance differs across different levels of LA and RA. The issues of whether students’ LA and RA vary with gender and the length of language learning were also explored. The results from two measures of anxiety, and two reading comprehension tests completed by 91 university students showed that RA was related to LA, but they were two different phenomena in foreign language learning. Although reading comprehension performance did not differ significantly with the students in different levels of LA and RA, a general trend of lower LA and RA going with higher performance was identified. Students’ LA decreased with their learning in reading classes while RA showed no differences. These results suggest that students with LA tend to have RA. Decreasing students’ anxiety and creating a low-anxiety classroom environment might help improve students’ reading comprehension performance. Since RA seems to be a more stable construct as compared to LA, coping with RA may require more.

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Le (v) studied the affective characteristics of American college students studying Chinese in China, including their reasons for learning Chinese and studying abroad, their beliefs about language learning and their foreign language anxiety. The students were divided into 3 groups based on their ethnic heritage. The influence of their ethnic languages and cultures and other related background factors on three ethnic groups’ reason, beliefs and anxiety were explored through quantitative analyses and cross-comparison analyses. A total of 133 American students (4.52% of the target population) enrolled in Chinese programs in seven key universities in China participated in this study. The findings of this study showed that American students studying Chinese in China were highly motivated but also highly anxious foreign language learners. A substantial majority of them had a long history of foreign language learning, enjoyed learning languages, and believed that they would ultimately learn to speak Chinese very well.

Garza, Horwitz, and Saito (202) investigated in foreign language reading anxiety. Three-hundred eighty-three students enrolled in first-semester university French, Japanese, and Russian courses (n=192 for French, 114 for Japanese, and 77 for Russian) participated in this study. Two instruments were used in this study: the FLCAS3 and an instrument specifically developed to measure anxiety related to FL reading, the Foreign Language Reading Anxiety Scale (FLRAS). The finding indicates that students with higher levels of FL anxiety also tended to have higher levels of FL reading anxiety and vice versa.

Local Studies

Go, Lucas, and Miraflores (94) conducted a study to determine the causes of anxiety in English language learning of foreign students in the Philippines. Findings suggest that these type of learners used vocabulary strategy to efficiently learn the English language and to cope with their English class anxiety. Two hundred fifty foreign students were the respondents of this study. The target participants were foreign college students taking any course in these institutions provided that they are enrolled in any English course during the time of the administration of the questionnaires. It has been found that the employment of this strategy enables the learners to take charge of their own learning as this serves as their basic aid to learn other macro skills in the target language.

Del Villar (159) identified beginning student’s attributions about their oral communication anxieties. A total of 250 students were included in the study. Results revealed an eight factor model explaining 69.11% of the total variance in the data. The factors are expectation, training and experience, audience, self-worth, rejection, verbal fluency, preparation and previous unpleasant experience.

Cao (73) compared the two models of foreign language classroom anxiety scale (FLCAS). FLCAS was constructed where items reflect the characteristics of foreign language anxiety. There showed two models of FLCAS which are three factor model and four factor model. The three factor model has three domains which are communication apprehension, test anxiety, fear of negative evaluation. The four factor model has four domains which are communication apprehension, test anxiety, fear of negative evaluation, and fear of English classes. The FLCAS was administered to a sample (N=300) and the factors were confirmed using Confirmative Factor analysis (CFA). The results showed that the three factor model of FLCAS has the better fit.

Cequena and Gustillo (280) investigated on the connection between writing anxiety and writing performance. The respondents of the study composed of 17 freshman college students, majoring in Computer Studies. Results of the quantitative analysis of writing anxiety revealed that there is a positive correlation between essay scores (argumentative and definition essays) and writing anxiety.

Balili (1) studied level of language anxiety and its effect on oral performance in English of Teachers College freshmen of the University on Mindanao. Employing the descriptive correlational method, with the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale and Clark’s Four Scale System, it was found out that there was no significant relationship between the two variables since Bouchard’s Picture Talk their language anxiety. The result suggested that a similar study be conducted but using evaluation tools that would clearly gauge that language anxiety and the oral performance of the students.

Synthesis and Relevance of the Related Literature and Studies

The review of related literature and studies is relevant to the present study in coming up with precise analysis and interpretation of data gathered. The previous studies also helped the researcher in preparing the conceptual framework and research paradigm.

The studies conducted by Mohd.Zin and Rafik-Galea, Song, Bordbar and Shariati, and Go, Lucas, and Miraflores are particularly most helpful to the researcher as to the determination of the applicable research method to use.

Garza, Horwitz, and Saito’s study aids the researcher in coming up with the research instrument and statistical procedures to use in the study.

The theories of Krashen’s, Gardner and MacIntyre’s, Eskey, and Horwitz give the researcher insights into the development of conceptual framework for this study.

 

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