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Speaking anxiety: An obstacle to second language learning?
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Language is a system for communication, for that reason it is evident that communication skills are a big part of learning a language. To practice speaking is therefore a central part of English lessons in schools today. However, to make students speak the target language is not always easy and there can be several different reasons why this is the case. The current study investigates one possible reason, namely speaking anxiety and its influence on second language acquisition. The study’s purpose was to examine how a teacher can encourage students to communicate orally but also to learn why the phenomenon is not dealt with more in schools. The study is mainly based on literature but also contains an interview with two upper secondary teachers. It is found that speaking anxiety inhibits students from speaking which has a negative effect on their oral skills. The study also shows that speaking anxiety is not a prioritized problem in schools, a reason can be that speaking anxiety is not seen as a problem concerning language teaching since it can be considered as a social difficulty. Nevertheless, since oral proficiency is a big part of the English course in the Swedish upper secondary school, speaking anxious students have a harder time mastering the goals for education than other students. In order to encourage speaking in a classroom it is important to strive for a pleasant atmosphere where every student can feel relaxed and motivated to communicate orally. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 27 p.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-10831Archive number: HEU:C11:27OAI: diva2:453921
Subject / course
English language education
Educational program
Education – upper secondary school
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2011-11-10 Created: 2011-11-03 Last updated: 2011-11-10Bibliographically approved

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