No, it is more often those with a high performance level, and good English knowledge, who experience anxiety : A qualitative study of teachers’ experiences of speaking anxiety in Swedish upper secondary school

University essay from Karlstads universitet/Institutionen för språk, litteratur och interkultur (from 2013)

Abstract: The aim of the present study was to explore teachers’ experiences of student anxiety in the subject of English in Swedish upper secondary schools. Five teachers were interviewed to find out about their experiences of what causes anxiety in their students and what strategies they have found work best in order to decrease speaking anxiety. The results showed that the anxious students are usually those with a high performance level and good English knowledge. All participants agreed that the reason for anxiety is that performing in speech is perceived as embarrassing. Students tend to see all speaking activities as tests of their knowledge and are afraid of what reactions they may receive. The most distinct way to identify anxiety turned out to spot students’ withdrawal from all speaking activities in English. The best strategy to reduce speaking anxiety according to all participants was careful formation of groups, since smaller groups with only the closest friends is the best way to work for these students. Interestingly, while all teachers mentioned the benefits of recordings and podcasts, only one teacher used this method exclusively instead of oral presentations.

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