Identifying Emotions and Thoughts Related to Speaking Anxiety: Laying the Groundwork for Designing CBT-based Support Materials for Anxious Learners
Keywords:Japanese EFL classroom, cognitive-behavioral therapy, foreign language anxiety, language learner emotions, speaking-related anxiety
Students describing feelings of anxiety and a lack of confidence for speaking in a foreign language can be a common phenomenon in the context of Japanese higher education. We believe that cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques can be used to help such learners overcome these feelings. A scenario-based questionnaire, adapted from Gkonou and Oxford’s MYE (2016), was designed in order to examine a number of speaking situations which were thought to induce anxiety, the emotions students associate with these situations and why they feel them, whether there are any situational factors influencing their
perceptions, and what coping strategies they may or may not use. Using data collected from 85 first-year English-language majors, we found that ‘You want to say something in English in class, but you don’t’ was the most negatively rated scenario. This was reported as a frequent occurrence and was also a scenario where they lacked coping strategies to deal with their negative emotions. The data also show that there are notable, significant correlations between how frequently students experience any of the given scenarios and how they rate their emotions, with the more frequently a scenario is experienced, the more negatively it is evaluated. This data will be utilised to design CBT-based activities to reduce anxiety in the foreign language classroom.
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