Observing Anxiety in the Foreign Language Classroom: Student Silence and Nonverbal Cues
Keywords:student silence, language anxiety, nonverbal cues of anxiety, classroom observation, Japanese university foreign language classroom
This study looked at multiple forms of silence and nonverbal cues of language anxiety in the foreign language classroom to explore their functions from the perspectives of students. Using the Classroom Oral Participation Scheme (COPS) developed by King (2013), 18 hours of observation produced data on learners’ verbal and non-verbal participation behaviours in Japanese university EFL classes. The data was analysed using the COPS participatory categories. Three recurring forms of silent L2 behaviour were identified: short responses, use of L1, and non-talk. Semi-structured follow-up interviews were carried out with 14 studentswhose silent behaviour was observed and transcribed into a corpus of 43,711 words. In addition to facilitative functions of silence such as cognitive processing, interviewees reported using silence to navigate interpersonal interactions with their classmates and fear of negative evaluation by peers. Findings illustrate how anxious learners may limit social exchanges in the target language for image protection purposes. For example, some students used short responses to avoid revealing a different opinion to their partner that might lead to an awkward interaction. The results suggest that awareness of nonverbal cues and silent behaviour - with multiple forms and functions, should be explored further as an approach to detecting language anxiety in EFL contexts.
- 2020-07-23 (2)
- 2020-06-26 (1)
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2020 Authors
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
The authors retain copyright over their work under a creative commons 4.0 agreement (CC-BY-SA). This means that authors are free to:
Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.
Under these terms:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.
No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.