Foreign Language Learning Anxiety in Upper-Level Classes: Involving Students as Researchers


  • Jennifer D. Ewald

    1. Saint Joseph's University
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      Jennifer D. Ewald (PhD, University of Minnesota) is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Linguistics at Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Abstract: While both the causes and effects of students' language learning anxiety have been a frequent focus of many investigations, few have explored anxiety in the context of upper-level language classrooms. Through a qualitative analysis of questionnaire data obtained from 21 advanced students of Spanish, this study found that, indeed, many of these students did report experiencing anxiety in upper-level courses, perhaps an unanticipated setting given students' relatively higher levels of proficiency. Students highlighted many issues related to their anxiety and confirmed findings of previous investigations; specifically, they pointed to the key role of the teacher in producing and relieving anxiety. In addition to considering anxiety in an unexplored context, this study serves as a model for involving students in research related to language learning.