Anxiety and Willingness to Communicate in Language Learning: A Case Study
Mohammad Mahmudul Haque
Abstract: This case study attempts to find out the role of individual differences (IDs) in language learning of an advanced Bangladeshi EFL learner who aims to study at a graduate level program in Education at a North American university. A two-phase structured questionnaire interview has been conducted in which phase one comprises 40 openended questions with a general structure that attempts to find out the various personal characteristics of the interviewee, namely ‘personal profile,’ ‘learning history,’ linguistic background, etc. In phase two, there are two sub-phases, and the questionnaire in the first sub-phase focuses on four IDs namely ‘personality,’ ‘learning style,’ ‘anxiety,’ and ‘willingness to communicate,’ with a general research question concerning the effects of these IDs on the interviewee. In the second sub-phase, the researcher narrows down the focus of the research question to the two most important IDs influencing the interviewee’s learning of English, namely ‘anxiety’ and ‘willingness to communicate.’ For the second sub-phase of phase two, the researcher uses four quantitative measurement scales, two measuring the interviewee’s anxiety (adapted from Horwitz and Horwitz, 1986) and the other two measuring her willingness to communicate (adapted from Macintyre, 2001) both inside and outside of classrooms. The results show that the interviewee feels very anxious and addled in the classroom whereas she feels quite the opposite outside the classroom. Naturally, her willingness to communicate in the classroom is very low as she does not enjoy the teacher-centered deductive presentations of grammar rules. Also, the interviewee’s personality has a decisive effect on her language learning. Being an extrovert outside class and quiet in the class, she does not enjoy her academic success per se. Finally, there is a comparison between the researcher and the interviewee’s language learning experience revealing a number of similarities and differences between them.
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Published in 2015