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The Study On Anxiety--One Of The Affective Factors In English Teaching

Posted on:2004-11-12Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:H X ShiFull Text:PDF
GTID:2155360092993188Subject:Subject teaching
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The present thesis is an attempt to find out an effective way to solve the affective problems, esp. anxiety, in learning a foreign language, using some basic theories on affective factors, so as to improve our English teaching.The rationalist tradition in Western philosophy has exerted profound influence upon people's understanding of affect, which has long been accorded a subsidiary role. Since the 1920s, the developments in psychology have raised affect to a prominent position. The humanistic psychologists and educators gave express to the view that affect is as legitimate an objective as cognition in education. It was in the early 1970s, language-teaching theorists began to pay consistent attention to the role of affect in language learning. Lately, on the basis of all the above study, Krashen has put forward the Affective Filter Hypothesis, which is very meaningful for a sound understanding of affect in foreign language learning. This hypothesis deals with how affective factors relate to second language acquisition. The stronger the filter is, the less the input will come into the brain.Deeply influenced by the traditional grammar translation method, it's rather late for the Chinese language-teaching theorists to realize the vital importance of affective factors in foreign language teaching. Research on this area began in the 1980s and developed a lot in the 1990s. At the beginning of the new century, the affective factors are put into the "National Course Standard for English" as one of the main teaching objectives.The main affective factors included in this dissertation are attitude, motivation, personality, self-esteem & self-confidence and anxiety. The relationship between students and teachers is also mentioned. The present writer not only explains the factors carefully but also tries to give suggestions on how to bring the positive role of these factors into full play in our teaching.Language anxiety is fear or apprehension occurring when a learner is expected to perform in the second or foreign language. It ranks high among factors influencing language learning. Therefore, it becomes the main concern of this research paper. Although "helpful anxiety" or "facilitating anxiety" is still under doubt, the writeragrees with Brown who considers that both too much and too little anxiety may hinder the process of successful second language learning.From the questionnaires on students' language anxiety, the writer finds out some basic causes leading to their anxiety in foreign language learning. They are the fear of negative evaluation and the lack of ambiguity tolerance. Here are some proposals for diminishing language anxiety: 1) Build up harmonious relations between teachers and students in order to provide non-threatening environment; 2) Encourage moderate risk-taking and tolerance of ambiguity by proper way of correction; 3) Use cooperative learning in foreign language classrooms to reduce anxiety.The experiments on the positive and negative role of anxiety demonstrate that an appropriate amount of tension can make the students attentive in learning a foreign language. Nevertheless, anxiety always plays a negative role in oral communication. The cooperative learning activities are proved to reduce students' anxiety obviously because of its contributions to improving the overall climate of the classroom and its potential for providing supportive and more opportunities for learners to use the language. The last experiment shows that the best way of error correction is to help the students find out and correct the mistakes by themselves.The author suggests that affective factors should be of vital importance in language teaching and both the second language teachers and students should be sufficiently aware of the above affective factors in second language acquisition and avoid of building up high affective barriers, which would prevent the students from learning the target language. We should try to create association of positive affect towards the second language and its speakers as we...
Keywords/Search Tags:affective factors, anxiety, the fear of negative evaluation, tolerance of ambiguity, cooperative language learning
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