Using Group Work as a Remedy for EFL Teacher Candidates’ Listening Anxiety

Pamukkale University, Faculty of Education, Denizli, TURKEY.
DOI: 10.14689/ejer.2017.71.3


Problem Statement: The ubiquity of anxious teacher candidates (TCs) for English as a foreign language (EFL) in listening classes and their needs for understanding aural input call for deep concern by foreign-language (FL) teacher educators.

Purpose of Study: As a teacher educator, in my undergraduate-level listening classes, I have frequently observed anxious TCs who are training to be language teachers. The study aligns with the humanistic techniques of work as a remedy for anxious TCs.

Methods: The convergent parallel mixed method used in the study aimed to trace the impact of group-work design on a group of TCs’ FL listening anxiety with the help of two scales, the Foreign Language Listening Anxiety Scale (FLLAS) and the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) and with pre- and post-instruction interviews conducted at the beginning and end of an academic semester.

Findings and Results: According to the analysis of the quantitative data, the use of group activities in a listening class was not observed to contribute to the reduction of either learning- or listening-anxiety levels significantly, but TCs’ views collected through interviews indicated a decrease in their stated causes and effects of FLLA in the final interviews. In regard to the causes of listening anxiety, the TCs’ past FL education, their failure to understand the spoken form of some words, their lack of concentration, and number of unknown words were the most frequently stated causes. In regard to the effects of foreign-language listening anxiety, the participating TCs frequently referred to their poor listening comprehension, fear of speaking, and fear of listening. For coping with their listening anxiety, all of the participants emphasized that the only remedy was to improve their listening.

Conclusions and Recommendations: Overcoming listening anxiety requires long periods of practice with a FL. Fortunately, learners today have numerous opportunities to access aural and visual contexts.

Keywords: Listening anxiety learning anxiety, EFL, teacher education.