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YABANCI DİL ÖĞRENME KAYGISI VE BAŞARI: ÇANAKKALE ONSEKİZ MART ÜNİVERSİTESİ ÖĞRENCİLERİNİN DURUM DEĞERLENDİRMESİ

FOREIGN LANGUAGE LEARNING ANXIETY AND ACHIEVEMENT: A CASE STUDY OF THE STUDENTS STUDYING AT ÇANAKKALE ONSEKİZ MART UNIVERSITY

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DOI: 
http://dx.doi.org/10.7827/TurkishStudies.7732

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Abstract (2. Language): 
Anxiety is described as an uncontrollable state that can make the language learning situation problematic and stressful. This study investigates the degree of language anxiety of Turkish university students. It also examines the relationship between foreign language speaking anxiety and achievement. Introduction It is true that learners bring many individual characteristics to the learning process. Anxiety, as one of the learner characteristics, has been subject to a considerable amount of investigation (Williams and Burden, 1997). According to Freud, anxiety is “an unpleasant affective state or condition similar to dread or nervousness, with physiological and behavioral manifestations” (Spielberger, 1972. cited in Kunt, 2001). As for language learning anxiety, it is defined as a “distinct complex of self-perceptions, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors related to classroom language learning arising from the uniqueness of the language learning process” (Horwitz et al. 1986, p. 128). In recent years foreign language researchers have paid considerable attention to the effects of anxiety on language learning and demonstrated that language anxiety is most closely related to the acquisition of a foreign language (Horwitz et al., 1986). The research on language anxiety has addressed three key issues: (1) the sources of language anxiety, (2) the nature of the relationship between language anxiety and language learning, and (3) how anxiety affects learning. Thus, this study focuses on determining the foreign language anxiety levels of Turkish university students studying at the ELT department of Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University and aims to find out the relationship between their anxiety level and oral communication achievement. To this end, this study addressed four research questions: 1- What is the degree of language learning anxiety among first year ELT students? 2- What is the anxiety level difference among the students according to their gender?3- What is the anxiety level difference among the students according to their age? 4- Is there a relationship between the students’ speaking anxiety levels and achievements? Review of research into language classroom anxiety and language learning Although there is a wide agreement about the sources of language anxiety in classroom settings, there is less agreement about the relationship between language anxiety and learning. Ellis (2008) identifies three positions: (1) anxiety facilitates language learning, (2) anxiety has a negative impact on language learning, and (3) language anxiety is the result of difficulties with learning rather than their cause. Eysenck and MacIntyre (1979; 2002. cited in Ellis 2008) noted that low levels of anxiety can lead to more effort and facilitative anxiety leads to increased motivation. Chastain (1975) found that measures of anxiety were positively related to marks achieved by one group of audio-lingual French learners, indicating that learners with higher levels of anxiety did best. However, Language anxiety generally has been found to have a negative effect on learning. Horwitz et al., (1986) found a negative correlation between foreign language anxiety and the grades students expected in their first semester language class. Their research indicated that students with higher levels of foreign language anxiety both expected and received lower grades than their less anxious friends. Similarly, in an Asian EFL context Kim, (1998) found significant negative relationships between FLCAS scores final grades of the participants. The research on issue in Turkey seems to be limited. Kunt (1997) investigated beliefs about language learning and foreign language anxiety and found lower levels of foreign language anxiety in Turkish-speaking university students of English. Aydın et al. (2006) investigated the test anxiety level of Turkish students as EFL learners and its reasons, effects and results on foreign language learning by found that participants usually had a high level of anxiety. Dalkılıç (2001) conducted a study focusing on the relationship between anxiety and achievement of the Turkish EFL students. In the study, test anxiety was not the focus but a factor that has an effect on language anxiety. In a similar research study, Batumlu and Erden (2007) examined the relationship between foreign language anxiety and students’ English achievement and found that for all levels of students, there was a significant negative relationship between students’ foreign language anxiety and their English achievement at the significance level of 0.45. In the present study, the researcher aimed to investigate the foreign language speaking anxiety experience and the relationship between speaking anxiety and success of English-major students. It is hoped that the findings will contribute to the field and help teacher-trainees and trainers be aware of the role of anxiety on speaking and spend effort to cope with it.Methodology The main objective of this study is to review foreign language classroom anxiety experience and examine the relationship between their anxiety level and achievement. To this end, a quantitative research method was employed. The research study was conducted at the ELT Department of Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University in the spring term of 2010-2011 academic year. The data were collected from 77 first year students consisting of 50 females and 27 males. The research instrument used for this part of the study was a translated version of the FLCAS designed by Horwitz et al. (1986), which had demonstrated satisfactory reliability co-efficient. The researcher compiled the survey scores and final Communication Skills Course scores and conducted a statistical analysis to look for correlations among the scores. Results and Discussions The research results showed the existence of considerable level of anxiety in the foreign language classes. This is a general problem of Turkish ELT learners who cannot speak in front of others even though they know English grammar well. Furthermore, this might be due to their being less motivated, not having enough self-confidence or practice to speak in English. It is known that in Turkey developing the speaking and listening skills of foreign language learners are always neglected. The data analysis also showed that there was a significant difference between the means of anxiety scores of male and female students (t= -2.154; Sing. = .034). In all the anxiety categories, the anxiety levels of the female students were higher than those of male students. This might be due to the social structure of Turkish society in which females are shy and more oppressed by their families. However, the anxiety level differences of students according to their age, was only significant in the listening category. Although the role of age was significant in this study and this was supported by Aydın et al. (2006) who found that younger learners felt less confident, less relaxed and more anxious than older students, it ought to be replicated. As for the correlations among the scores, a significant relationship was observed between the participants` anxiety level and success. It was revealed that while the speaking scores were falling, the anxiety levels were rising. This might be due to the fact that more anxious students cannot express themselves freely and inevitably they score lower points. There have been a number of studies in instructional contexts with different languages using the FLCAS with parallel results (Horwitz et al. (1986); Aida (1994); Kim, (1998). The results of this research study supported teachers’ and students’ intuitive feeling that language classrooms in which students communicate orally were anxiety provoking. These findings are supported by all the study findings given above. Students’ cross-cultural contact may help the development of their communicative competence and increase their motivation and decrease of language use anxiety. So it seems reasonable to provide ELT students opportunities to interact with native speakers in some contexts to lessen their speaking anxiety. Besides, instructors should keep in mind that every mistake students make should not be corrected since it can decrease students’ motivation and it is necessary to make the artificial classroom teaching atmosphere as natural as possible. The researcher assumes that changing some automatic behaviors of students requires considerable awareness and commitment, effort and time and help of teachers. A further step should be demonstrating some strategies to cope with their anxiety and providing more natural, stress-free situations for the students.
Abstract (Original Language): 
Son yıllarda insanlar küreselleşmenin bazı alanlarında olumlu tutumlar sergilemeye, başka ülkelerin televizyonlarını izlemeye, müziklerini dinlemeye başlamış ve daha hızlı seyahat ve iletişim kurma olanaklarına sahip olmuşlardır (Aydın, 2014). Bu anlamda İngilizce, bir yabancı dil olarak bütün dünyada ortak anlaşma dili olarak kullanılmaya başlanmıştır. Kaygı, yabancı dil öğrenmeyi problemli ve stresli hale getiren, kontrol edilemeyen bir durum olarak tanımlanır. Bu çalışma üniversitede okuyan Türk öğrencilerin ne derece yabancı dil kaygısı duyduklarını araştırmaktadır. Bu çalışma aynı zamanda yabancı dil konuşma kaygısı ile başarı arasındaki ilişkiyi de incelemektedir. Veri toplama ve analiz aşamalarında nicel araştırma yaklaşımı benimsenmiştir. Nicel veriler, Yabancı Dil Sınıf Heyecan Ölçeği (FLCAS), (Horwitz et. al.,1986) kullanılarak toplanmıştır. Ayrıca öğrencilerin Güz dönemi konuşma dersi final dönemi notları derse giren hocalarından temin edilmiştir. Ölçek Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart Üniversitesinin İngiliz Dili Eğitimi Bölümü birinci sınıfındaki 77 öğrenciye uygulanmıştır. Toplanan nicel veriler SPSS 15,0 içindeki betimsel istatistik, t-test, ANOVA and Reali Alpha-Cronbach teknikleriyle analiz edilmiştir. Nicel veri analizleri öğrencilerin değişik düzeylerde yabancı dil kaygısı duyduklarını ortaya çıkarmıştır. Kız öğrencilerin bütün kaygı gruplarında kaygı düzeylerinin erkeklerden daha fazla olduğu görülmüştür. Öğrencilerinin kaygı düzeyleri ile başarıları arasında önemli bir ilişki olduğu da görülmüştür. Bunun anlamı, kaygı düzeyi yüksek olan öğrencilerin konuşma dersi notlarının daha düşük olmasıdır.

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