Others Anxiety and stress as affective factors influencing foreign language learning of japanese university students: An exploratory study

Arbaiza Meza, Carlos Mariano

One of the particular interests of the recent second language acquisition (SLA) studies is to determine how affective factors like stress and anxiety influence the learning process of a second language (L2). The present study is another attempt in this domain, and our focus is on L2 English learning by Japanese university students majoring in non-English subjects. Students of different majors and specialties were observed during one academic semester in order to gather data about their behaviors, habits, possible prejudices, opinions and attitudes towards the target language, and how they feel while learning it. Furthermore, a specific survey was created in order to collect student's opinion and perspective about their feelings towards the English classes, reviewing possible difficulties, prejudices and concepts about the target language, and attitudes and habits to establish relationships between these kinds of factors and the language aptitude and performance. The findings provided empirical support and factual relations between stress and anxiety levels on the one hand and the performance of the students in the target language on the other. Overall, the survey and collected data confirmed that the students suffer from stress and anxiety while learning English language, and that those factors interact negatively with self-perception and self-esteem, forming and feeding a vicious circle that generates communication apprehension and fear to use the language improperly. In addition, the results not only allowed us to pinpoint particular reasons why these negative levels rise in the students, but also let us provide some facts and suggestions to deal with the problems caused by anxiety and stress, and make the English-learning experience much more viable, and less troublesome.


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