An Investigation of Anxiety Among Elementary School Students Towards Foreign Language Learning

Merzin Alshahrani, Awad Alandal


Foreign language anxiety (FLA) plays a crucial role in language learning. This study aims to investigate the level of FLA and the impact of gender differences among EFL elementary school students. The sample of the study was 146 males and 114 female 6th. Grade Saudi Students of public schools in the Southern Region of Saudi Arabia. Foreign language classroom anxiety Scale (FLCAS) was administered and 10 students were selected and interviewed. Statistical package for social science (SPSS) was used to analyze the data. T-test was used to compare the level of foreign language anxiety among male and female students. The findings of the quantitative and qualitative data went in parallel. They showed that FLA was moderate among our participants. They also revealed that gender difference did not play a significant impact on anxiety towards foreign language learning. Furthermore, some pedagogical implications and recommendations were provided to enrich early age EFL teaching in Saudi Arabia and to overcome the negative effects of anxiety among foreign language learners.


Anxiety; Gender; EFL; Language learning; Teaching

Full Text:



Abu-Ghararah, A. H. (1999). Learning anxiety and English language achievement of male and female students of university and secondary stages in Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah: A comparative research study. King Abdulaziz University Journal, 12, 3-29.

Aida, Y. (1994). Examination of Horowitz, Horowitz, and Cope’s construct of foreign language anxiety: The case of students of Japanese. The Modern Language Journal, 78, 155-168.

Aljafen, B. S. (2013). Writing anxiety among EFL Saudi students in science colleges and department at a Saudi University (Unpublished master’s thesis). Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA.

Al-Mohanna, A. (2010). English Language Teaching in Saudi Arabian Context: How Communicatively Oriented Is It? Journal of King Saud University-Languages and Translation, 22, 69-88.

Alrabai, F. (2014a). The influence of teachers’ anxiety-reducing strategies on learners’ foreign language anxiety. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 8(1).

Al-Saraj, T. M. (2013). Foreign language anxiety in female Arabs learning English: Case studies. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching.

Al-Shboul, M. M., Ahmad, I. S., Nordin, M. S., & Rahman, Z. A. (2013). Foreign language anxiety and achievement: Systematic review. International Journal of English Linguistics, 3, 32-45.

Al-Shehri, A. (2004). The development of reusable online learning resources for instructional design students based on the principles of learning objects (Unpublished doctoral thesis). Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.

Al-Sibai, D. M. (2005). L2 anxiety of Saudi female university students enrolled in speaking courses. Retrieved from

Anyadubalu, C. C. (2010). Self-Efficacy, Anxiety, and Performance in the English Language among Middle-School Students in English Language Program in Satri Si Suriyothai, Bangkok. International Journal of Human and Social Sciences, 2, 193-198.

Atasheneh, N., &Izadi, A. (2012). The role of teachers in reducing-increasing listening comprehension test anxiety: A case of Iranian EFL learners. English Language Teaching, 5, 178-187.

Aydin, S. (2008). An investigation on the language anxiety and fear of negative evaluation among Turkish EFL learners. Asian EFL Journal, 31, 421-444.

Batumlu, D. Z., & Erden, M. (2007). The relationship between foreign language anxiety and English achievement of Yıldız Technical University School of Foreign Languages preparatory students. Journal of Theory and Practice in Education, 3, 24-38.

Campbell, C. M., & Shaw, V. M. (1994). Language anxiety and gender differences in adult second language learners: Exploring the relationship. In C. A. Klee (Ed.), Faces in a crowd: The individual learner in multisection courses (pp. 47-80). Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

Chan, D. Y. C., & Wu, G. C. (2004). A study of foreign language anxiety of EFL elementary school students in Taipei County. Journal of National Taipei Teachers College, 17(2), 287-320.

Chen, T., & Chang, G. (2004). The relationship between language anxiety and learning difficulties. Foreign Language Annals, 37, 279-289.

Cheng, Y. S., Horwitz, E. K., & Schallert, D. L. (1999). Language anxiety: Differentiating writing and speaking components. Language Learning, 49(3), 417-446.

Comunian, A. L. (1993). Anxiety, cognitive interference, and school performance of Italian children. Psychological Reports, 73, 747-54.

Dörnyei, Z. (2005). The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Ganschow, L., Sparks, R., Anderson, R., Javorshy, J., Skinner, S., & Patton, J. (1994). Differences in language performance among high-, average-, and low-anxious college foreign language learners. Modern Language Journal, 78(1), 41-55

Ganschow, L., & Sparks, R. (1996). Anxiety about foreign language learning among high school women. Modern Language Journal, 80(2), 199-212.

Gardner, R. C., & MacIntyre, P. D. (1993). On the measurement of affective variables in second language learning. Language Learning, 43, 157-194.

Hamouda, A. (2013). An exploration of causes of Saudi students’ reluctance to participate in the English language classroom. International Journal of English Language Education, 1, 17-34.

Horwitz, E. (1986). Preliminary evidence for the reliability and validity of a foreign language anxiety scale. TESOL Quarterly, 20, 559-562.

Horwitz, E. K. (2001). Language anxiety and achievement. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 21.

Horwitz, E. K., Horwitz, M. B., & Cope, J. (1986). Foreign language classroom anxiety. Modern Language Journal, 70, 125-132.

Khan, I. (2011). Learning difficulties in English: Diagnosis and pedagogy in Saudi Arabia. Educational Research, 2, 1248-1257.

Kitano, K. (2001). Anxiety in the college Japanese language classroom. The Modern Language Journal, 85(4), 549-566.

Krashen, S. D. (1985). The input hypothesis: Issues and implications. Torrance, CA: Loredo Publishing.

Liao, Y. F. (1999). The effects of anxiety on Taiwanese EFL learners. The proceedings of the Eighth international symposium on English teaching (pp.453-63). Taipei: The Crane Publishing Co., Ltd.

Lashkaripour, K. (2006). The relationship between test anxiety and academic achievement in students of guidance schools in Zahedan. Tabib Shargh Journal, 8(4).

MacIntyre, P. D. (1995). How does anxiety affect second language learning? A reply to Sparks and Ganschow. The Modern Language Journal, 79, 90-99.

MacIntyre, P. D. (1998). Language anxiety: A review of the research for language teachers. In D. J. Young (Ed.), Affect in foreign language and second language learning (pp.24-45). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.

MacIntyre, P. D., & Gardner, R. C. (1989). Anxiety and second-language learning: Toward a theoretical clarification. Language Learning, 39, 251-275.

MacIntyre, P. D., & Gardner, R. C. (1991). Methods and results in the study of anxiety and language learning: A review of the literature. Language Learning, 41, 85-117.

MacIntyre, P. D., & Gardner, R. C. (1994). The subtle effects of language anxiety on cognitive processing in the second language. Language Learning, 44, 283-305.

MacIntyre, P. D. (1999). Language anxiety: A review of the research for language teachers. In D. J. Young (Ed.), Affect in foreign language and second language learning: A practical guide to creating a low-anxiety classroom atmosphere (pp.24-45). Boston: McGraw-Hill College.

McCroskey, J. C. (1978). Validity of the PRCA as an index of oral communication apprehension. Communication Monographs, 45, 192-203.

Matsuda, S., & Gobel, P. (2001). Quiet apprehension: Reading and classroom anxieties. JALT Journal, 23(1-2).

Mahmood, A., & Iqbal, S. (2010). Difference of Student Anxiety Level towards English as a Foreign Language Subject and their Academic Achievement. International Journal of Academic Research, 2(6), 199-203.

Mwamwenda, T. S. (1994). Test anxiety and academic achievement among South African university students. Psychological Reports, 75, 1593-1594.

Ozturk, G., & Gurbuz, N. (2012) The impact of gender on foreign language speaking anxiety and motivation. Social and Science, 70, 654- 665.

Oxford, R. (1999). Anxiety and the language learner: New insights. In J. Arnold & H. D. Brown (Eds.), Affect in language learning (pp. 58-67). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Phillips, E. (1992). The effects of language anxiety on students’ oral performance and attitudes. The Modern Language Journal, 76, 14-25.

Rahman, M., & Alhaisoni, E. (2013). Teaching English in Saudi Arabia: Prospects and challenges. Academic Research International, 4(1), 112–118.

Rezazadeh, M., & Tavakoli, M. (2009). Investigating the relationship among test anxiety, gender, academic achievement and years of study: A case of iranian EFL university students. English Language Teaching, 2, 68-74.

Samimy, K. (1994). Teaching Japanese: Consideration of learners’ affective variables. Theory into Practice, 33, 29-33.

Sarason, I. G. (1978). The test anxiety scale: Concept and research. In C. D. Spielberger& I. G. Sarason (Ed.), Stress and anxiety: Vol. 5 (pp.193-216). Washington, DC: Hemisphere.

Spielberger, C. D. (1966). Theory and research on anxiety. In C. D. Spielberger (Ed.), Anxiety and behavior (pp.3-20). New York: Academic Press.

Spielberger, C. D. (1983). Manual for the state-trait anxiety inventory (form Y). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

Sparks, R. L., Ganschow, L., Aritzer, M., Siebenhar, D., & Plageman, M. (1997). Language anxiety and proficiency in a foreign language. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 8 , 325-


Young, D. J. (1990). An investigation of students’ perspectives on anxiety and speaking. Foreign Language Annals, 23, 539-553.

Young, D. J. (1991). Creating a low-anxiety classroom environment: What does language anxiety research suggest? The Modern Language Journal, 75, 426-440.

Young, D. J. (Ed.). (1999). Affect in foreign language and second language learning: A practical guide to creating a low-anxiety classroom atmosphere. Boston: McGraw-Hill College.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c)

Share us to:   


Online Submission


How to do online submission to another Journal?

If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.

We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases:;;

 Articles published in Studies in Literature and Language are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY).


Address: 1055 Rue Lucien-L'Allier, Unit #772, Montreal, QC H3G 3C4, Canada.
Telephone: 1-514-558 6138 
Website: Http://; Http://;;

Copyright © 2010 Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture