"The Impact of Learning Modalities on Foreign Language Classroom: A Comparative Study" by Annie Xie

The Impact of Learning Modalities on Foreign Language Classroom: A Comparative Study

Annie Xie, Bentley University



Abstract: Foreign language classroom anxiety (FLCA) has impeding effects on student performance in language learning. Generally, the online learning environment is said to alleviate student anxiety levels (Coryell & Clark, 2009), but the comparison between the online and in-person learning modalities has not been fully explored. This study aimed to investigate the differences in FLCA levels in the traditional in-person and online synchronous classrooms among foreign language students. Using an adapted version of the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) (Horwitz et al., 1986), answers from forty-five participants were analyzed using quantitative methods. Results showed that students display statistically significant lower levels of FLCA in online synchronous learning environments than in-person classroom settings. In addition, a negative relationship was found between students FLCA levels in the two learning modalities. In other words, students who experience the lowest FLCA levels in the online modality suffer the highest levels of FLCA in the in-person modality, and vice versa. The results demonstrate the complexity of the FLCA study in the context of various learning modalities and personal traits, and the research findings suggest that it is advisable to implement online components in language classes as a mechanism to alleviate student FLCA.


 

Introduction

As one of the most researched psychological reactions in the field of Second Language Acquisition (SLA), Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety (FLCA) is the challenge to language learners’ learning success (Botes, Dewaele & Greiff, 2020; MacIntyre, 2017; Teimouri, Goetze & Plonsky, 2019; Woodrow, 2006; Zhang, 2019). As distance education has been on the rise in post-secondary institutions, the use of online educational tools, platforms, and pre-recorded classes was found to have anxiety-alleviating effects on language students (Coryell & Clark, 2009; Liaw, 2019; Thrasher, 2021; Xie, Ryder & Chen, 2019). Especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, online language classes, both asynchronous and synchronous modalities, have become the necessary alternative to in-person classes to ensure student access to continual education. However, an evident gap in research was found regarding learner’s FLCA in interactive synchronous online class modalities. In order to better understand the complexity of FLCA in the two learning modalities, the current study will quantitatively investigate how online synchronous language classes influence learners’ foreign language anxiety compared to traditional in-person language classes.

Literature Review

Anxiety is defined by Brown (2000) as “…associated with feelings of uneasiness, frustration, self-doubt, apprehension and worry”. In the sphere of academia, scholars classified anxiety into three categories: Trait Anxiety, State Anxiety, and Situation Anxiety (Mesri, 2012; Sanaei, Zafarghandi & Sabet, 2015). Trait Anxiety is defined as a stable state of being anxious in a range of situations. State Anxiety is time-specific, it’s a feeling of anxiety that only exists in short moments. Situation Anxiety is situation-specific, anxiety can only be induced in a certain kind of setting (Sanaei et al., 2015). In terms of Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety may also be situation specific, meaning it happens recurrently in a definite situation, which in this instance would be the language classroom, regardless of the educational modality (Maclntyre & Gardner 1991b; Horwitz, 2001).

Anxiety reactions can be characterized as the display of worry and emotionality. Emotionality includes behavioral (e.g., Stammering and fidgeting) and physiological (e.g., blushing, increasing heart rate) reactions. The sense of worry could give rise to self-deprecating thoughts and distraction from tasks. Clinically, people experiencing foreign language anxiety display similar symptoms as other anxious people. Common symptoms include being worried, having difficulty concentrating, becoming stressed, forgetful, and sensing palpitations. Students could either exhibit avoidance behaviors such as missing classes, and submitting late homework, or overwork themselves because they care too much about their performance but still do poorly in class (Horwitz, Horwitz & Cope, 1986).

In a foreign language classroom setting, students may display uneasiness in an improvised situation, while experiencing less anxiety using the target language with preparation, such as delivering a prepared speech. Furthermore, students may complain of having difficulties grasping the meaning of the verbal message and recognizing the structure of the target language in a conversation. More evidently in a testing situation, students reported forgetting grammatical rules that they know normally, and making careless mistakes that they realized after the exam ended. These are all phenomena of experiencing anxiety in a foreign language classroom under pressure (Horwitz et al., 1986).

Certain erroneous beliefs also lead to foreign language anxiety, such as the belief that “nothing could be said in a foreign language class unless it could be said correctly and that it’s not okay to guess an unknown foreign language word” (Horwitz et al., 1986, p.127). An anxious student also may try to avoid using the language fluency that has been acquired, thus preventing the student from progressing. A limited means of evaluation, poor test scores and low participation in class lead to teachers’ inaccurate evaluation of students’ real language ability (Horwitz et al., 1986).

Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety (FLCA) and Its Variables

In the past decades, foreign language anxiety has been one of the most researched psychological reactions in the field of Second Language Acquisition (SLA). Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety (FLCA) is one of the most influential factors in a second language classroom setting. 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). According to recent studies, it is argued to have degrading effects on students’ performance in foreign language learning (Botes et al., 2020; MacIntyre et al., 2017; Teimouri et al., 2019; Woodrow, 2006; Zhang, 2019).

The occurrence of FLCA stems from various variables. Past research has found that the formation of FLCA is related to age, gender, personality traits, cultural and discipline background, previous contact with FLs, abroad learning/traveling experience, self-efficacy, learning motivations, willingness to communicate, learning strategies, teachers’ teaching styles, teachers’ characteristics, and classroom environment (Dewaele, 2013; Oxford, 1999; Teimouri et al., 2019). Young (1991) categorized variables and sources of anxiety to FLCA into six categories: personal and interpersonal anxieties (e.g., self-esteem, communication apprehension); learner beliefs about language learning; instructor beliefs about language teaching; instructor-learner interactions (e.g., teachers' harsh manner of correcting student mistakes); classroom procedures (e.g., speaking in front of peers); and testing.

The relationship between FLCA and several other variables are complex and disputed across studies. Regarding gender, research shows that generally, gender has no relationship with FLCA (Dewaele, 2007a; Matsuda & Gobel, 2004; Woodrow, 2006). However, results regarding differences between males and females remain inconclusive (Dewaele, 2007a; Dewaele, 2007b; Dewaele, Petrides & Furnham, 2008; Elkhafaifi, 2005; Lu & Liu, 2015; MacIntyre, Baker, Clément & Donovan, 2003). Additionally, in terms of cultural background, several studies found that levels of FLCA strongly differ among cultural groups. Learners from Confucian Heritage Cultures (Chinese, Korean, and Japanese) show higher anxiety levels than western ethnic groups (Baran-Łucarz, 2014; Dewaele & MacIntyre, 2014; Woodrow, 2006).

When it comes to personal and interpersonal anxieties, regarded as the most influential factors of FLCA (Young, 1991), low self-confidence is found to be prevalent among anxious language students. Self-confidence is understood as an important determinant of FLCA (Baran-Łucarz, 2014; Cheng, Horwitz & Schallert, 1999; Gardner, Day & MacIntyre, 1992; Onwuegbuzie, Bailey & Daley, 1999, 2000). According to Cheng et al. (1999), low self-esteemed students tend to underestimate their capability in the target language, which could be reflected in their classroom performance. Student low self-confidence results in self-underestimation, peer pressure, and low teacher recognition further exacerbates the level of anxiety (Dewaele et al., 2014). Regarding anxiety caused by interpersonal interactions, studies report that interacting with a native speaker is another foreign language anxiety-inducing factor, regardless of the student relationship with the native speaker (Baran-Łucarz, 2014; Woodrow, 2006). In addition, Cheng et al. (1999) found that students’ general classroom performance anxiety is strongly correlated and is a strong predictive factor of students’ foreign language writing achievement. Thus, this study will investigate FLCA concerning personal and interpersonal anxiety, specifically low self-esteem and classroom performance. Furthermore, it will explore how FLCA is impacted by other factors such as different learning environments. More specifically, it will focus on online learning vs in-person learning.

Virtual Language Learning Environment

With the development of technology, online learning has been integrated more and more often as a preferred instructional method in post-secondary institutions (Reynard, 2003). In the last decade, nearly 80% of the US public post-secondary four-year institutions and 60% of public two-year programs offered distance learning. Among different ways of online course delivery, the two-way interactive video instruction mode has attracted the greatest interest among educators (Moore & Shin, 2000). Among other methods, asynchronous has been raising great concerns over the effectiveness of language learning as it focuses more on the delivery of content rather than focusing on the practicality from the student side. Though content could be well processed by the learners, the formation of a language system could only be acquired in meaningful learning environments (Krashen, 1985). Language learning is regarded as a highly interactive and dynamic process that requires the active participation of students to achieve the greatest individual learning outcomes and be able to use the language authentically (Ellis, 1996; Krashen, 1982). Consequently, according to Breen (2000), language learning requires a process-based orientation that engages the students in finding a framework to achieve their individual learning goals. To counteract the negative effects and outcomes accompanied by online language learning, Reynard (2003) proposed that distance language learning should focus more on learners’ self-direction, additional learner-instructor interaction, extra instructor intervention, dialogue, and authentic language production.

Furthermore, research has found that learning environments play an important role in the formation of foreign language anxiety (Coryell & Clark, 2009; Liaw, 2019; Moore & Shin, 2000; Reynard, 2003; Thrasher, 2021; Xie et al., 2019). Several studies found that the use of online educational tools or online class formats has an alleviating effect on student anxiety levels (Liaw, 2019; Thrasher, 2021; Xie et al., 2019). As a simulation of online classroom experience, Virtual Reality (VR) has been widely used as an educational tool in the language classroom. In Liaw et al.’s (2019) study, they found that students report less anxiety when interacting online with a VR social networking site with native speakers using a foreign language. Similarly, Thrasher (2021) found that intermediate french learners studying in a VR mode had better comprehensibility than students learning in a classroom. Furthermore, Thrasher found that based on their salivary cortisol level French learners were less anxious about completing tasks in VR learning modes than in a traditional classroom.

Overall, past research has established the benefits of using technology tools and online class formats in reducing learners’ anxiety in the context of language learning. Concerning the various forms of online language learning, the current study focused on the synchronous interactive online classroom, which is a subject that has hardly been explored in the field of online language learning.

Use of FLCAS as a Measurement Tool

Overall, in academia, the most used tool to measure the correlation between language achievement and anxiety is The Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS). Horwitz et al. (1986) concluded in their pioneering study that Foreign Language Anxiety (FLA) could be categorized as three performance constructs: Communication Apprehension, Fear of Negative Evaluation, and Test Anxiety. Building upon these three constructs, they created the 33-item Foreign Language Classroom Scale (FLCAS). Horwitz et al. (1986) defined the first construct, Communication Apprehension (CA), as “a type of shyness characterized by fear of anxiety about communicating with people” (p.127). The researchers defined the second construct, Fear of Negative Evaluation, as "apprehension about others' evaluations, avoidance of evaluative situations, and the expectation that others would evaluate oneself negatively” (p.128). Finally, the third construct, Test Anxiety, is defined as “a type of anxiety stemming from a fear of failure” (p.127) (Horwitz et al., 1986). Most notably, oral exams are said to trigger both communication apprehension and test anxiety. Based on the gap in research regarding the synchronous online language learning modality and its comparison with the in-person language learning modality. This study will compare levels of anxiety within the two learning modalities, namely online synchronous vs in-person, to determine the effect of such modalities on general foreign language classroom anxiety, FLCA caused by low self-esteem, and classroom performance induced FLCA. This project aimed to answer the following research question:

To what extent did the learning modality (synchronous online or in-person) have an effect on a) participants’ general foreign language anxiety, b) anxiety caused by participants’ low self-esteem, and c) participants’ classroom performance anxiety?

Methodology

Recruitment

This study aimed to investigate participant anxiety levels in online and traditional language classrooms using quantitative analysis. All participants were recruited by email voluntarily using the organization’s address from a private institution on the East Coast of the United States. Participants were undergraduate students who took modern language courses (Chinese, French, Spanish, and Italian) in the Fall 2021 semester at beginner, intermediate or advanced levels.

Participants

Out of the 78 language students invited to participate in the study, 45 language students (N = 45; 29 females, 14 males, and 2 non-binary) consented to participate in the questionnaire. Participants were on average in their Junior year (M = 2.69, SD = 1.04), pursuing an undergraduate degree in the target four-year system institution. More than half of the participants self-identified as Caucasian (55.1%), followed by 24.5% of Latino or Hispanic, 12.2% of Asian, 4.1% of African American, and 4% of other ethnicities.

Data collection procedure

The current study employed an adjusted three-part questionnaire asking participants to self-reflect on their language learning experience in both online and in-person settings. After receiving the consent of each language instructor to help with the current study and cooperate with the recruitment process of participants, the questionnaire was sent to the target population through email by each language course instructor at the target institution. Then, the questionnaire was sent out again to all language students directly as a reminder. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fall 2021 was the first semester for colleges to return to in-person learning. Thus, the questionnaire was sent out in November of that semester so that students had enough familiarity with learning in the two modalities to compare their experience in online synchronous and in-person learning respectively.

Instrument

In this study, a thirteen item survey was created (see Appendix A). The survey contained a) a background questionnaire, b) a modified Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) focusing on online classroom studying, and c) a modified Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) focusing on in-person classroom studying.

Part b) and c) of the questionnaire included two identical sets of questions with wording pointing to the two modalities: online synchronous (part b) and in-person (part c). This study was adapted from the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) created by Horwitz et al. (1986). The original FLCAS contained 33 items with consideration to control for the length and duration of the survey, the current modified version was reduced to 17 items. The answers to the statements were rated on one dimension, the four-point Likert Scale (SA = strongly agree; A = agree; D = disagree, SD = strongly disagree). In the data analysis stage, the four possible answers were numericized, ranging from 1 (SA) to 4 (SD). All the negatively oriented statements, such as “I start to panic when I have to speak without preparation in my language class” and “Even if I am well prepared for my Language class, I feel anxious about it,” were scored reversely to maintain the consistency of the analysis (i.e., SA was marked as 4, A was marked as 3, D was marked as 2, and SD was marked as 1).

Following the model outlined in Cheng et al. (1999), the selected items were then grouped into two subcategories of FLCA: FLCA1 and FLCA2. FLCA1 gathered items pertaining to low self-Confidence in speaking foreign languages. FLCA2 gathered items pertaining to general foreign language anxiety and classroom performance anxiety. The current study modified the scope of the model from English-focused only to foreign languages in general. The first category (FLCA1 – Anxiety Caused by Low Self-Confidence in Speaking Foreign Languages) included six FLCA items. Most of these items represent a common theme of low self-esteem in terms of speaking the foreign language (items 1, 2, and 7) and low self-assessment of language ability in comparison with others (items 4, 5, and 10) (See Appendix A).

The second category (FLCA2 – General Foreign Language Classroom Performance Anxiety) was composed of 11 FLCAS items. This category focused on the negative feelings participants have regarding language classroom experience. It differentiated itself from FLCA1 by emphasizing not only the use of foreign languages itself but also targeted participants’ responses to the classroom learning experience. Items 3, 6, 8, 9, and 13 focused on participants’ anxiety regarding class participation. Items 11, 16, and 17 depicted participants’ feelings over the nature of learning foreign languages, and items 12, 14, and 15 represented participants’ worries about potential academic failures in learning foreign languages.

The order of the items was randomized so the positive-oriented statements and negative-oriented statements appeared in a random sequence. This design of the survey is important because the orientation of the statement might have negative or positive priming effects on participants’ answers, thus lowering the accuracy of the data.

Data analysis

After the survey data was collected, it was compiled in Microsoft Excel to identify testing variables and to refine the data. Then, data was analyzed with the aid of the computer program SPSS to find relationships between cross variables.

To find answers to the research question regarding participants' manifestation of FLCA and its sub-categories, a Friedman Test was performed to find out whether there were statistically significant differences between participants’ experience of anxiety in the two learning modalities. In addition, Spearman's rank-order correlation was run to detect the correlation of the FLCA levels online and in person.

Results

The research question aimed to investigate the learning modality’s (online synchronous or in-person) impact on a) participants’ general foreign language anxiety, b) anxiety caused by participants’ low self-esteem, and c) participants’ classroom performance anxiety. 45 participants (N = 45) submitted answers to the online questions and 40 participants (N = 40) answered the in-person questions. A Friedman test and a descriptive test were used to compare the difference in the self-reported anxiety level in the two modalities. Secondly, Spearman's rank-order correlation was run to assess the relationship between FLCA levels in the two modalities.

General Foreign Language Anxiety

Regarding general FLCA, the null hypothesis of the Friedman test was that the median of differences between online general FLCA and in-person general FLCA equals 0. However, since the p-value was significantly smaller (< .001) than 0.05, we can reject the hypothesis.

Participants exhibited statistically significantly higher anxiety levels in the in-person modality than in the online synchronous modality. Additionally, descriptive analysis revealed differences in overall FLCA between online learning (M = 1.71, SD = .26) and in-person learning (M = 3.30, SD = .29), with a mean difference of 1.59. Among the 45 participants, all participants expressed a higher anxiety level in the in-person modality.


Furthermore, the null hypothesis of the Spearman's rank-order correlation was that the correlation coefficient (ρ) between online general FLCA and in-person general FLCA equals 0. Preliminary analysis of Spearman's rank-order correlation showed the relationship to be monotonic, as assessed by visual inspection of a scatterplot as seen in Figure 1. There was a statistically significant, strong negative correlation between participants’ general FLCA level in online synchronous and in-person modalities, (rs (38) = -.816, p < .001). Therefore, we can reject the null hypothesis.



Figure 1. Scatter Plot of Online Average FLCA by In-person Average FLCA

Anxiety Caused by Low Self-esteem in Speaking the Language

Regarding the anxiety caused by participants’ low self-confidence in speaking the Language, the null hypothesis of the Friedman test was that the median of differences between online general FLCA1 and in-person general FLCA1 equals 0. However, since the p-value was significantly smaller (p < .001) than 0.05, we can reject the hypothesis.

Participants exhibited statistically significantly higher anxiety levels in the in-person modality than in the online synchronous modality. In addition, descriptive analysis revealed differences in FLCA1 online learning (M = 1.71, SD = .31) and in-person learning (M = 3.30, SD = .32), with a mean difference of 1.59. Among the 45 participants, all participants expressed a higher anxiety level in the in-person modality.

Furthermore, the null hypothesis of the Spearman's rank-order correlation was that the correlation coefficient (ρ) between online general FLCA1 and in-person general FLCA1 equals 0. Preliminary analysis of Spearman's rank-order correlation showed the relationship to be monotonic, as assessed by visual inspection of a scatterplot as seen in Figure 2. There was a statistically significant, strong negative correlation between participants’ FLCA1 levels in online synchronous and in-person modalities, (rs (38) = -.718, p < .001). Therefore, we can reject the null hypothesis.

Figure 2. Scatter Plot of Online Anxiety Caused by Low Self-esteem by In-person Anxiety Caused by Low Self-esteem

Foreign Language Classroom performance anxiety

Regarding the general foreign language classroom performance anxiety, the null hypothesis of the Friedman test was that the median of differences between online general FLCA2 and in-person general FLCA2 equals 0. However, since the p-value was significantly smaller (p < .001) than 0.05, we can reject the hypothesis.


Participants exhibit statistically significantly higher anxiety levels in the in-person modality than in the online synchronous modality. In addition, descriptive analysis revealed significant differences in FLCA2 from online learning (M = 1.71, SD = .27) to in-person learning (M = 3.30, SD = .30), with a mean difference of 1.59. Among the 45 participants, all participants expressed a higher anxiety level in the in-person modality.


Furthermore, the null hypothesis of the Spearman's rank-order correlation was that the correlation coefficient (ρ) between online general FLCA2 and in-person general FLCA2 equals 0. Preliminary analysis of Spearman's rank-order correlation showed the relationship to be monotonic, as assessed by visual inspection of a scatter plot, as seen in Figure 3. There was a statistically significant, strong negative correlation between participants’ FLCA2 levels in online synchronous and in-person modalities, rs (38) = -.791, p < .001. Therefore, we can reject the null hypothesis.

Figure 3. Scatter Plot of Online Classroom Performance Anxiety by In-person Classroom Performance Anxiety

Overall, similar trends were found across all three subcategories: general foreign language classroom anxiety (Overall FLCA), anxiety caused by low self-esteem in speaking the foreign language (FLCA1), and foreign language classroom performance anxiety (FLCA2) (Figure 4). More specifically, Table 1 shows that students exhibited significantly higher Overall FLCA, FLCA1, and FLCA2 in the in-person modality than in the online synchronous modality. Finally, the results from the Spearman correlations indicated that students who experienced the highest anxiety level in the online synchronous modality experienced the least amount of anxiety in the in-person modality, and vice versa.

Figure 4. Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety (FLCA) Levels in Online and In-person Modalities

Table 1. Comparative Results on the FLCA Levels in Two Learning Modalities

Discussion

The goal of this study was to compare foreign language learners’ experience of FLCAs in online synchronous and in-person classroom modalities. From the collected results, there were interesting findings regarding learners’ experience of FLCAs in the two learning modalities. The results show a statistically significant difference in participants’ self-rated FLCAs online and in-person, and all participants experienced and rated higher FLCAs in the in-person modality than in the online synchronous modality. In addition, it is intriguing to see that participants experienced significantly higher FLCA levels in the two sub-categories as well, namely, the anxiety caused by low self-confidence in speaking the foreign language (FLCA1) and foreign language classroom performance anxiety (FLCA2). These results signify that the online learning modality had anxiety-alleviating effects on the personal and interpersonal anxieties, the first category of FLCA sources modeled by Young (1991).

This finding adds to the body of research on the effect of online platforms usage in reducing students’ anxiety and confirms previous study results that the use of online teaching platforms, including online synchronous classroom platforms, can indeed reduce learners’ FLCA levels (Liaw, 2019; Thrasher, 2021; Xie et al., 2019). Specifically, this study offers endorsement to Thrasher (2021)’s study that identified the anxiety-alleviating effect of the use of virtual reality in completing tasks in language classrooms compared to face-to-face classrooms, indicating that not only can the use of virtual learning tools help decrease students’ FLCA, but the use of the synchronous online platform can help students combat their anxious mentality in foreign language classes. Pedagogically, this finding provides language instructors with an idea for class design that better treats students’ FLCA concerning low self-esteem, classroom performance and helps them achieve better language learning outcomes.

Furthermore, though this study was exploratory in its nature due to the small sample size, learners FLCAs in the two learning modalities were also found to be inversely correlated with one another. In other words, learners who had the lowest anxiety levels in online classes had the highest anxiety levels in in-person classes, and vice versa. This result indicates that while learners experience significantly lower FLCA online, individual learners display different patterns in terms of FLCA in the two learning modalities. Didactically, this finding poses challenges to language instructors in adjusting their approaches to students with different patterns of FLCA in the two modalities. As suggestions for language instruction facing these challenges, instructors could apply individualized activities to students, or instructors could provide students with more flexibility in the choice of class activities to meet individual needs and thresholds regarding FLCA.

Overall, it was found that the synchronous online class format alleviated student FLCA levels and individual learners demonstrated distinct patterns regarding their FLCA in the two modalities. The findings suggest that online educational tools and online platforms should be used more often in language classrooms, and that a hybrid model might be beneficial to reduce foreign language classroom anxiety. Practically, language instructors should incorporate more online-based activities in their in-person language classes to reduce learners’ FLCA.

Future Research

Concerning venues for future research, as the current study topic concerns personal experience and emotions, the qualitative investigation route could be considered under the current subject. A qualitative analysis could be performed to investigate the causes of FLCA difference exhibited in the two modalities, such as online features that make low self-esteem learners feel less anxious, and features that make learners feel less pressured by their classroom performance. Moreover, it would also be interesting for future investigators to explore learner differences (or lack thereof) in FLCA in the two modalities based on the literacy and oral production aspects of language learning. Additionally, it would be worthwhile comparing the language learning outcomes between in-person learning and online synchronous learning with a larger sample size. An investigation could be performed on whether students achieve better learning results when experiencing lower FLCA levels in online synchronous classes, building upon the negative correlation established between FLCA and language learning outcomes (Botes et al., 2020; Teimouri et al., 2019).

Conclusion

This study demonstrated that language learners exhibit lower Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety levels (FLCA) in online synchronous classes than in in-person live classes and explaining and adding to previous research on the FLCA-easing effects of online educational tools and platforms (Liaw, 2019; Thrasher, 2021; Xie et al., 2019). When faced with the challenge of FLCA as explained in the current study, namely individual FLCA patterns in different learning modalities, it is important for language instructors to reassess their methods in approaching students with different anxiety levels. As a general rule of thumb, though with great complexity in the matter, instructors should strive to create a low threat, encouraging class environment where anxious students are encouraged to participate with positive reinforcement from both the instructor and their classmates.


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Appendix A

Survey Questions

Demographic questions

What is your gender?

· Man

· Women

· Transgender

· Cisgender

· Agender

· Genderqueer

· Gender Fluid

· Gender non-conforming

· Non-binary

· Two-spirit

· Preferred Response Not Listed (Please specify):

Please specify your ethnicity.

A. Caucasian

B. African American

C. Latino or Hispanic

D. Asian

E. Native American

F. Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

G. Two or More

H. Other/Unknown

I. Prefer not to say

Which year are you at Bentley?

· Freshman

· Sophomore

· Junior

· Senior

Which languages are you capable of speaking fluently? (Check all that apply)

A. English

B. Spanish

C. Portuguese

D. French

E. Mandarin

F. Arabic

G. Other (Please specify) ____________________

H. Prefer not to say

What language course are you currently taking?

[short answer]

How long have you taken the language(s) that you’ve been studying?

[short answer]

How much time (how many classes) do you spent on language learning remotely in the past year (Sept. 2020 – Oct. 2021)?

How much time (how many classes) do you spent on language learning in-person (in a classroom even if it’s a hybrid class) in the past year (Sept. 2020 – Oct. 2021)?

On a scale of 1 to 5, what level of anxiety do you experience in your everyday life over the past year?

Remote Learning Questions

On a scale of 1 to 5, how well will you rate your remote language learning academic achievement in terms of remote language learning? (1: below expectations; 5: above expectations)

Note: listed below are statements regarding your experience with anxiety in an ONLINE foreign language class. For each one, please indicate whether you strongly agree (SA), agree (A), mildly agree (MA), disagree (D), or strongly disagree (SD) with it.

· I never feel quite sure of myself when I am speaking in my foreign language class.

· I feel confident when I speak the target language in my language class.

· I can feel my heart pounding when I'm going to be called on in language class.

· I keep thinking that the other students are better at the target language than I am.

· I do not worry about making mistakes in language class.

· I start to panic when I have to speak without preparation in my language class.

· I would not be nervous speaking the foreign language with native speakers.

· It does not embarrass me to volunteer answers in my language class.

· I don't feel pressure to prepare very well for language class.

· I feel very self-conscious about speaking the foreign language in front of other students.

· I feel overwhelmed by the number of rules you have to learn to speak a foreign language.

· It wouldn't bother me at all to take more foreign language classes

· Even if I am well prepared for my language class, I feel anxious about it.

· I get nervous when I don't understand every word the teacher says.

· My language class moves so quickly I worry about getting left behind.

· The more I study for a language test, the more confused I get.

· I feel more tense and nervous in my language class than in my other classes.

In-person Learning Questions

On a scale of 1 to 5, how well will you rate your in-person language learning academic achievement in terms of remote language learning? (1: below expectations; 5: above expectations)

Note: listed below are statements regarding your experience with anxiety in an IN-PERSON foreign language class. For each one, please indicate whether you strongly agree (SA), agree (A), mildly agree (MA), disagree (D), or strongly disagree (SD) with it.

· I never feel quite sure of myself when I am speaking in my foreign language class.

· I feel confident when I speak the target language in my language class.

· I can feel my heart pounding when I'm going to be called on in language class.

· I keep thinking that the other students are better at the target language than I am.

· I do not worry about making mistakes in language class.

· I start to panic when I have to speak without preparation in my language class.

· I would not be nervous speaking the foreign language with native speakers.

· It does not embarrass me to volunteer answers in my language class.

· I don't feel pressure to prepare very well for language class.

· I feel very self-conscious about speaking the foreign language in front of other students.

· I feel overwhelmed by the number of rules you have to learn to speak a foreign language.

· It wouldn't bother me at all to take more foreign language classes

· Even if I am well prepared for my language class, I feel anxious about it.

· I get nervous when I don't understand every word the teacher says.

· My language class moves so quickly I worry about getting left behind.

· The more I study for a language test, the more confused I get.

· I feel more tense and nervous in my language class than in my other classes.