For Whom the IWB may be Especially Beneficial: The Role of Students’ Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety

Anxiety is presumably the most often investigated affective variable in foreign language learning research. In this context, anxiety has originally been conceptualized either as a state, as a trait or as a situation specific construct. Over time, only the construct of situation specific language anxiety has proven to be a valid predictor of language acquisition, while this does not account for the more general constructs of state- and trait-anxiety The most prominent and widely accepted situation specific anxiety, that is limited to language learning in the classroom, is the construct of foreign language classroom. In their seminal work, conceptualize FLCA 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”. Accordingly, students with a higher level of FLCA are supposed to perceive themselves as less competent, to feel uncomfortable and stressed, to be restrained and less engaged and to avoid getting involved in learning activities in foreign language classroom situation. Following, FLCA should negatively affect the motivation to learn as well as negatively affect language acquisition. Indeed, two recent meta-analyses provide strong empirical evidence for the claim that FLCA is negatively related to performance, meaning that the more anxious persons are, the worse they perform. The meta-analysis by Zhang showed a negative correlation of r = − .36 between FLCA and performance and similar correlations were observed between other situation specific measures of foreign language anxiety and language. Overall, these findings of these meta-analyses are quite robust with respect to contextual factors, such as input and target language: The correlations were hardly affected by the target language (which was most often English), or whether input language and target language were from the same language family or from different language families.


To distract the students from the vocabulary afterwards, a short multiple-choice quiz about the text’s details was given. The quiz contained five short sentences, which the students were asked to complete by ticking the correct answer, one out of three possibilities. In both the IWB classes and in the control classes a student was again asked to come to the front to call up classmates and complete the task.

In a next step, to consolidate the newly learned words through repetition, a vocabulary game was played. A game was considered to be the most suitable tool to keep the strain of the learning environment at a low level. Students are supposed to enjoy working with the vocabulary without feeling undue pressure to learn words as fast as possible. In the IWB lesson, the game was made up of three bars in red, green and blue color. Each word and its translation were written in a word box. The word above was written in black with its translated equivalent written below in the same green as the bar. At the beginning of the game, all word boxes were in the green field in the middle covered by a green strip. Hence, neither the word nor its translation was visible. Except for the three bars in the background, every item could be moved. By removing the green strips, the upper words were revealed. If the word was touched and slid into either the red or blue bar, the translation became visible, since it was written in green. During the game which was played by the class in two teams (team blue and team red), one word after the other was uncovered by the teacher. The student who knew the word first had to stand up and then come to the front to loudly say the translation and then slide the word into the group’s color to reveal the answer. If the student’s translation was correct, the word stayed in the group’s field. If it was wrong, it had to be slid to the opponent bar. The game allowed the students to hear the relevant words pronounced by their fellow students and see them in a written form at the same time.

FVASEE - Interactive Touch Screen Display Solution
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