The Effect of Strategy Instruction on English Majors’ Use of Affective Strategies and Anxiety Levels
The chapter reports a mixed-methods quasi-experimental study extending over one year which investigated the effects of strategy instruction (SI) aimed at anxiety reduction on affective strategy use, and language and test anxiety levels. Strategy use and anxiety levels were investigated not only in general terms (self-reported anxiety levels in a given type of situation, self-reported frequency of strategy use) but also in relation to two implementations of an actual oral English exam (self-reported anxiety and use of strategies before, during and after an oral English exam). The participants were English majors in a small Polish university (N = 23). The tools used were language learning strategy use surveys including Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (Oxford, 1990), Reactions to Tests (Sarason, 1984; a test anxiety survey), Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (Horwitz, Horwitz, & Cope, 1986), and anxometers (1-item 1–10 scales for measuring state anxiety). The results indicate that affective SI results in greater affective strategy use as well as the use of a larger range of strategies in general and in relation to the actual language exam when it is properly contextualized. An unequivocal reduction in anxiety levels as a result of SI was not detected possibly due to an insufficient amount of treatment and a small number of highly-anxious learners in the sample, with only some indications of an anxiety-reducing effect.
KeywordsLanguage learning strategies Affective strategies Strategy instruction Language anxiety Test anxiety
I thank the anonymous reviewer as well as the editors of this volume for their insightful comments which helped improve the chapter. Obviously, I take full responsibility for the errors which remain.
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