“Foreign Language Anxiety is the tension, fear, and apprehension associated with such foreign language contexts as speaking, listening and learning.”
It is a severe problem for many English language students and keeps them from reaching their learning goals.
According to studies, there are three components to FLA:
1. Communication Apprehension – People with communication apprehension have difficulty expressing their thoughts and ideas in English. They find it difficult to speak and comprehend the messages of others.
2. Fear of Negative Social Evaluation – Fear of judgment and what others will think of you while you speak English.
3. Test Anxiety – This affects English students who attend courses and have to do exams. This is very common in the Cambridge English exams.
It is believed that 1 in 3 English language learners experience FLA, and the consequences affect their English fluency.
It makes you
• feel discouraged about language learning
• have little confidence in your ability to succeed
• try to escape from participating in any English-speaking activities
• give up your efforts to learn English completely
But what triggers (provokes) FLA?
1. Unrealistic or erroneous beliefs about your English language journey.
You can convince yourself you’re not talented at language learning or that you haven’t achieved the progress or English level you should have.
2. Too many negative experiences in the English language learning context.
For example, being laughed at when you mispronounced a word or reprimanded for making the same mistake multiple times.
Such situations lower your self-confidence when speaking English and hinder your progress.
3. Your English learning standards are too high.
You are aiming for and expecting to speak like a native in a short period.
Learners often compare their skills with their peers or native speakers, leading them to assess themselves too harshly.
They then begin to believe their language level is never good enough.
Does any of this sound like you
• Are you afraid to speak even though your language level is good enough to communicate?
• Do you find it hard to say a single word out loud even though you KNOW the vocabulary and grammar?
• Does the thought of saying something in English make you feel scared and shaky?
• Do you avoid any English conversation with native speakers because you fear being judged or laughed at?
• Do you panic when you can’t express yourself in English or don’t understand someone?
• Do you find talking with a native speaker extremely intimidating?
• Does it feel like your mind goes blank when trying to say even simple things in English?
How did you do?
IF you have FLA – you need to KNOW that you are NOT ALONE!
Many people struggle with the same English learning problems that you have.
I know how it feels with my Spanish!! It is NOT fun… 🙁
BUT, the good news is that FLA can be conquered 🙂
Here are six ways to do that.
1. Give Yourself Time
Give yourself enough time to ENGAGE with English, and build your speaking confidence slowly: practice listening, reading, and writing.
2. Change your belief system!
Being trapped in negative thoughts is something that provokes FLA.
“I’ve been learning English for two years and still making many mistakes. I’m a disaster!”
Instead, find something positive about every English learning situation.
“I’ve been learning English for two years, and I managed to get the message across. Of course, with mistakes, but I communicated successfully!”
Think positively about your English learning experiences; they’ll boost your self-confidence and help eliminate anxiety.
3. Make friends with making mistakes
To speak English fluently, you must start talking in a broken version.
It would help if you started making mistakes before you could correct them.
There is no other way… it is what it is.
4. Change Your Learning Method
There is no single ‘best way’ to learn a language. So, try another if one method doesn’t appeal to you or brings no results.
Find out what works FOR YOU! What is the easiest and most fun way to learn English?
It might be watching English movies with subtitles, listening to music and translating lyrics, reading a story, and checking keywords. Whatever YOU ENJOY!
5. Small Steps First
Create an account on InterPals and iTalki that allow you to practice your English language skills with people worldwide! And you get to make friends.
6. Talk With People You Don’t Know
The benefits of talking with people you don’t know:
• You’ll never see them again
• They won’t be able to gossip about your English-speaking abilities
FLA is a serious problem in ALL language learners! BUT it can be overcome and YOU CAN reach English fluency!
If you don’t quit, you WIN! SO KEEP GOING!
Have a fantastic week!
…and START( or KEEP) Rolling your English! 😊
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