PAIR AND GROUP WORK ACTIVITIES FOR REDUCING ENGLISH SPEAKING ANXIETY
Foreign language anxiety is an urgent problem experienced by the majority of learners, specifically Ukrainian ESL students in their speaking performance. The consideration of foreign language anxiety in the modern English classroom is highly significant to assist learners boost their confidence and develop their communication skills in the target language. The current study includes literature review of the concepts of “foreign language anxiety”, “speaking anxiety”, describes the factors that may cause communication apprehension in ESL classroom and possible ways of overcoming this anxiety. The article presents investigation of the activities for decreasing English language anxiety in speaking. The qualitative study aimed at exploration of the speaking anxiety experiences of the first-year Ukrainian ESL students studying at Primary Education and Philology Department of Khmelnytskyi Humanitarian Pedagogical Academy. For collecting data, observation, interviews and diary are implemented at Practice of Oral and Written English classes. The reasons of speaking anxiety are analyzed: fear to be criticized or judged by their teacher or groupmates due to some mistakes while speaking; irrelevant error correction techniques; fear not be able to express opinion briefly and clearly; teachercentered modes of interaction; authoritarian teaching style; students’ low selfesteem; intense classroom atmosphere; a fear of public speaking. In order to reduce English speaking anxiety, a multi-faceted approach is implicated: using pair and group work activities, establishing supportive classroom atmosphere, giving constructive feedback with self- and peer- error correction techniques, and employing student-centered methods. The most beneficial for reducing English language anxiety such activities are defined: line up role plays, picture dictation, memory cards, buzz groups, fishbowl, snowball pyramids and circle of voices. The results of the study confirmed the effectiveness of the interventions that led to increasing foreign language performance of the students and their willingness to be engaged in speaking activities.
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