Faculty Publications

Title

Breaking the code of silence: A study of teachers' nonverbal decoding accuracy of foreign language anxiety

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Language Teaching Research

Volume

11

Issue

2

First Page

209

Last Page

221

Abstract

This study examined teachers' accuracy in decoding nonverbal behaviour indicative of foreign language anxiety. Teachers and teacher trainees twice observed a videotape without sound of seven beginning French foreign language students as they participated in an oral exam; four of these students were defined as anxious language learners by the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale. First, observers were asked to use their own criteria to assess the anxiety status of the examinees by watching their posture, gestures and body positions. The second time, observers were given a list of criteria that defined specific anxious behaviours. The results demonstrated that, although there was variability in the ability of observers to decode the nonverbal cues evidential of anxiety, the teachers and trainees were more accurate in assessing the nonverbal behaviour of learners who were on the high and low ends of the anxiety scale than those whose scores fell in the middle. Because observers were more accurate once they were introduced to explicit anxiety-indicating cues, the pedagogical implications of this study call for the inclusion of nonverbal awareness training as a means of identifying those learners who struggle with foreign language anxiety. © 2007 SAGE Publications.

Original Publication Date

4-1-2007

DOI of published version

10.1177/1362168807074607

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