Published: Is grammar anxiety hindering English speaking in Japanese students

10 10 2011

ELI lecturer Thomas Lockley and former ELI lecturer Stephanie Farrell have published an article in the November 2011 issue of the JALT Journal. Publication information follows:

Lockley, T., & Farrell, S. (2011). Is grammar anxiety hindering English speaking in Japanese students? JALT Journal, 33(1), 175-189.

Researchers and teachers have observed time and again that speaking in the L2
causes anxiety in many Japanese students (Cutrone, 2009; Kitano, 2001); the students
seem to be afraid of making mistakes in front of their peers and teachers. Is
the reason for this fear anxiety about the speaker’s grammar? This study, based on
questionnaire data obtained from 54 Japanese EFL students at a university in Japan,
explored the relationship between language learners’ confidence in their grammatical
ability and their actual speaking performance. The relationships were examined
between students’ perceptions of their grammatical competence (self-evaluation),
actual speaking level (scores from the Kanda English Proficiency Test [KEPT]), and
overall strength in English (scores from the Test of English for International Communication
[TOEIC]). Qualitative data collected from the questionnaire was also
analysed. The study did not find a significant relationship between confidence in
grammar and speaking. Self-perception of grammatical ability appears to have little
to do with how a person performs orally.