Reassessing foreign language classroom anxiety: Employing poststructuralist theories in a qualitative meta-analysis
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This thesis will generate new insight into the study of classroom language anxiety and its method of analysis in current SLA discourse. Drawing heavily from Horcoff, Horcoff and Cope’s seminal paper “Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety” (1986), the conceptualization of analysis proposed and its accompanying instrument of analysis, the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS), will be reevaluated. The conceptualization of anxiety presented by Horwitz et al. defines foreign language (FL) anxiety as being unique to the FL learning classroom and being distinct in its emphasis on the self-perceptions and beliefs associated with this setting. Furthermore, the learners who experience anxiety are argued to be identifiable through their degree of anxiety and share similar characteristics. This conceptualization has been well received in SLA and has been widely employed in much of the FL learning research in the past two decades. Due to identity theory advancements in SLA however, this conceptualization of FL anxiety deserves to be reexamined. Employing poststructuralist identity theories (see Norton, 2000; Blackledge & Pavlenko, 2001; Block, 2007), FL learning anxiety will be reconceptualized to consider the dynamic nature of the learner’s unique identity and views of other languages. A paradigm will be proposed, linking FL anxiety, identity and language belief together in a mutually constitutive relationship. A qualitative meta-analysis (Schmenk, 2002) will be conducted, examining current FL anxiety research in an effort to determine the assumptions, both implicit and explicit, made concerning notions of FL learning anxiety and identity. Implications of the proposed paradigm for the learner and instructor will finally be presented in an effort to introduce a discussion of the benefits of reconceptualizing FL learning.