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An Empirical Study on Chinese University Students’ English Language Classroom Anxiety with the Idiodynamic Approach

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posted on 2020-08-05, 18:43 authored by Xiang HeXiang He
Foreign language classroom anxiety (FLCA) is a very critical affective factor for learners’ language learning and development. The present study was designed to explore the features of Chinese university students’ FLCA and to investigate the possible influencing factors on the fluctuations of Chinese university students’ FLCA. Two female and two male Chinese university students were selected as the participants and their in-class performances were recorded. Data collection instrument included the classroom observation, the self-rated evaluation of FLCA and the stimulated recall interview. In order to capture the micro-changes of the Chinese learners’ FLCA per second, an idiodynamic approach was adopted to carry out the exploratory analysis for the learners’ experiences of FLCA over the language instruction. Zooming in on the micro dynamic variation of the participants’ FLCA, the final results indicate that Chinese university students’ FLCA, both within individuals and across individuals, is characterized of a dynamic system’s features. Furthermore, a series of contributing factors were identified to affect the participants’ FLCA, with the classroom activity types and the teacher’s feedback being the key factors. The idiodynamic method shed new light on exploring the FLCA from an emic and dynamic perspective and some pedagogical implications were also put forward as well.


Ministry of Education Humanities & Social Sciences of China (14YJC740030)


Declaration of conflicts of interest

There exist No conflicts of interest.

Corresponding author email

Lead author country

  • China

Lead author job role

  • Higher Education Faculty 4-yr College

Lead author institution

Nanjing University

Human Participants

  • Yes

Ethics statement

This study has obtained the ethical approval from the ethics committee of Jiangsu University of Science & Technology and the informed consent from the participants.


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