Posted: March 29th, 2022
It refers to the anxiety learners experience when communicating with or listening to others. In classroom situations, learners are afraid of sharing with others. They may be uncontrollably shy or deaf to what others are saying. If learners have difficulty listening and speaking in front of others, their level of communication apprehension will be high (Horwitz et al., 1986). When learners are placed in unfamiliar situations, they will generally communicate with strangers. For learners with communication apprehension, this can be very uncomfortable. They will be afraid, scared, and shy. The most immediate manifestation of this is that they cannot listen and speak correctly. This communication apprehension can occur with two people and in groups of more than one person. The reasons for this are many. One reason is that the student’s knowledge base of the second language is insufficient. Abu-Rabia ‘s (2014) study on the causes of communication anxiety found that the learner’s language skills influenced language anxiety. The better and more proficient a learner’s language skills are, the lower their level of language anxiety.
Conversely, a learner who is relatively unskilled in language has more language anxiety. However, it does not mean that people with excellent language skills do not face communication anxiety; they can also experience discomfort when communicating with others. The second reason is that they are not adequately prepared to respond or communicate in advance, which can cause them to have speaking anxiety (Chang, 2012). The third reason is that they do not feel comfortable being watched by others (Pappamihiel, 2002; Zheng, 2008). The feeling of being watched can be burdensome and oppressive for them. In public and multi-person situations, the psychological fear can intensify their output and reception of language. Also, Mahfuzah Binti Rafek et al. (2014) found another factor that influences communication apprehension is gender. They surveyed and studied 55 students, 30 females and 25 males, learning English courses in Malaysia. The findings showed that females were more likely to face communication apprehension than males, especially speaking, where the pressure was most significant.
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