Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Studies have shown that, in general, anxiety in second-language learners debilitates their language acquisition capabilities and ultimate second language (L2) achievement. Such studies have also shown that gender has much to do with the strategies used to cope with feelings of stress and anxiety. Anxiety specifically impedes classroom achievement due to its interference with the production and retention of a new language. In other words, anxious students have been shown to learn less and have been often unable to demonstrate what they have learned, especially in front of large crowds. When anxiety impairs cognitive function, it likewise causes students to feel as if they are failures, resulting in decreased self-image. Research indicates that males and females experience different emotions when studying a foreign language and prefer different learning strategies to cope with stress and anxiety. The current study surveyed 102 English as a second language (ESL) students (45 females and 57 males) using the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) (Horwitz, Horwitz, & Cope, 1986) in order to better understand how and why males and females experience anxiety in different learning situations. The results demonstrate that females generally experience more anxiety in the ESL classroom than males; they worry more about the consequences of poor performance. Instructional implications for the findings are discussed.


English Language and Literature