Investigating Foreign Language Anxiety in the Swedish English as Foreign Language Classroom. A quantitative study on the effects of FLA in the Swedish EFL upper secondary school context
Anxiety as an affective variable has been studied since the middle of the 20th century. Research on anxiety in the language learning context was unified in the 1980s when Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope (1986) published their article on the construct of Foreign Language Anxiety. Alongside their definition, they created a method of measurement, the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (Horwitz, Horwitz & Cope, 1986). Since then, the instrument has become a standard in this research field and it has been used in many studies. Many language students seem to be affected by FLA to some degree, causing their language learning to suffer in one way or another. How and why are two questions this study attempted to answer in its review of the current research literature. Secondly, this present study used a modified version of the FLCAS to investigate FLA in a Swedish upper secondary school context. Participants answered a questionnaire, and the data was compiled from their self-reports. This study found that Swedish upper secondary school English as a Foreign Language students experienced moderate levels of general anxiety somewhat frequently. No particular language skill was reported as the most anxiety-inducing. The findings were supported by previous research, and it was suggested that the Swedish EFL context is comparable with other contexts in FLA research. Finally, in relation to the curriculum (Skolverket, 2011) and the EFL syllabus (Skolverket, 2020), implications were argued.