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TESOL Quarterly: A Journal for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and of Standard English as a Second Dialect ; 57(2):618-642, 2023.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-20241906


This paper explores differences in 437 learners' "foreign language classroom anxiety" (FLCA) in in-person and online English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classes before the outbreak of the pandemic and during the first lockdown in spring 2020. Statistical analyses of data gathered with a web survey revealed a slight, yet significant drop in learners' overall FLCA in "emergency remote teaching." In order to obtain a more granular view, item-level analyses revealed that learners in online classes were significantly less worried about being outperformed by peers, suffered less from physical symptoms of anxiety when called on in class, and were less anxious when they were in fact well-prepared. Feeling embarrassed to volunteer answers was significantly higher in online classes. Interviews with 21 participants revealed that the interviewees mentioned anxiety-provoking aspects of the class considerably more frequently online than in in-person classes. However, the sources of anxiety in online classes differed from the ones in classes taught on-site. Thus, it seems that the newness of the setting foregrounded anxiety-provoking aspects specific to emergency remote teaching, making others fade into the background at the beginning of the pandemic.