Yuka Taguchi

MA Education TEFL dissertation prize winner 2014

Yuka TaguchiThe relationship between assigned roles, foreign language anxiety and communicative outcomes of six Japanese learners

'It had been my dream for a long time to spend a year in England to further my studies in teaching English. I have made some wonderful friends and it has been a really positive experience in my life.

When I received the news of being one of the three winners of the MA TEFL dissertation prize I was very surprised, extremely happy and honoured. This achievement would not have been possible without the guidance and support of my tutors, supervisor and peers for which I am immensely grateful. I would also like to express my thanks and appreciation to all the people who supported me in many ways this year. It has been an experience I will remember all my life.'

Abstract

Recently, the focus of Japanese EFL teaching and learning has been shifting to communication skills rather than grammatical accuracy in reading and writing skills. In this study, by using an information-transfer task, called the map task, the relationship between assigned roles, foreign language anxiety (FLA) and communicative outcomes of six Japanese learners were examined to explore conditions which could contribute to/detract from improvement of Japanese learners’ English communication abilities. The data was collected in three ways: 1) audio-recording of their interactions during task, 2) questionnaire, 3) 30minutes’ semi-structured interview. The results of this study indicate four things: 1) the relationship with the interlocutor affects FLA; 2) when a learner is assigned a role, which he/she believes has more responsibility than the other role, he/she tends to feel more FLA; 3) FLA could help to improve learner’s communicative effectiveness; 4) low FLA does not always lead to positive communicative outcomes. These imply the possibility of a positive effect of FLA on learners’ communicative effectiveness.