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Last updated: March 16, 2019

LISTENING COMPREHENSION ANXIETY IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE CLASSROOM AMONG GRADE X STUDENTS OF SMA SANTA MARIA CIREBONA SARJANA PENDIDIKAN THESISPresented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirementsto Obtain the Sarjana Pendidikan Degreein English Language EducationByFidelis Elleny AverinaStudent Number: 151214049ENGLISH LANGUAGE EDUCATION STUDY PROGRAMDEPARTMENT OF LANGUAGE AND ARTS EDUCATIONFACULTY OF TEACHERS TRAINING AND EDUCATIONSANATA DHARMA UNIVERSITYYOGYAKARTACHAPTER IINTRODUCTIONThis chapter consists of four parts. The first part is the background of the research which discusses the background information related to the issue of the subject matter as well as its rationale. The second part is research questions in which two questions are formulated and will be answered in this research. The third part is the significance of the study which identifies the benefits of this research. The forth part is definition of the terms which gives important key words used to clarify and support the research.

Research Background English is one of the languages that is widely used worldwide both in written and spoken usage. That is why mastering all the four English skills (listening, reading, speaking, writing) is essential. From all the four skills, listening plays a significant role in language learning and communication. It is stated by Nunan (2003) that listening is a receptive active skill which requires the listener to receive and understand the input. This skill later on enables the listener to recognize and understand the input at the higher level until eventually the listener can produce the language. Furthermore, listening also becomes the initial route to learn other skills because by listening, they can gain language input and exposure of the target language (Curtain, Pesola, & Savignon, 1988 as cited in Serraj, 2015). However, mastering listening skill especially for the English foreign learner is not an easy task. In Indonesian context, where English is perceived as a foreign language, English is not widely used in the learners’ immediate social context (Saville-Troike, 2006).

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The students who study English in senior high school are considered as EFL learners and they may find it challenging in mastering the four English skills including listening skill since English is only in the English classroom, but not in the daily basis. It is accordance with Horwitz (1986) who noted in his research about Foreign language anxiety that many people are reported to have “a mental block against learning a foreign language” (p.125).

Moreover, listening comprehension activity in the senior high school is taught as the preparation for classroom tests (Chang, 2008). In other words, they learn English in a heavily examination-oriented system. Due to those two conditions, listening comprehension activity in English classroom can be an anxiety-provoking activity. The researcher chooses SMA Santa Maria Cirebon grade X due to English teacher’s opinion who teaches English in SMA Santa Maria Cirebon. Based on his opinion, the students in grade X is indicated to experience anxiety during listening activity. He says that before the listening practice, students tend to ask similar questions, such as the amount of time the recording will be repeated, the length of the listening passage, and whether or not the result of the listening exercise will be scored. In addition, from students’ short reflection, the teacher can know that they feel anxious during listening activity.

Those students come from diverse family background. The majority of the students come from middle-class, some from upper- middle class, and the rest from lower-class family, yet they face the same anxiety in language learning. According to Karshen (1985), language acquisition happens when the learner are able to absorb the comprehensible input. However, anxiety in learning process becomes the “mental block” that prevents the learner to process the input they receive (as cited in Xu, 2011). It also has been investigated in the previous studies in foreign language listening anxiety (FLLA) that anxiety could hinder students’ performance in listening comprehension (Goh, 2000; Hasan, 2000; Kim, 2000)Based on those phenomena, the researcher predicts that listening comprehension still becomes a problem faced by grade X students of SMA Santa Maria Cirebon. Therefore, the researcher intends to conduct the research to know the factors affecting students’ anxiety when performing listening comprehension activity in English language classroom and how listening anxiety affects their performance in listening comprehension activity.

Research QuestionsFrom the background of the research, the researcher formulates two research questions as follows:What are the factors affecting grade X students of SMA Santa Maria Cirebon’ anxiety when performing listening comprehension activity in English language classroom?To what extent does listening anxiety affect their listening comprehension performance in English Language classroom?Research SignificanceThis research will give some benefits for English teacher in SMA Santa Maria Cirebon and future researchers who are interested in similar topic. English Teacher of SMA Santa Maria CirebonThis research can be used by English teacher of SMA Santa Maria Cirebon as the evaluation to know what factors affecting students’ anxiety when performing listening comprehension activity in English language classroom and how listening anxiety affects their performance in listening comprehension activity. By knowing this, hopefully the teacher can find the other classroom techniques to decrease the level of listening anxiety and help the students to cope with their listening anxiety. Future Researchers This research can be beneficial for the future researchers who are interested in similar research. The future researchers can use this as a reference to know the factors affecting students’ listening anxiety. This research can also be developed into quantitative research about the correlation of students’ listening anxiety with their listening comprehension score. Definition of TermsIn order to avoid misinterpretation and make the research more understandable for the readers who read it.

The researcher provides definition of the terms which gives important key words used in this research to clarify and support the research.Listening AnxietyAccording to Scarcella and Oxford (1992), Listening anxiety occurs when learners think that they have to understand every word that they hear. As a result, they feel uneasy when they are faced with listening passage with the topic that is unfamiliar to them. In 1986, Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope defined this anxiety as “feeling tension, apprehension, nervousness, and worry which is associated with a distinct complex of self-perceptions, beliefs, feelings, and behaviours related to classroom language learning” (p. 128). According to Joiner (1986), this “negative listening self-concept” emerges from a low level of self-esteem in the area of listening (as cited in Xu, 2011).

Listening ComprehensionAccording to Vandergrift (1999), Listening comprehension is a complex process involving several stages where the listener has to recognize and distinguish different sounds, understand the meaning of the vocabulary, know the grammatical structure of the language, differentiate stress and intonation, as well as memorizing the information received until eventually interpret it immediately by considering the larger sociocultural context of the passage. This type of listening is usually taught in English classroom in SMA Santa Maria CirebonGrade X Students of SMA Santa Maria CirebonCHAPTER IIREVIEW OF RELATED LITERATUREThis chapter presents the review of the theoretical research related to the study from previous researches in order to get a theoretical framework. This chapter is divided into two parts. The first is theoretical description which discusses the theories and similar research relevant to the topic being studied.

The second is theoretical framework which presents how the relevant theories are used to help answering the formulated research questions in this research. Theoretical DescriptionThis section presents relevant theories applied in this research that will be beneficial to answer the research questions. There are two main theories in this section. The first major theory is about foreign language anxiety (FLA).

This will be broken down into three sub-theories namely listening anxiety, the factors affecting listening anxiety, and effects of anxiety in students’ listening performance. The second major theory is listening comprehension in language learning Foreign Language Anxiety In 1986, Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope defined foreign language anxiety in general as a complexity of learners’ personal feeling, perception, and behaviours which emerge during foreign language learning process. Furthermore, these authors note that foreign language anxiety is associated with the feeling of uneasiness, discomfort, worry, dread, nervousness, and apprehension felt by foreign language learner. In the field of second language acquisition, Krashen (1982) argues that anxiety is included as affective filter which make the person fails to absorb the message or “input”. As a result, language acquisition is inhibited and the progress is slow (as cited in Young, 1992) Foreign language anxiety is closely related and usually connected with learners’ performance. According to Horwitz et al. (1986), “There are three related performance anxiety as a conceptual foundation which later on will be described as the three components of foreign language anxiety; namely communication apprehension, test anxiety, and fear of negative evaluation” (p. 127).

Communication apprehension emerges as a result of interpersonal interaction. In other words, language learners experience fear and nervousness when they have to communicate with others in foreign language context. Communication includes not only oral production but also message receiver. It means that communication also involves listening process. The difficulty in comprehending and understanding the message spoken orally by another speaker and the difficulty in differentiating sounds are the manifestations of communication apprehension in the area of listening.

According to Vogely (1998), listening anxiety can hinder communication because in order to interact verbally and give respond appropriately, the listener must first understand what is being discussed. Test anxiety emerges from the negative self-perception and the fear of failure along with the fear of making mistakes in language classroom (Horwitz et al., 1986). The anxious learners mostly have high demand and expectation within themselves that make them feel afraid in making mistakes especially in the test setting which usually resulting in poor test performance and score along with the inability to perform well in the language classroom (Vogely, 1998). Fear of negative evaluation emerges when learners feel afraid that their performance will be judge negatively by others. They are afraid of people’s evaluation and expectation, thus they avoid evaluative situations.

Fear of negative evaluation is broader than test anxiety since it happens not only in a test setting, but in any social settings which include evaluative situation. In accordance with Krashen (1982), the fear of negative evaluation occurs because we often expect people to perform beyond their ability and acquired competence. We unconsciously apply this perception to ourselves and create negative false perception.

Foreign language anxiety can occur in all four skills including listening (Bekleyen, 2009). In line with Bekleyen, Krashen (1982) argues that when listening is incomprehensible, it provokes and triggers anxiety (as cited in Young, 1992). In this section, the researcher will discuss specifically the anxiety in the area of listening. The first sub-theory will discuss about listening anxiety itself. The second sub-theory will explore more about the factors affecting listening anxiety.

The third sub-theory will explain the effects of anxiety in their listening performance. Listening Anxiety From all the four skills, listening anxiety is less thoroughly studied skill in general. There is small but growing number of research on listening comprehension anxiety (Rubin, 1994). Vogely (1999) stated that listening skill is mostly ignored in language classroom since the goal of language classrom is usually language production both written and spoken (as cited in Serraj, 2015). However, Vogely (1999) noted that some teachers are unaware that listening exercise can be an anxiety-provoking activity in the foreign language classroom It is in line with what Horwitz (2001) said that many people experience the tension, worry, unessiness and mental block during the process of learning a foreign language (as cited in Serraj, 2015). In 1986, Horwitz et al. also noted that cosiderably high level of anxiety is experienced not only by beginner or low-achieving learner, but also advanced and successful learner with high motivation.

In the area of listening, this anxiety occurs when learners think that they have to understand every word that they hear. As a result, they feel uneasy when they are faced with listening passage with the topic that is unfamiliar to them (Scarcella ; Oxford, 1992). The anxiety arises when they fall under false perception that in order to be “good” they have to be able to master a lot of vocabulary; distinguish stress, sound and intonation of the speaker; be familiar with the grammar; and have a good language aptitude (Horwitz,1987 as cited in Serraj, 2015).

Listening comprehension is a complex process. It happens when there is no gap between the speaker and the listener. It means that the listener can understand the message conveyed and can reasonably interpret the meaning. This process requires the listener to focus on the “linguistically significant features of the code” so that the listener can eventually interpret the message (Chastain, 1979), In fact, this complex process tends to slow down comprehension which hinders the communication. When those requirements fail to be fulfilled, difficulties may arise and communication breaks down. As a result, anxiety occurs and this will impede learner’s performance in listening comprehension (Bacon, 1989; Bekleyen, 2009; Goh, 2000; Hasan, 2000). It is accordance with a research in second or foreign language conducted by Gardner et al. 1987 which noted that “anxiety directly debilitates motivation and causes a negative affective response to the foreign language which results in poor performance” (as cited in Serraj, 2015, p.

2).The Factors Affecting Listening AnxietyThere are some factors affecting listening anxiety that may hinder listening comprehension: The Characteristic of The InputThe characteristic of the input plays quite important role in listening comprehension. Krashen (1982) argues that when the input is incomprehensible, it provokes and triggers anxiety (as cited in Young, 1992). This first factor can be broken-down into 3 more specific categories, such as the nature of the speech, the difficulty level, and the lack of repetition (Vogely, 1998). The nature of the speech such as the speaker’s speech rate, and accent can increase learners’ anxiety. According to Griffiths (1992), as the rates of speech increases, the listener’s comprehension is likely to decline rapidly. This most likely happens to the lower intermediate foreign language learner.

Moreover, Hasan (2000) states that the listeners find it difficult to understand the message spoken by the speakers who speak with various foreign accents especially when they are not clearly pronounced. The learner’s anxiety level can also increase when the listening passage has high difficulty beyond their language level which results from the structural component of the text. The learners are reported to have anxiety and frustration when the listening passage is too difficult with unfamiliar topic, uncommon vocabularies, complex grammatical structure, execively long passage, and inauthentic materials (Hasan, 2000; Vogely 1998). Furthermore, Vogely (1998) argues that the lack of repetition where the audio recording is only played twice can make them feel uneassy. Instructional FactorsThis instructional factors can be broken down into three categories, such as the task type, the “test” thing, the lack of visual aid in the text, and the unconfortable environment.

Based on the research conducted by Eykyn (1992), who studies the impact of the four task (multiple choice, choose- a-picture, French to English vocabulary lists, and WH- questions) in listening comprehension. The result showed that when learners were asked to answer the multiple choice type, they tended to produce protocols with more idea units than when working with WH-questions. It is in line with Brown et al. (1985) who stated that “output tasks should not rely heavily, or exclusively, on memory or writing abilities” (as cited in Rubin 1994, p. 205). Furthermore, when the learners know that their performances are going to be scored and evaluated, they become more anxious. It is accordance with Chang (2008) who examined Listening anxiety among university students in Taiwan.

The result showed that in a test situation the difficulty may arise because the listening passage is only repeated two or three times and once they miss the information, they cannot go back and look for the information. In a test situation, learners’ are limited with time. The pressure arises when they do not have enough time to process the information they have heard and answer the questions in the test. They may feel in a rush and their thoughts are jumbled (Elkhafaifi, 2005). Furthermore, it is supported by Horwitz et al.

(1986) that evaluative situation such as test, makes the learner feel anxious because they are worried that they will fail in the test. The lack of visual aids in the test can be another thing that increase anxiety. Learners are also reported to have difficulty in comprehending the listening passage when they cannot see the gesture of the speaker and the setting (Hasan, 2000). Thompson and Rubin (1996) also noted that the visual aids in the form of pictures, charts, and diagrams in the text can help the learner undestand the listening passage better.

In addition, the environment of the setting also plays an important role. According to Vogely (1994), the room that is too small, hot, cold, and noisy with the poor quality of audio recording can make them hard to concentrate. As a result, they feel anxious. Learners’ Listening StrategyHasan, vogely, Rubin, Listeners’ CharactericticLanguage proficiency level, Learners’ affective filter, learners’ background knowledge Rubin, scovelBuka scovel buat characteristicSwain, M. and Burnaby, B. 1976. Personality characteristics and second language learning in young children: a pilot study. Working Papers in Bilingualism 11.

1 15-128.Schwartz, L. 1972. Educational Psycho1ogy:Focus on the Learner.

Boston: Holbrook Press.Theoretical Framework Eykyn, Lollie B. “The Effects of Listening Guides on the Comprehension of Authentic Texts by Novice Learners of French as a Second Lan- guage.” Diss., Univ. of South Carolina, 1992Brown, Gillian, A. H. Anderson, N.

Shadbolt ; T. Lynch. Listening Comprehension.

Project JHH/190/1. Edinburgh: Scottish Education Department, 1985


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