Learner Differences among Children Learning a Foreign Language: Language Anxiety, Strategy Use, and Multiple Intelligences

Hui-ju Liu, Ting-Han Chen


This study mainly investigates language anxiety and its relationship to the use of learning strategies and multiple intelligences among young learners in an EFL educational context. The participants were composed of 212 fifth- and sixth-graders from elementary schools in central Taiwan. Findings indicated that most participants generally experienced a mild level of anxiety in the EFL classroom. However, at least a quarter of the full sample experienced an above-average level of anxiety when learning the target language. These students tended to be most anxious when (1) feeling that other students had better English performance, (2) being called on to speak in the English class, and (3) feeling afraid of being left behind in the English class. Overall, students were most likely to feel anxious due to worry over inadequate language performance and fear of being evaluated negatively by others. Furthermore, the current findings indicated a significant negative correlation between language anxiety and strategy use among the young EFL children. Students who had greater strategy use were less likely to feel anxiety. Interestingly, the use of social strategies had the strongest relationship with language anxiety among the young learners. Another learner variable, multiple intelligences, was found to be significantly related to both strategy use and anxiety; its relationship with strategy use seemed to be much stronger than that with anxiety. All six strategy categories were found to have significant correlations with multiple intelligences. Implications derived from the results are discussed in the paper.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/elt.v7n6p1

English Language Teaching       ISSN 1916-4742 (Print)   ISSN  1916-4750 (Online)

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