Foreign language anxiety among first-year Saudi university students

Adam R. Tanielian


English language training in Saudi Arabia has become a common feature in public and private schools. Universities are especially keen on providing students with English instruction. Students who want to earn degrees in science, engineering, or medical fields must attend lessons where English is the language of instruction. Unsurprisingly, student anxiety about language has been a concern. Foreign language classroom anxiety (FLCA) can harm student performance and ultimately limit their educational opportunities. This study surveys 185 male and female Saudi first year university students who report their perceived levels of anxiety. Comparisons are made between genders, majors, levels, and academic terms using ANOVA and descriptive statistics. Correlations and regression assess relationships between FLCA and English performance. Results show moderate levels of FLCA and moderate, negative correlations with performance. Discussion and conclusion leads to recommendations for teachers and administrators with the intent of reducing FLCA and increasing educational opportunity.


Foreign language classroom anxiety; EFL, ESL, ELT; Saudi Arabia; Pedagogy

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