Is younger really better? Anxiety about learning a foreign language in Turkish children

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Esim Gursoy
Feride Akin
Cite this article:  Gursoy, E., & Akin, F. (2013). Is younger really better? Anxiety about learning a foreign language in Turkish children. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 41(5), 827-842.


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As one of the outcomes of globalization, learning a foreign language has gained importance. In many countries this situation has led to the lowering of the age for starting to learn a foreign language as part of the restructuring of the education system. Success in foreign language learning (FLL) depends on many factors. Affective factors are 1 facet of achieving success in FLL and these factors have long been a concern of language educators. However, most research on this topic has been conducted with adolescents and adults. Thus, in the present case study our aim was to investigate the relationship between age and FLL anxiety with children aged between 10 to 14 years. We used both qualitative and quantitative research methods for triangulation. We collected data via a questionnaire (Cronbach’s alpha .876), adapted from Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope (1986) and via interviews with 84 children at a state primary school in Turkey. In addition to calculating means and standard deviations, we used Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests for dual and multiple comparisons. The results suggested that there were no statistically significant differences according to gender and that the younger children in the study were less anxious than the older children about FLL. Examinations were found to be the activity that caused the most anxiety for the children.

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