2015 Volume 26 Pages 35-52
The present study aims to examine the relationship between teachers’ first language (L1) use and students’ anxiety about English during foreign language activities at elementary schools. More specifically, this study investigates whether teachers’ L1 use is an effective way to control the level of students’ anxiety, and, if so, what particular type of teachers’ L1 use can lead to increase or decrease their anxiety. Data were collected by administering a research questionnaire to 366 participants and analyzing audio recordings of 12 classes. The results of the research questionnaire showed that two factors of anxiety exist: negative evaluation anxiety and foreign language learning anxiety. A high level of foreign language learning anxiety and a medium level of negative evaluation anxiety were found to optimize students’ learning motivation. Analyses of the transcripts showed that teachers’ use of L1 affects students’ anxiety levels. The results also showed that teachers use L1 in two ways, for directing and facilitating the class. The direction use of L1 is used for students with low foreign language learning anxiety and low negative evaluation anxiety, while the facilitation use of L1 is used for teaching motivated students and maintaining students’ desirable levels of anxiety.