Management of English Language Anxiety through Behaviour Modification Techniques of High School Students
Authors: Ganesan, Rajesh, Kulkarni, Mukund
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Today we live in the age of globalization, as the world came at calling distance the need for the common communication system has aroused which is understood and well accepted by the global community. As nation we also have understood and accepted the importance of common communication system to have firm footing in the global scenario. With some exception English language has acquired the status of global language, which is spoken, written, understood and used by many world countries including India. In India English has become pre-requisite and facilitating factor in communication, education, vocation and business careers. But still in India we speak and use diverse languages, that’s why Indian scenario is quite different from that of world. On the basis of English language Indian population can be divided in to two main groups. First group includes people who are very good at all aspects of English language like reading, writing, speaking and understanding it. They are mostly urban, middle or high class people, having easy access to good education and they use it to their advantage. Remaining population is mostly rural, lower income group and depends on public schools for their education. Mostly these people know only their native language and communicate in it only. Being second language and started at later age, English learning creates anxiety in students of this population, associated with productive skills like speaking and writing or receptive skills like reading and listening. English anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness, worry, nervousness, apprehension, or fear while learning or using English. Children in this population study English as second language at High School level in almost all schools; except English all other subjects are taught to them in their native language. The effects of this anxiety are more evident in the classroom and strongly indicate the Academic performance of the student. Anxiety is found to have a detrimental effect on student's confidence, Self-esteem and level of participation. Anxious students employ avoidance strategies like falling sick frequently, not paying attention in classroom and skipping classes. They do well in other subjects but not in English, which lowers their self esteem; as result they develop negative attitude toward English language, and show less interest in this subject. Anxious students also forget previously learned material, volunteer answers less frequently and have a greater tendency to remain passive in classroom activities. When these students finish their high school and joins junior colleges at cities they are taught science subjects in English only. This sudden change does not go well with them and creates definite anxiety, which hampers their learning process. Just because they are not good at English they start lagging behind and feel inability to compete with other students which are good at English. The frustration of not being able to understand the subject matter well further creates anxiety in them; most of the students could not overcome this anxiety and fail to achieve their desired goals. Unfortunately educational institutes are unaware about this important cause behind students’ turmoil and subsequent non performance; which is wrongly attributed to the aptitude of the student. That is why this issue has not been given due attention and consideration at school and college level. Therefore there is acute need to introduce innovative psychological strategies to alleviate anxiety towards English. Through the application of Behaviour Modification Techniques at high school level English language anxiety can be reduced to the minimum considerable level and students interest in the subject can be increased many fold. This will boost their confidence and self esteem and encourage their participation in the class. The feeling of ‘we can also’ and newly found interest in the subject will help in improving their language. This will definitely reflect in their academic performance and will further boost and increase their confidence and interest. Improvement in English language will help them in understanding other subjects which are taught in English in better way. Therefore this study is undertaken to reduce English Language anxiety through Behaviour Modification Techniques. This is a pilot study of 30 students who are studying in standard VIII at Nutan Kundakeshwar Vidyamandir. When their last unit test scores referred, it was understood that all these students are academically above average and do well in all subjects except English. When they assessed on the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety scale by Horwitz, E. K., Horwitz, M. B., & Cope (1986) (translated in Marathi for present study) they showed high level of English language anxiety. All these students were taught about the interventions to be used and they practiced these interventions for a month. Result shows the significant drop in mean anxiety of group from pre-intervention score 120.57 to post-intervention score 101.07 and significant increase in their Post scholastic mean score 20.87 from 17.97 pre-scholastic mean score. These results are very significant and encouraging.