Sources of Foreign Language Anxiety in the Student-teachers’ English Classrooms: A Case Study in a Spanish University


  • Elena Goñi Osacar Universidad de Zaragoza
  • Enrique Lafuente-Millán Universidad de Zaragoza

Palabras clave:

foreign language anxiety sources, anxiety and English Foreign Language (EFL), speaking anxiety, second language (L2) anxiety, student teacher anxiety


Foreign Language Anxiety is a common problem among learners, even more relevant if they are future teachers. This paper presents a case study that aims to identify and understand the reasons for foreign language anxiety among undergraduates learning English in a Spanish Faculty of Education. We gathered information from 63 students and 4 teachers through classroom observations, questionnaires and a focus group. The results identify three interrelated categories of causes of language anxiety. Furthermore, the explanatory model proposed here introduces the classification of root sources, triggering sources, and contributing sources. More specifically, we postulate that root sources can be traced to the learners themselves (poor English proficiency, low self-efficacy, etc.) and, because of this, other external factors, mainly, speaking exercises in front of the classroom, can trigger anxiety experiences. This model improves our understanding of how sources of language anxiety interact in this context and other similar learning settings.

Biografía del autor/a

Elena Goñi Osacar, Universidad de Zaragoza

Elena Goñi Osácar holds a doctoral degree in Education and a Master's degree in teaching from the University of Zaragoza, Spain. She teaches English for Specific Purposes in Collaborating entities of the Aragonese Employment Institute of the Government of Aragon, Spain. Her research interests focus on teaching English as a foreign language.

Enrique Lafuente-Millán, Universidad de Zaragoza

Enrique Lafuente Millán is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Education, Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain), where he has taught ESL pedagogy and SLA for over 20 years. He has published a number of articles in national and international journals focusing mostly on discourse analysis and TEFL. Since 2005 he has been a member of five competitive research projects and is currently a member of the InterGedi research team.






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