Foreign Language Anxiety Experiences of Engineering Students in English for Specific Purposes (ESP) Courses at a Polytechnic College in Rwanda

  • Jean Damascene Uwamahoro
Keywords: FLA, ESP, EFL, Polytechnic college, FLCAS, SLA


Foreign Language Anxiety (FLA) is one of the affective factors that interfere significantly with second/foreign language learning. However, FLA has attracted little or no attention in the research on the teaching of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in Rwanda. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the FLA experiences of engineering students in their ESP courses at a polytechnic college in Rwanda. Using an explanatory mixed methods design, data was collected in two phases by means of a survey and an interview. In the first phase, a Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) was administered to 99 engineering students who were enrolled in an ESP course at Amahoro College (pseudonymised). Thereafter, a follow-up semi-structured interview was conducted with 8 students to get more information about their responses in the survey. The findings of the study indicate that engineering students experience language anxiety at varying levels from low to high level of anxiety. It was also found that students’ anxiety originates from several situations associated with communication apprehension, fear of mistakes and negative evaluation, test anxiety, and beliefs about English language learning. Given the impact of FLA on foreign language learning, it is very important for teachers to find strategies to make EFL classes less stressful.