Second Language Speaking Anxiety Among Malaysian Postgraduate Students at a Faculty of Education

Kamal J I Badrasawi, Abdulateef Solihu, Tunku Badariah Tunku Ahmad


This study examined the level of L2 speaking anxiety among school teachers undertaking a master’s degree at the International Islamic University Malaysia and sought to determine if the anxiety level would differ by gender, school location and teaching subject. A convenience sample of 290 teachers completed a 12-item survey on L2 speaking anxiety adapted from Nazir et al. (2014). The survey data were analyzed using the Rasch measurement modeling for polytomous data, independent samples t-test and one-way ANOVA. Overall, the respondents did not show high levels of speaking anxiety, [Mean -.89 logits]. Most were largely worried about being able to express themselves effectively in English [-.66 logits], making mistakes in speaking [-.31 logits], and how lecturers would react to their mistakes [-.38 logits]. The sample’s speaking anxiety scores were found to differ significantly by teaching subject, while no statistically significant differences were observed in regard to gender and school location. The results imply that the teachers need to be helped in terms of confronting the factors that cause them to be anxious about speaking in English. In terms of research, in-depth qualitative studies need to be undertaken to further understand the nature of L2 speaking anxiety among schoolteachers, while quantitative studies with larger samples are recommended to uncover underlying factors of speaking anxiety.


ESL Speaking Anxiety, Postgraduate Students, Rasch Measurement Model

Full Text:



Ahmad, A.S., Sabariah, M.R., Nimehchisalem, V. & Ramiza, D. (2019). The Impart of Writing Anxiety, Writing Achievement Motivation, and Writing Self-Efficacy on Writing Performance: a correlational study of Iraqi tertiary EFL learners. SAGE Open, 9(4), 1-13. doi: 10.1177/215824401989428

Ahmed, M.A. & Alansari, B.M. (2004). Gender differences in anxiety among undergraduates from ten Arab countries. International Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 32(7), 649-655.

Ahmed, N., Hussain, Z.P. & Saeed, F.K. (2017). Exploring the Causes of English Language Speaking Anxiety among Postgraduate Students of University of Balochistan, Pakistan, International Journal of English Linguistics, 7(2), 99-105.

Amiri, M. & Ghonsooly, B. (2015). The Relationship between English Learning Anxiety and the Students’ Achievement on Examinations. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 6 (4), 855-865.

Bond, T., & Fox, C. M. (2015). Applying the Rasch Model: fundamental measurement in the human sciences. Routledge.

Chin, V., Hie Ling, T. & Jiin Yih, Y. (2016). Investigating English Language Anxiety among UiTM Sarawak Undergraduates. Journal of Creative Practices in Language Learning and Teaching (CPLT), 4(1), 50-62.

Dordinejad, F. G. & Ahmadabad, R. M. (2014). Examination of the relationship between foreign language classroom anxiety and English achievement among male and female Iranian high school students. International Journal of Language Learning and Applied Linguistics World, 6(4), 446-460.

Elaldi, S. (2016). Foreign language anxiety of students studying English Language and Literature: A Sample from Turkey. Journal of Educational Research and Reviews, 11(6), 219-228.

Ellis R (2008). The study of second language acquisition (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Han, L. (2014). Foreign Language Speaking Anxiety: A Study of Chinese Language Learners. Journal of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages, 15, 99-117.

Hashemi M, Abbasi M (2013). The role of the teacher in alleviating anxiety in language classes. International Research Journal of Applied and Basic Sciences, 4(3), 640-646.

Hasrul, M.K. Ibrahim, N., Yunus, M. & Mohd Ishak, N. (2013). Language Anxiety among Gifted Learners in Malaysia. English Language Teaching, 6(3), 20-29.

Horwitz, E. K. (2001). Language anxiety and achievement. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 21, 112-126.

Horwitz, E., Horwitz, M. B., & Cope, J. (1986). “Foreign language classroom anxiety.” The Modern Language Journal, 70, 125-132.

Jomaa, N. J. and Jupri, R. (2014). Sources of foreign language anxiety among postgraduate students. The Fifth Biennial International Conference on Teaching and Learning of English in Asia (TLEIA5), 27 – 29 October 2014. Langkawi, Malaysia.

Kumar, U.H. (2018). English Language Anxiety and Academic Achievement. North Asian International Research Journal of Social Science & Humanities, 4(3), 138-147.

Linacre, J. M. (2018). Winsteps & Rasch Measurement (Version 4.1.0) [Computer Software and manual]. Retrieved from

Linacre, J.M. (2019). A User's Guide to Winsteps & Ministeps (Rasch-Model Computer Programs). Program Manual 4.4.5.

MacIntyre, P. D., & Gardner, R. C. (1994). The Subtle Effects of Language Anxiety on Cognitive Processing in the Second Language. Language Learning, 44, 283-305.

Mahmoodzadeh, M. (2012). Investigating Foreign Language Speaking Anxiety within the EFL Learner’s Inter-language System; The Case of Iranian Learners. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 3(3), 466-476.

Melouah, A. (2013). Foreign Language Anxiety in EFL Speaking Classrooms: A Case Study of First-year LMD Students of English at Saad Dahlab University of Blida, Algeria. Arab World English Journal, 4(1), 64-76.

Mohammad, J.B., Mohd, N.N. & Mustaffa, R. (2016). Speaking Anxiety among English as a Foreign Language Learner in Jordan: Quantitative Research. International Journal of Education and Research, 4(10), 63-82.

Nazir, M., Bashir, S. & Bashir, Z.R. (2014). A Study of Second Language Speaking-Anxiety among ESL Intermediate Pakistani Learners. International Journal of English and Education, 3(3), 216-229.

Piechurska-Kuciel, E. (2012). Language anxiety levels in urban, suburban and rural secondary grammar school students. In New perspectives on individual differences in language learning and teaching: Second language learning and teaching, Part 3, 169-183. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-20850-8_11

Saad, A.E. (2016). The Relationship between Anxiety and Achievement among Moulay Ismail University Students, Mekne. Eddine, Clinical and Experimental Psychology, 2(2), 1-4.

Saranraj, L. & Meenakshi, K. (2016). Influence of Motivation Factor and Anxiety in L2 Learning among Engineering Students in Dharmapuri, India. Indian Journal of Science and Technology, 9(18), 1-7.

Siti Faridah Kamaruddin., & Nabilah Abdullah. (2015). Language anxiety among university students: Causal factors and coping strategies. Journal of Education and Social Sciences, 1, 20-29.

Tsiplakides, I. & Keramida, A. (2009). Helping Students Overcome Foreign Language Speaking Anxiety in the English Classroom: Theoretical Issues and Practical Recommendations. Journal of International Education Studies, 2(4), 39-44.

Wang M. (2014). An empirical study on foreign language anxiety of non-English major students: Take the sophomores in Inner Mongolia University of Technology as an Example. Studies in Literature and Language, 9(3), 128-135.

Wu, K. (2010). The Relationship between Language Learners’ Anxiety and Learning Strategy in the CLT Classrooms. Journal of International Education Studies, 3(1), 174-191.

Young, D. J. (1991). Creating a low-anxiety classroom environment: What does the language anxiety research suggest? Modern Language Journal, 75, 425-439.

Zhang, R. Zhong, J. (2012). The hindrance of doubt: Causes of language anxiety. International Journal of English Linguistics, 2(3), 27-33.

Zheng, Y. (2008) Anxiety and second /foreign language learning revisited. Canadian Journal for New Scholars in Education, 1(1), 1-12.

Zhiping, D. & Paramasivam, S. (2013). Anxiety of Speaking English in Class among International Students in a Malaysian University. International Journal of Education and Research, 1(11), 1-16.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies  

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.