English Language Instruction in EFL Contexts
Reducing Anxiety through Enhancing Omani EFL Learners’ Emotional Intelligence
Abstract: Emotional Intelligence (EI) has recently come to the forefront of research on language learning and teaching, and is now being increasingly recognized as an important predictor of success in language learning specifically (Goleman, 1995; Rastegar & Karami, 2013; Sucaromana, 2012) and learning in general. Anxiety, on the other hand, has long been recognized as an important predictor of success in the language classroom, and much research has focused on the relationship between anxiety and low achievement in language acquisition (Horwitz, 2001; Horwitz, Horwitz, & Cope, 1986; MacIntyre & Gardner, 1989; Scovel, 1978). The relationship between EI and anxiety in the English language classroom, however, has not yet been extensively studied. With the importance of English in today’s global world, and the increasing need to communicate orally in English, fostering a student’s communicative ability is of great importance, particularly in EFL contexts like that found in Oman. The government of Oman has invested heavily in English language instruction but, unfortunately, the investment has not yet paid off. This paper investigates whether anxiety caused by a lack of EI skills could be one of the reasons for the failure of students to achieve appropriate competence in English. Results from questionnaires distributed to 30 university students at Sultan Qaboos University and an interview with a student counselor at the same university indicate that a lack of EI impacts upon a student’s ability to learn. The authors conclude that fostering EI in Omani university students could result in an overall lowering...
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