This experiment was designed to test if foreign language anxiety in an EFL classroom could be reduced through the use of chatting on social media. The purpose was to indicate a way for a popular e-chatting app, specifically LINE, to be used to reduce a common problem facing EFL teachers, student anxiety. The researcher did this by having students do a simple task-based exercise once through normal face-to-face interactions and secondly by using the LINE app. This experiment was done with second-year students at a four year University in central Taiwan.
The lesson was designed based on the ideas of task-based learning. The students had a task to read a short essay with a mixture of correct and incorrect information. They then had to use the internet and discuss with one another to figure out which information was incorrect. The students were given an explanation of the task by the instructor and put into groups of approximately five students each. The first time they did the task, the students had to physically move to be with their group while the instructor walked around the room checking to ensure they were doing the task correctly. In the second taks the students chatted online using the LINE app with both each other and the instructor.
The curriculum design was based on a task-based learning approach. This was done because this is a commonly used method of instruction, and one where anxiety can cause students problems. This made it a task where the use of social media to reduce anxiety could be helpful.
The participants in this study were second year students at a four year university in central Taiwan. It was done on a group of thirty students. Half did both the task both ways, once using LINE, once using normal face-to-face interactions. The other hald only did one of the tasks. Their English level was generally high intermediate. Most of the students were Taiwanese one was from Mainland China.
The aim of this study is to show that anxiety can represent a barrier to learning and that through the use of social media it can be alleviated. By using an app that students are already familiar with in their daily life, they can participate in task-based learning in a way in which they are comfortable. This allows educators to focus on their English ability whether or not they are anxious. The results showed that in general there was less anxiety when using LINE, although in some cases they were somewhat inconclusive.