Student Anxiety and Learning Difficulties in Academic English Courses


Anxiety and learning difficulties are an increasingly common feature in language learning courses in all educational levels. By the time students with these issues enter university they may have had a variety of positive or negative experiences with foreign language learning, and may have developed a number of coping mechanisms to manage their conditions. The purpose of this presentation is to examine learning difficulties and anxiety experienced by Finnish university students in their compulsory academic and field-specific English courses. In Finland all university degrees include courses on academic English reading, writing, communication and presenting, and every year a number of students bring up their challenges with English, either before the course, during it, or in many cases only after having failed the course. In my presentation I will introduce the foundations of learning difficulties in foreign language learning and common challenges with academic English as experienced by Finnish university students, including performance anxiety, panic disorder, dyslexia and diagnosed moderate to severe learning difficulties. The presentation will include a case study of five Finnish students from the academic year 2016-2017 with expressed learning difficulties, how they approached their learning difficulties, and what measures were taken in the courses to facilitate their progress and development of essential study- and work-related English skills.

Author Information
Satu Tuomainen, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Paper Information
Conference: ECLL2017
Stream: Anxiety & Motivation

This paper is part of the ECLL2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon