Differences in Student-Perceived Anxiety and Attention Levels Between Italian Language and Non-Language College Courses
The levels of student-perceived anxiety and attention in the Italian language classroom were evaluated. The central evaluation focused on the differences between how students experience anxiety and attention between Italian language and non-language courses. First-year Italian language students were surveyed using a self-report measure to identify individual levels of anxiety and attention during Elementary Italian I (ITA 101) courses compared to their experiences in non-language 100-level courses. A total of 65 responses were collected from the ITA 101 students of four different professors at Arizona State University. It was hypothesized that students experience more anxiety and pay greater attention during language courses in comparison to non-language courses. However, the differences between how students experienced both attention and anxiety across language and non-language course types was not significant. Using the demographic and supplementary questions from the survey, the differing experiences of students with or without previous language experience were examined. The results suggest a significant relationship between students with language experience and how they experience attention in Italian language courses. Additionally, statistical analysis suggests that students experience anxiety differently in Italian language courses dependent on previous second language experience. Implications for language course prerequisites were identified and suggest that it is beneficial for students to have prior second language experience before enrolling in Italian courses. Suggestions for future research were made, including a suggestion for additional research to explore how anxiety and attention may differ in higher-level language courses in addition to a suggestion for creating a more reliable and valid survey for testing classroom anxiety and attention levels.