A Dynamic Intervention for Removing Learning Anxiety: A Field Experiment on Removing Psychological Barriers to Speaking

Document Type: Original Article


1 Chabahar Maritime University

2 Chabahar maritime University

3 Sistan and Baluchistan University


Introduction: Research findings in the last decades have shown that anxiety and its debilitative consequences exert damaging effect on learning. Enjoying a profound theoretical foundation in Vygotskian theories of cognitive development and psychological therapy, dynamic assessment and interventions propose a framework for promoting student’s learning through mediation and support in the zone of proximal development of mind. The present study was an attempt to use this framework to remove anxiety and psychological barriers to mastering speaking in English classes. Methods: To this aim foreign language classroom anxiety scale (FLCAS) was adopted and administered to 250 first grade high school students in Qom and the researcher selected 10 students with highest anxiety score, serving as experimental group (n=10). The research used an experimental design, in which experimental group’s anxiety scores in pre-test (before dynamic intervention) and post-test (after dynamic intervention) was calculated. Also, the group was given a speaking exam in pre-test and post-test conditions to trace learning after dynamic intervention. Data were analyzed through paired t-test procedure. Results: the findings of the study showed that the intervention significantly relieved anxiety symptoms (t (9) =18.974, p =0.000) and promoted learning speaking (t (9) =-8.508, p =0.000). Furthermore, descriptions of treatment showed the way the intervention treated anxiety symptoms and resulted in internalization of learning. Conclusion: In sum, the current study identified major anxiety symptoms and introduced a fast, non-obtrusive, and time and money saving method for treating anxiety. Findings have implications for psychologists, counselors, teachers and health and education decision makers.


1. Ajideh P, Nourdad N. The Effect of Dynamic Assessment on
EFL Reading Comprehension in Different Proficiency Levels.
Language Testing in Asia. 2012;2(4):101.
2. Aljafreh A, Lantolf J. Negative Feedback as Regulation and
Second Language Learning in the Zone of Proximal
Development. The Modern Language Journal. 1994;78(4):465-
3. Cao Y. Comparison of Two Models of Foreign Language
Classroom Anxiety Sclae. The Philippine ESL Journal. 2011;
4. Chaiklin S. The zone of proximal development in Vygotsky’s
analysis of learning and instruction. New York: Cambridge
University Press; 2003.pp.36-39
5. Chuang CH. Learner anxiety and EFL learning: A study of
tertiary students' and teachers' perceptions in Taiwan. PhD.
Nottingham; 2015.
6. Feuerstein R, Rand Y, Hoffman, M B. Dynamic assessment of
retarded performers: the learning potential assessment device,
theory, instruments, and techniques. Baltimore, MD: University
Park Press; 1979.
7. Hasenan N, Abdulghani A. Measuring English language anxiety
and learning strategies among Malaysian L2 undergraduates. EProceeding
of the Social Sciences Research. 2017; 14(9): 492-
8. Haywood H C. Group dynamic assessment with adults with
traumatic brain injuries: Massed versus distributed mediation. In:
10th international conference, International Association for
Cognitive Education and Psychology. 2007; Durham, UK.
9. Horwitz, EK. How Anxiety and Beliefs Impact Language
Learning and Teaching. In: 31st conference on language and
teaching. 2014. Austria: University of Graz
10. Horwitz, EK, Tallon M, Luo H. Foreign Language Anxiety and
Anxiety in Schools: The Causes, Consequences, and Solutions
for Academic Anxieties. New York: Peter Lang Publishing;
11. Horwitz E, Horwitz M, Cope J. Foreign Language Classroom
Anxiety. The Modern Language Journal. 1986; 70(2):125.
12. Huang H. University EFL students’ and their teachers’
preferences for in-class activities and their relationships to the
students’ foreign language anxiety. Unpublished master’s thesis.
Taiwan: Providence University; 2008.
13. Lei X. Chinese college students' anxiety about learning English.
Foreign Language and Literature. 2004; 79:46-51.
14. Lidz CS, Gindis B. Dynamic assessment of the evolving
cognitive functions in children. In Vygotsky’s Educational
Theory in Cultural Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press; 2003.
15. Lidz CS. Practitioner’s Guide to Dynamic Assessment. New
York: Guilford; 1991.
16. Luria AR. Study of the abnormal child. American Journal of
Orthopsychiatry: A Journal of Human Behavior. 1961; 31: 1-16.
17. Poehner M E. Dynamic assessment of oral proficiency among
advanced L2 learners of French. Unpublished doctoral
dissertation. U.S.A: Pennsylvania State University; 2005.
18. Poehner ME. Beyond the test: L2 dynamic assessment and the
transcendence of mediated learning. The Modern Language
Journal.2007; 91: pp. 323–340.
19. Poehner ME. Dynamic Assessment: A Vygotskian Approach to
Understanding and Promoting Second Language Development.
Berlin: Springer Publishing; 2008.
Farokhipour et al.
31 Int J Behav Sci Vol.12, No.1, Spring 2018
20. Shahbazirad A, Ghadampour E, Ghazanfari F, Momeni, Kh. The
Effectiveness of Cognitive, Meta-cognitive, and Behavioral
Model on Reducing Anxious Thoughts in Patients with Social
Anxiety Disorder. Int J Behav Sci. 2017; 11(1): 39-43
21. Speilberger CD. Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.
California: Consulting Psychologists Press; 1983.
22. Vygotsky LS. Mind in Society: The development of higher
psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Press. 1978.