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Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume.8 Number.2 June, 2017                                                       Pp.418- 420


Book Review

Fear of Negative Evaluation in an EFL Setting: An Algerian Case Study



Author: Nadia Idri

Book: Fear of Negative Evaluation in an EFL Setting: An Algerian Case Study

Publisher: Éditions Universitaires Europèennes

Year of Publication: 2016

Place of Publication: Saarbrücken, Deutschland/ Germany

Pages: 259

Reviewer: Esra İstek

Near East University, Lefkoşa, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus


Anxiety is one of the most important factors that affects language learners either positively or negatively in the language classrooms. Many research studies have been conducted in order to find the types, symptoms, causes of, reasons for and solutions to language learning anxiety. In addition, many books have been written to introduce foreign language learning anxiety. Dr. Nadia Idri presents another research study conducted in Algeria over a period of three months entitled “Fear of Negative Evaluation in an EFL Setting: An Algerian Case Study”. It introduces a comprehensive analysis of anxiety as an affective factor in language learning. The author gives the aim of the study as “analyzing fear of negative evaluation (FNE) as a component of language anxiety which is an educational problem and, thus, finding out its causes and influences on learning EFL in our defined population (p. 112).” As far as research studies on foreign language anxiety of Asian students are concerned, Table 3 (p. 116) summarizes recent studies in a comprehensive manner. The flowchart (Figure 11, p. 92) displays symptoms of fear of negative evaluation in detail. The ideas in the book are also supported by a case study which was done in Algeria.

This is a research-based book that consists of eight chapters. The author presents a different issue related to foreign language learning anxiety in each chapter. The book can actually be divided into three sections. In the first section including chapters 1, 2, 3 & 4, the author gives comprehensive background information about the fear of negative evaluation. The first chapter of the book displays important information in the field of education in Algeria because it introduces the LMD (Licence, Master, Doctorate) reform in higher education, and how learners are evaluated in this system. By explaining the LMD system in Algeria in the first chapter, the author establishes a connection between the LMD system and fear of negative evaluation. The readers of the book are offered some useful ideas related to the LMD system. The next three chapters of the first section are based on anxiety in general. In chapter two, the author deals with performance anxiety and talks about types of anxiety in general by focusing on the ideas of the researchers. In this chapter, the definitions and the research results help the readers to have a clear understanding of the issue of anxiety. In chapters 3 and 4, the author mentions the sources, results and symptoms of anxiety. Furthermore, the author links fear of negative evaluation to language learning. This chapter highlights some important aspects of anxiety in language learning. Both the educators and the researchers can find some useful information based on foreign language learning anxiety in these chapters.

The second section of the book is the research part. In chapters 5, 6 and 7, the author describes the methodology of the study, clearly defines the problem (Figure 13, p. 118), objectives of the study, research questions and the hypotheses (Figure 14, p. 121) of the study. These chapters also give a detailed description of the research methodology, participants, instruments, procedures of data collection and analysis and the results of the study. The author as a researcher, used qualitative methods. As data collection instruments, interviews and participant observations were used in order to collect data from the participants. In interpreting the results, the author includes some quotations from the participants’ answers that support the hypotheses of the study. These quotations enrich the content of the chapters and they consolidate the findings of the study. In addition, the results of the study are presented in such a way that the readers can easily comprehend them. Although it is a qualitative study, the author uses tables in presenting the results in order to help the readers visually understand them better. In the final chapter, Dr. Nadia Idri gives some suggestions to decrease the level of fear of negative evaluation. These suggestions include developing self-awareness, creating a positive learning environment, improving group dynamics and the teacher-learner interaction. Furthermore, the author suggests using techniques of humanistic approach as in Curran’s (1972) counseling/community language learning, Lozanov’s (1978) suggestopedia (later changed to desuggestopedia) and relaxation techniques employed in the field of psychology in order to reduce the level of fear of negative evaluation. These suggestions are also supported by quotations from the participants of the research study and they include very useful ideas for educators and language learners.

In the overall conclusion, the author says, “By the end of our research work, we have tried to establish the link between teacher’s feedback and learners’ reactions. We try to suggest the following Model to relate all the variables we treated so far as contributing factors in learners’ affect (p. 216)”. Figure 15 (p. 217) summarizes teachers’ role in creating positive or negative responses when providing feedback. The book ends with an overall conclusion summarizing the research study. The book gives six instruments used in the study in the Appendix section and contains a long and useful list of references on recent literature concerning foreign language learning anxiety.

Nadia Idri’s book, Fear of Negative Evaluation in an EFL Setting: An Algerian Case Study, is a valuable contribution to the present literature on symptoms, causes and solutions to fear of negative evaluation. The book presents an engaging study that explored the factors that cause anxiety in the evaluation process of the LMD system in Algeria. The book is essential for those interested in foreign language anxiety research in terms of its symptoms, causes and solutions in an EFL context. I strongly recommend the book for English language teachers, researchers, MA and PhD students.