The impact of contemplative practices on foreign language anxiety and learning

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Emily E. Scida
Jill E. Jones


This study looked at the impact of the integration of contemplative practices on foreign language anxiety, positive and negative affect, self-efficacy, classroom climate, and language learning in students enrolled in an advanced intermediate Spanish language course in the USA. Data included pre- and post-test surveys, exam scores to measure learning outcomes, student interviews, and course evaluations. In the contemplative group, students engaged in brief 10-minute contemplative practices once a week, while the non-contemplative group followed the same syllabus but was not exposed to contemplative practices. Analysis of the data showed no significant differences in foreign language anxiety, self-efficacy or affect between the non-contemplative and contemplative groups at post-test but significantly higher scores on classroom climate measures in the contemplative group. Significantly higher grades were found on course exams for students in the contemplative group. Analysis of the pre-/post-survey data revealed a significant decrease in foreign language anxiety in both groups over the semester but not for affect or self-efficacy. This study extends the existing research on contemplative practices to a new context—affect and learning in foreign language courses.


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Scida, E. E., & Jones, J. E. (2017). The impact of contemplative practices on foreign language anxiety and learning. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 7(4), 573-599.
Author Biographies

Emily E. Scida, University of Virginia, Charlottesville

 Emily E. Scida is Professor of Spanish and Director of the Spanish Language Program in the Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese at the University of Virginia (UVA), Virginia, USA. Her research interests include teacher education, learning technologies, e-portfolios, and contemplative pedagogies. Emily has been the recipient of a number of grants and awards, including a 2014 Contemplative Sciences Center Grant, the 2011-2014 Daniels Family NEH Distinguished Teaching Professorship, a Fall 2012 Hybrid Course Challenge Grant, Learning Technologies Incubator Grants, and a Teaching + Technology Initiative Fellowship. In 2011, she was inducted into the University Academy of Teaching at UVA.

Jill E. Jones, University of Virginia, Charlottesville

Jill N. Jones is currently a PhD candidate in the higher education program at the University of Virginia, Curry School of Education, Charlottesville, VA, USA and works at Hanover Research as a survey specialist. Her research interests include effective pedagogical practices, student learning outcomes, and student/faculty professional development.


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