An analysis of the relationship between communication skills, communication apprehension and academic achievement of secondary phase learners
Mentoor, Zelda Michel
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This study indicates that communication skills and communication apprehension of English First Additional Language (EFAL) learners are important aspects in teaching and learning, as well as for academic performance. A learner‘s major hurdle to overcome in communication in a second language classroom is a fear of failure. Communication skills and communication apprehension are challenges teachers have to face in language classrooms. Communication barriers that may lead to fear, distress and poor performance should be identified at an early stage. Therefore, it is critical for teachers to know about the communication process, communication skills, and communication apprehension to design positive solutions and teaching strategies to assist learners to overcome fear of communication, especially in the area of second and additional languages. A sample of 779 male and female learners in the secondary phase in Kannaland District, Western Cape participated in the study. For this non-experimental quantitative study, data were gathered using two questionnaires, Communication Skills Scale, and the Personal Report Communication Apprehension questionnaire. To explore the relationship between communication skills, communication apprehension and academic achievement, the first and second term EFAL marks of grades 7-9 learners were used. The data were presented as descriptive statistics, factor analysis, reliability analysis, correlations and comparisons. Results distinguished no differences between males, females, or grades. Findings were discussed with regard to communication skills and the academic achievement, as well as communication apprehension and academic achievement of the learners. Results indicate that there is no significant relationship between communication skills and academic achievement. Nevertheless, distinct relationships between communication skills and communication apprehension (group work, meetings and public speaking) were established and discussed. Communication apprehension (group work, conversations and in the classroom) and academic achievement presented clear relationships that were reported in detail. The factors identified may have a negative impact on learners‘ academic achievement in EFAL. Insight generated by the research in Kannaland District, Western Cape will help to develop an understanding of the situations that affect the degree of communication apprehension of secondary phase EFAL learners. It will allow for a better understanding of the influence of communication skills and could assist teachers to understand EFAL learners‘ fear, distress or ability to communicate.
- Education 
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