School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Michael Shenkle


language mindsets, foreign language anxiety, language learning, second language acquisition, fixed mindset, growth mindset


Education | Linguistics


The learning of a second language is distinct from other types of learning, and it involves a complex interplay of cognitive, affective, motivational, and emotional factors. Language mindset, the beliefs that learners hold regarding their language learning ability, is one important affective factor, as is language anxiety. The purpose of this quantitative correlational study was to discover whether a relationship exists between language mindsets and foreign language anxiety for university second language students at a large central Virginia university. The study used four bivariate linear regressions to examine correlations between the predictor variable, foreign language anxiety, and four language mindset-related variables, overall language mindset and its three subdimensions. Results indicated a significant, moderate, positive correlation between foreign language anxiety and fixed mindsets on three of the variables, and a significant, small, positive correlation on the fourth. The study therefore demonstrated a relationship between language mindset and foreign language anxiety, such that higher levels of anxiety correlate with fixed language mindsets, and lower levels with growth mindsets. Suggested areas of future research include duplicating this research with different demographics and conducting multiple regression analyses between language mindsets and several other variables of interest.