The Effects of Integrating Board Games into Ice-breaking Activities in a Fifth-Grade English Class to Reduce Students’ Anxieties

  •  Chung-yi Chao    
  •  Sa-hui Fan    


Elementary-level English teachers in Taiwan were facing problems caused by students’ bimodal distribution of English achievements. Many of the teachers tried new teaching tools to eliminate the obstacles of teaching. This study was based on a quasi-experimental research design and supplemented by qualitative feedback to explore how the new teaching method, ice-breaking board games, could reduce students’ anxieties of learning English. The researchers combined popular board games, Halli Galli and Alles Tomate, with English words and sentences in ice-breaking activities for 10 weeks in two fifth-grade English classes in Taiwan. Forty-eight fifth-grade students were invited to participate in the study and randomly divided into two equal-sized classes. One class was selected as the experimental group, and the other as the control group. The study lasted for 10 weeks. The Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) developed by Horwitz et al. (1986) was employed as the instrument to measure students’ English learning anxieties. Quantitative data were analyzed by using independent-sample and paired-sample t-tests as well as descriptive statistics, whereas qualitative data (which included the participating students’ feedback and teacher’s reflection notes) were analyzed through content analysis. The research findings suggested that integrating board games in English teaching as ice-breaking activities did not effectively reduce students’ overall foreign language anxiety. However, the descriptive statistics and qualitative data revealed that the constructs of anxiety for both groups had changed in opposite directions, and ice-breaking board games appeared to be more impactful in reducing certain aspects of anxiety construct, namely, communication apprehension.

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