Contradictions in Writing Anxiety: A Qualitative Case Study of Expansive Learning among Iranian EFL Learners

Document Type : Original Article


1 PhD Candidate, Department of English Language & Literature, Payame Noor University, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics, Department of English Language & Literature, Payame Noor University, Iran

3 Professor of Applied Linguistics, Department of English Language & Literature, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran

4 Associate professor of Applied Linguistics, Department of English Language & Literature, Payame Noor University, Iran


This qualitative study aimed at exploring the causes of writing anxiety from an expansive learning perspective. Given the centrality of writing for both EFL learners and teachers, writing anxiety was explored through a longitudinal study spanning two years  with 25 EFL learners and teachers who participated by providing comments, diaries, and documents. The participants were also observed and interviewed following Mwanza's model as a guide. The obtained data in the whole process was constantly thematized by means of a qualitative software, NVIVO 10. The main themes on writing anxiety were extracted from teachers and learners by applying contradictions as a principle of expansive learning theory. To help learners become transformative agents of anxiety, an intervention process was carried out in the form of an online collaborative writing task. The findings recommend applying contradictions as an initial point for problem-solving and a driving impellent of activity which may lead to expansive learning. Besides, the dynamic and developmental process is expected to help learners expand and transform their writing anxiety. Contradictions may also become an initiation for future studies on language learning.


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