Although speaking anxiety among foreign language learners at lower levels of proficiency has been extensively studied, far too little attention has been paid to learners at more advanced levels like student teachers enrolled in English Language Teaching (ELT) programs. However, speaking in the target language is a complicated mental process influenced by several other factors than proficiency. The present study has aptly been undertaken due to considerable reticence on the part of student teachers in communicative activities. An action plan was initiated to identify the sources of student teachers’ avoidance behaviors in oral production and address the concerns generated by these factors. An open-ended survey, journals, overall reflection papers and field notes were employed to gain insights as to the research process. Analysis of qualitative data revealed that student teachers were susceptible to experiencing anxiety in oral production due to personal and interpersonal issues, and they were positive in their perceptions of the planned intervention since it helped them build a sense of community in their classroom and enhance their self-esteem. These findings suggest several courses of action for language practitioners and teacher training institutions.
Keywords: speaking anxiety; student teachers; collaborative learning; podcasts; out-of-class learning