Effect of doodling on Iranian EFL learners’ foreign language classroom anxiety and lexical retrieval

2020 IJRSE – Volume 9 Issue 6

Available Online: 29 July 2020


Roohani, Ali*
Shahrekord University, Iran (roohani.ali@gmail.com)

Naseri, Farshad
Shahrekord University, Iran (fnshahrkord@gmail.com)


Research on doodling as a psychological mechanism against boredom in learning contexts has produced mixed results. Whereas some studies accentuate its compensatory potential, some downgrade it, compared with other retention strategies. This study applied the doodling strategy in English as a foreign language (EFL) classroom, where the load of lexical input is high and EFL learners experience a high level of anxiety. It investigated the effect of doodling on Iranian EFL learners’ lexical retrieval/retention and foreign language classroom anxiety. The participants comprised of 40 EFL learners in a high school in Iran. They were divided into a treatment and a control group. Their scores on an English placement test and the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) were recorded as the pretests. Both groups were instructed on their daily English syllabus for 20 minutes nonstop to exceed the attention span, and then they were taught a list of 14 lexical items for 5 sessions, one session each week. The treatment group was provided with a space on their vocabulary sheets to do either structured or unstructured doodling. Then, both groups were assessed on immediate and delayed lexical posttests. The statistical analyses revealed that the doodlers’ short-term memory retrieval of words improved in the experimental group more than the control group. However, no significant differences were observed between two groups regarding their long-term memory retrieval of words. Moreover, the FLCAS posttest results indicated no significant reducing effect on the learners’ foreign language anxiety. Findings are discussed and implications are provided.

Keywords: doodling; EFL learners; foreign language anxiety; lexical retrieval; memory


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5861/ijrse.2020.5035

Cite this article:
Roohani, A., & Naseri, F. (2020). Effect of doodling on Iranian EFL learners’ foreign language classroom anxiety and lexical retrieval. International Journal of Research Studies in Education, 9(6), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.5861/ijrse.2020.5035

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