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General observations indicate that ESL learners in Nigeria tend to manifest fear and anxiety in grammar classes, which could influence their performance negatively or positively. This study examines empirically some of the reasons for some ESL learners’ apprehension of grammar classes. The data for the study were obtained from 268 secondary school students and 17 English language teachers who responded to a questionnaire developed to provide answers to the following questions: Are ESL learners actually apprehensive of their English grammar classes? What are the reasons for their apprehension? Are there significant differences in subjects’ responses based on level of study, type and location of school and gender? The responses which were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics show that learners are largely apprehensive of English grammar classes. The findings also show that the reasons for their apprehension are threefold: inherent difficulties associated with learning grammatical structures of English and teacher and student related factors. It is recommended that specific measures be adopted to alleviate students’ fear in order to improve their performance in the subject.
Keywords: Nigerian, ESL, learners, apprehension, grammar, lessons