Learning a foreign language is crucial for university students’ comprehensive academic training. However, Chilean undergraduate students have proven reluctant to speak in English, and they struggle to communicate orally in classes. Willingness to communicate (WTC) is one of the variables affecting foreign language learning and it is influenced by different variables, such as, topics, grouping, interlocutor, teacher and self-perceived communication competence (SPCC). In this scenario, this study aims to explore to which extent debate on national current affairs could affect university students’ WTC orally in English as well as their SPCC. This study followed an action research design and the data was collected through two questionnaires, class observation and a focus group interview. The findings showed an increase in WTC and SPCC in three of the four students observed. Thus, debates on national current affairs could be a useful tool to enhance students’ willingness to communicate.
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