Getting Students to Talk in Class: A Case Study Comparing English vs. Non-English Majors’ Willingness to Communicate in the English Class (Published)
In EFL college classes in Taiwan, students have often been characterized as being reluctant to voluntarily speak up. To better understand why many college students in Taiwan choose to adopt passive learning behaviors in English classes, the present study examines Taiwanese EFL college students’ willingness to communicate (WTC) in class by comparing 27 English majors and 45 non-English majors on their responses to a 65-item questionnaire adapted from three self-report measures previously administered in other studies. Interviews were conducted with eight students to gain an in-depth understanding of reasons influencing their willingness to communicate in class. The study’s findings revealed that both groups of students appeared to be more reticent in teacher-fronted class discussions and expressed higher willingness to speak up in group or pair work and discussions revolving around topics of their interest. Nevertheless, the non-English majors were generally found to be less anxious than the English majors in the English classroom, more willing and motivated to communicate in English in different classroom activities.
Listening anxiety has long since been considered as a problematic component for foreign language learners. Therefore, this study aimed at identifying the strategies utilised by Saudi English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners in order to alleviate such listening-induced anxiety, which was undertaken by conducting semi-structured interviews with 15 participants. The findings revealed that the learners implemented nine categories of strategy, which emerged from four main themes. The primary themes were: 1) cognitive strategy, which included positive thinking, note-taking, and inferring to guess the meaning; 2) metacognitive strategy, which included preparation, peer-seeking, and self-evaluation; 3) affective strategy, which included relaxation; and 4) memory strategy, which included keywords and semantic mapping utilisation. In brief, this study positions significant implications for the learners, lecturers, and course developers alike.