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.
COMMUNICATIVE ACTIVITIES: ISSUES ON PRE, DURING, AND POST CHALLENGES IN SOUTH KOREA’S ENGLISH EDUCATION (Published)
This paper determined 128 Korean university students’ language potentials on “pre,” “during,” and “post” communicative activities. Their strengths and weaknesses in the communicative challenges were investigated; particularly, their weaknesses in the three stages were determined in terms of rank of difficulty and frequency of attitude toward the activities. In the exploratory-quantitative-exploratory research method with qualitative perspectives, the findings were concluded: Not all were challenged in pre, during, and post communicative activities. Parents, English language environment, teaching approaches, and bad timing may be the culprit why students’ motivation, interest, and proficiencies were in bad shape. Students’ learning styles, strategies, and attitudes were also affected due to the difficulties of communicative challenges and lack of support system. Lack of support system can be characterized with lack of the proper language proficiency assessment on where to place the students in class and how much time to be allotted for each class. The students from the 22 departments attended an English class for only an hour and fifty minutes per week. With the conditions mentioned above, the students could hardly develop communicative skills because they were not able to manage learning meaningfully. Deeper insights on these three stages (such as pre, during, and post) would add literature to address students’ real needs and teacher’s issues on sense of commitment in the English language education. The rank of difficulty on communicative activities in each stage would provide the support system (which involves TESOL practitioners, teachers, curriculum developers, researchers, and even students) priorities on what, how, and when to implement communicative challenges. By evaluating every angle of these current data would help the support system design or develop teaching techniques, result-oriented materials, and interactive activities to accommodate the priorities. Thus, the ranks of difficulty in communicative activities as well as the rank and frequency of attitude towards these activities will serve as a basis for conducting further investigation or similar studies to fulfill the support system’s objectives.