HUTECH UNIVERSITY Learners’ reticence in EFL classrooms STUDENT NAME

Learners’ reticence in EFL classrooms
TOC o “1-4” 1.INTRODUCTION PAGEREF _Toc495098544 h 2
2.1.Causes of students’ reluctance to reticence in EFL classrooms PAGEREF _Toc495098546 h 2
2.1.1.Leaners’ factors PAGEREF _Toc495098547 h 2 English proficiency PAGEREF _Toc495098548 h 2 interest or knowledge in the discussion topic PAGEREF _Toc495098549 h 3 of self-confidence PAGEREF _Toc495098550 h 4 PAGEREF _Toc495098551 h 5 of making mistake or losing face PAGEREF _Toc495098552 h 5
2.1.2.Teacher’ s factors PAGEREF _Toc495098553 h 6
2.2.Previous studies related to learners’ reluctance in EFL classrooms PAGEREF _Toc495098554 h 7

INTRODUCTIONIt is undeniable that there is a close relationship between classroom oral participation and students’ academic achievement. Researches have shown that students participating actively in class have higher performance than those who are passive in class (Liu, 2005). According to Tsui (1996), students who are actively involved in classroom activities have higher satisfaction and higher persistence rate. However, encouraging students to participate orally is a challenge for many language teachers. Many researchers have been conducted study in the area of exploring cause of the students’ reticence in classrooms in different context and recommendations.

From my observation and experience of teaching English, I have noticed that my most of the students are unwilling to speak in class discussion.  Such reluctance and passivity
make them lose their motivation in learning the language. They are the main problems I have to confront.
LITERATURE REVIEW Causes of students’ reluctance to reticence in EFL classroomsLeaners’ factorsLow English proficiency
Low English proficiency is the one of main causes contributing students’ reticence in EFL classrooms (Hamouda, 2013). In the study, 75.47% of Saudi Arabian students expressed their agreement with the statement “I think what keeps me reticent in my poor English proficiency”. Karim and Shah (2008) also investigated the cause of silence among students at International Islam University. According to their findings, the lack of English proficiency teacher who use too much control in the classroom are the reasons why students becoming silent. The same findings are indicated in Cheng (2000)’s study. He stated that the most common factors making the student passive in the classroom is the low in English proficiency.
Low English proficiency can be range from lack of knowledge of grammar, inadequate vocabulary and inability to produce correct pronunciation. The learners fear of being laughed at or of being criticized by others because they pronounce incorrectly (Thaher 2005). In term of grammar, Hamouda (2013) pointed that more than two thirds of students are unwilling to speak because of being evaluated grammatical errors. The finding in Tanveer’s research (2007) also is in agreement with this respect. He claimed that the students having grammatical difficulties are unable to communicate in the second language. Furthermore, the learners’ vocabulary knowledge had a significant relationship with their silence (Mousapour-Nagari and Nabavizadeh, 2012). Learners are passive listeners in classroom due to their poor vocabulary (Cortazzi and Jin, 1996). The students do not have enough words to express their ideas and opinions.
Insufficient interest or knowledge in the discussion topicLack of interest and knowledge in topic of discussion have been identified as major contributing factors for the reticence of learners. Not having enough knowledge and being unfamiliar with a certain topic making learners unwilling to speak (MacIntyre, Clément, Dörnyei ; Noels 1998). According to Zainal Abidin Bin Sayadi (2009), “when something isn’t interesting, most people are not willing to talk about it, while one can talk as much as he can on his interests”. This view is supported by Kang (2005) who stated that the interesting topics encourage learners to discuss a topic. In an investigation on Iranian university student’s reluctance to participate EFL classrooms (Baktash and Chalak, 2015), the results showed that more than half of participants agreeing that they were unwilling to participate in class discussion if the lesson was not interesting. Li and Liu (2011) investigated the causes of reticence and anxiety in Chinese university. It was also found that lack of knowledge or interest in the discussion discourage learners from speaking.
Lack of self-confidenceA number of studies have found that lack of confidence leads to students’ reticence (Dwyer ; Heller-Murphy, 1996; Li ; Liu, 2011). Lack of confidence makes them believe that their language skills are weaker than those of others. They think that other people have not understood them or they do not understand what teacher says. According to Nunan (1999), students lacking of self-confidence about their English are afraid of communicating with others.

The relationship between students’ confidence and their willingness to speak has been widely investigated. Lai (1994) confirmed that students’ confidence about English is a factor leading students to participate in classrooms. The similar finding was reported in Hamouda’s study (2013). In another study, MacIntyre et al. (1998) suggest that self-confidence significantly contributes to the learner’s willingness to communicate in a foreign language. According to them, the factor of self-confidence including overall self-confidence in L2 and situational self-confidence in communication play an important role in determining the learner’s willingness to communicate.
AnxietyThe researchers believe that there is a close relationship between reticence and anxiety. It can be said that personality is a factor contributing in speaking performance done by the students. According to Gardner and MacIntyre (1993), language anxiety can be defined as the fear appears when teacher asks learners to respond and to do the task in the language in which students are not proficient
As the results are shown in Baktash and Chalak’ s study, more than half of the students were nervous and about two third felt tense when talking. They also revealed that they forgot what they wanted to say and lost insight of what to say. Furthermore, Ely (1986) indicated that anxious students are reluctant to answer and participate in classroom activities. The similar finding was reported by Chen (2003) who claimed that personal-affective factors such as anxiety and lack of experience with class discussion, and sociocultural factors such as the prevailing belief of “teacher as a sage on the stage” as the primary causes of the issue.
Fear of making mistake or losing faceFear of making mistake is often cited as another cause of student’s reticence. This factor often occurs in Eastern culture where people desire to be right and perfect and fear of losing face (Cheng, 2000). The fear of making mistake is linked to the students’ fear of being laughed at by other students or being pessimistically evaluated by teacher (Aflat 2008). Students are silent because the teacher evaluates them negatively if they make mistakes (Hamouda, 2013). In fact, teacher’ overcorrections “can draw students’ attention away from communication and toward a focus on form and accuracy” (Gregersen, 2003, p. 31). The study also revealed that fear of being laughed at was one of reasons making them reticent. More than 41% of participants claim that fear of being laughed at is a reason why they do not participate in the classroom. Furthermore, learners are afraid of making mistakes in front of teachers because they think this influences their end-of-course results (Price, 1992).
Fear of losing face in front of their class through criticizing leads to learners hesitate to speak in front of others. Hamouda (2013) indicated 67.92% of participants are ‘afraid of being seen as foolish’ when they make too many mistakes in font of classmates. They think this will distort their image in front of their classmates.
Teacher’ s factorsOne of reasons why learners become silent in a class comes from teacher’s methodology. Cheng (2000) stated that the methodology in teaching is considered to make the students willing or unwilling to participate in classrooms. In an analysis of the students reticence, Lee (2009) stated that teacher interaction strategy is the one of major factors determining student reticence in classrooms. Tsui (1996) carried out the research to find out the cause of student reticence. The results of this study indicate that teachers’ ways of interacting with students, i.e. intolerance of silence, incomprehensible input, and short wait time, lead to student reticence. To summarize, students’ communicative behavior in classrooms can be influenced by the teachers’ ways of conducting their lecture and interacting with students.

Hamouda (2013) claimed that negative teacher traits such as harshness and strictness discourage the learners’ participation. Most of the participants in the research agree the statement ” I am reluctant to participate in class because I am afraid of my teacher’ harsh comments and negative gestures”. Liu (2005) also found that the students remain silent because of the negative lecture traits. Similarly, Tanveer (2007) pointed that “authoritative, embarrassing and humiliating attitude of the teachers towards student, particularly when they make mistakes can have severe consequences on learners’ cognition and their willingness to communicate in class”
Previous studies related to learners’ reluctance in EFL classroomsSeveral studies investigating on the students’ reticence in classrooms have been carried out. Dwyer and Heller-Murphy (1996) carried out to find out the reason why Japanese students were reticent in EFL classrooms. They revealed the causes of reticence were fear of making mistakes, low English proficiency, lack of confidence, inability to keep up with native speakers, etc.
Liu (2005) conducted the study to investigate Chinese students’ reticence. Through journals, observations and interviews, he found that low English proficiency, personality, fear of speaking, difficulty of the task, fear of making mistakes, teacher’ teaching style, lack of familiarity with the task, etc. are factors determining students’ reticence. Besides, the researcher also discussed the pedagogical. It is essential for EFL teachers to create a relaxing, welcoming, and supportive classroom learning environment. In addition, teacher should enhance students’ interest and motivation to speak the language by giving a list of difficult vocabulary and sentence structures. Students should be exposed to spoken English
Similar findings were achieved by Hamouda (2013) who examined the issue of non-participation of students in Arabia setting. There were 159 participants answering a 66-item questionnaire on reticence. The results can be shown that the causes of students’ unwillingness to speak come from different factors. They include low English proficiency, fear of speaking, negative evaluation, shyness, lack of confidence, preparation, and fear of making mistakes. Based on findings, the researcher suggests several ways to reduce the factors of reticence in classrooms. It is advisable for teacher to create a warm atmosphere to motivate to learn English. Teacher can prepare interesting and familiar topics. Recommending the opportunities for students to speak English outside the class is also considered a necessary thing. Moreover, teachers should encourage students to have the confidence to make mistakes in order to acquire communication skills and give the passive students opportunities to speak in a friendly environment. Besides, teachers should create activities enhancing the students’ vocabulary and grammatical points
In another study, Lee and Ng (2010) studied whether teacher interaction strategy could be one of factors contributing student reticence in classrooms. They found that teacher is a major determinant of student reticence and pedagogical factors such as lesson objectives and task type influence a teacher’s decision on the use of interaction strategies.

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Cheng, X. (2000). Asian students’ reticence revisited. System, 28, pp. 435-446.

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