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Why are Some Students Reluctant to Use L2 in EFL Speaking Classes? An Action Research at Tertiary Level

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.01.635
  • Reluctance
  • Anxiety
  • Oral Communication
  • Speaking
  • Efl Classes
  • Communication


Abstract The focus in ESL/EFL contexts had been on grammar translation for a long time until the modern communicative approaches claiming good communication skills stepped in. Nevertheless, one of the complaints that teachers nowadays make about English oral communication classes is that students are reluctant to speak English. While the students may participate in the class in other skills such as reading, writing and listening, they behave much more unwillingly when it comes to speaking in second language (L2). As Ali (2007) suggests “willing learners in an ESL setting who are unwilling to speak English within and beyond the boundaries of the classroom is not a trivial matter” as it is believed. The level of the students is not an affective factor and the problem exists among ESL/EFL learners from beginning to more advanced levels. Considering that students do not adopt active speech roles in EFL classrooms, an action research was conducted among 22 young adults studying at an English-medium university in an Turkish EFL setting. Data were gathered through likert scale questionnaires and one-to-one semi-structured interviews. The results indicated that several factors such as anxiety, fear of being despised, teacher strategy, and culture were found to influence the reluctance problem among speakers. The present paper brings forth the reasons for reluctance in EFL oral communication classes, learners’ perspective on this issue and provides solutions to the field of second language learning on how to make students willing to participate.

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