Making Asian Learners Talk: Encouraging Willingness to Communicate

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Vatsana Vongsila, Hayo Reinders
RELC Journal
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Published Date
09-21-2017 3:54 PM
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Developing English for communicative purposes is a key objective of language classes in many parts of the world. As a logical prerequisite to communication practice, learners need to have Willingness to Communicate (WTC) before they will engage in L2 interaction (Macintyre et al., 1998). Teachers can play an important role in helping learners to develop WTC (DAPrnyei, 2007), however, since research into this topic is relatively recent, not much is known about how teachers go about this process. For this reason, the present study investigated teachers' perceptions of their role in fostering WTC through interviews and questionnaires and compared these with observations of their classroom practices. The research was conducted in New Zealand ESOL class that focused predominantly on communicative skills, catering mostly to Asian learners. The results showed that teachers believed they play a key role in helping learners to develop WTC and identified a range of strategies they used in class. Classroom observations confirmed the use of some strategies although no explicit encouragement of language practice outside the classroom was made. This paper identifies some possible reasons for this mismatch and concludes with practical recommendations for ESOL teachers who wish to support learners' WTC.
Structured English Immersion
Program Evaluation and Effectiveness
Instructional Effectiveness
Bilingual Education