|Title:||Willingness to communicate in a second language : a qualitative study of issues affecting Thai EFL learners from students' and teachers' point of view|
Sydney and teaching
|Publisher:||University of Sydney.|
Faculty of Education and Social Work.
|Abstract:||Students’ preference to remain silent in English-speaking classrooms has long been a problem in Thailand where the communicative language teaching (CLT) approach is widely used. This study investigates the reasons why Thai students do not want to use English to communicate in their EFL class. The theoretical framework for this study is based on research by MacIntyre et al. (1998) and Wen and Clement (2003). MacIntyre et al.’s (1998) framework concerns the process underlying the inclination to choose to speak a second language given the opportunity. This phenomenon is called, “Willingness to Communicate” (WTC) in a second language (L2). MacIntyre et al.’s framework was adapted by Wen and Clement (2003) and applied to nonwestern classroom settings, where a learners’ volition to speak in a second language may be influenced by cultural orientations. The theoretical framework of this study posits that WTC in the Thai EFL classroom context varies depending upon the immediate situation in the language classroom. This situation reflects the role of interlocutors as a product of cultural protocol, and the classroom communication patterns which are controlled by the classroom teacher. Based on this theoretical framework, the study primarily investigates the students’ WTC in a second language within the classroom context. Also, it aims to understand what EFL teachers do in their teaching practices to promote students’ WTC and how these practices affect students’ WTC. The framework of this study determined the rationale for methods of investigation that use qualitative inquiry to understand the contextually dependent nature of WTC in a second language. The rationale is based on a view of motivation called the person-in-context relational view of L2 motivation, a term recently coined by Ushioda (2009). The use of qualitative methods to investigate perceptions from both students and teachers concerning’ students WTC in the Thai EFL classroom context captures relevant contextually-related variables. The participants in this study were 29 undergraduate students, enrolled in five firstlevel English speaking classes at two universities in Bangkok, Thailand. These students were selected from 84 students who completed a WTC questionnaire. The selection of the participants was based on their WTC scores. Five teachers from these classes also participated, three of whom were Thai and two were native English speakers. The perceptions of both student and teacher participants were investigated xii through multiple methods: interviews, stimulated recall, and classroom observations. After the classroom observations, student and teacher participants participated in individual interviews, which were composed of general questions and stimulated recall questions based on classroom videos. Content analysis was used to identify themes indicating the variables contributing to students’ WTC and the teachers’ attempts to encourage students to speak English. Interpretation of the findings involved the analysis of data derived from the three sources of student and teacher interviews, stimulated recall data and observations. The proposed theoretical framework of the study was supported by the findings. Cultural orientation was found to be the basis of four identified variables underlying students’ WTC, classified as: Cultural Context, Social and Individual Context, Classroom Context, and Social and Psychological Context. Variables in the cultural context category highlighted two key principles underlying the norms of social interactions in Thai culture: the desire to establish a network of relationships and the need to maintain the hierarchical system embedded in the society. These two principles highlight the role of significant others over an individual’s decisions to interact or remain silent. In the social and individual context category, WTC was dependent on the role of significant others, as well as one’s personal characteristics and learning experiences. Within the classroom context, students’ WTC varied according to the influence of peer interlocutors, with whom the participants communicated. Also, teaching practices, reflecting language learning tasks and class management were found to affect students’ WTC. Finally, the social and psychological context comprised psychological variables (i.e., language anxiety, selfrelated beliefs, and goal orientations) that are affected by evaluations from significant others. Cultural orientation, emphasising the importance of significant others over students’ WTC was found to be relevant in all four WTC contexts. This interactive function of culture is comparable to the view of culture as a process, as proposed by Zusho and Pintrich (2003). Moreover, the use of a qualitative methodology in this study highlighted the explicit role of some variables on WTC (i.e., self-concept, selfefficacy, and goal orientations); a qualitative methodology has not been widely employed in previous WTC research. The findings from the present study were used to develop a model of WTC in a second language for Thai EFL learners in which the role of culture is emphasized. xiii The profound influence of culture on WTC implies that teachers need to be aware of students’ cultural backgrounds when designing classroom tasks and activities, so as to enhance WTC in English and promote English communication among students. This study contributes to theorizing of WTC in a second language from the Thai EFL perspective. Additionally, the study contributes to the investigation of WTC through qualitative research methods which have rarely been employed to date. The study also presents implications for designing teaching applications to maximize students’ WTC in EFL classrooms in Thailand.|
|Type of Work:||PhD Doctorate|
|Type of Publication:||Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D.|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
|Pattapong_Thesis_2013.pdf||3.55 MB||Adobe PDF|
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