Influences on Japanese Students’ Willingness to Communicate Across Three Different Sized EFL Classes

| November 1, 2010
Influences on Japanese Students Willingness to Communicate Across Three Different Sized EFL Classes

Scott Charles Aubrey
University of Auckland
This study investigated factors which contributed to willingness to communicate (WTC) as it manifested from moment-to-moment in a Japanese EFL classroom for three different sized class types: a one-on-one classroom, a small group classroom, and a large group classroom. A classroom observation scheme, participant interviews (including stimulated recall) and a questionnaire were adopted as methods to examine factors which predict state-like WTC behaviour in each class type. Inter-group analysis between class types revealed that class size was a very strong factor affecting WTC. In addition, the approach of communicative language teaching (CLT) was found to increase WTC only if students had a positive attitude towards CLT. The attitudinal construct of international posture was also found to be a significant factor which motivated students to communicate more using English. A number of other factors were revealed in interviews: topic relevancy, group cohesiveness, anxiety, perception of teacher participation, and level of activity difficulty. However, the influence of each factor was found to vary in significance depending on class size. These findings, although tentative, contribute to an understanding of WTC behaviour in different class sizes and point to future research that can be done in this field. By considering implications on L2 pedagogy, suggestions are made on how teachers can improve their students WTC in larger classes.

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Category: Thesis