The best predictor of Iranian EFL learners’ willingness to speak (WTS) in class is whether they suffer from language learning anxiety, research finds.
The study also showed that students who were more willing to speak during lessons obtained higher scores on an Ielts speaking test.
Language anxiety, on the other hand, is negatively correlated with WTS: the higher the level of anxiety, the less likely students are to speak in front of their peers and the lower their test scores are likely to be.
This finding is in line with that of another story reported (click here).
Both studies also found no statistically significant difference between males and females, either in language anxiety or in WTS.
The Iranian study, conducted by Javad Riasati from the Islamic Azad University, also looked at learning motivation and self-perceived speaking ability, but none of them significantly affected the responsiveness of students during conversation lessons.
However, findings from the sample of 156 EFL learners also showed that WTS is influenced by a number of environmental factors, in particular task type and topic of discussion.
The two highest predictors of WTS were students’ interest in a chosen topic and the opportunity to work in a small group.
Both individual and environmental factors were measured using three questionnaires.
This enabled the author to outline a new method for encouraging WTS, which includes environmental factors such as teacher, class atmosphere and seating location. Previous studies have concentrated exclusively on learner personality traits.
⇒Willingness to speak English among foreign language learners: a causal model, Mohammad Javad Riasati – Islamic Azad University, Shiraz, Iran