Causes of Saudi Students’ Unwillingness to Communicate in the EFL Classrooms

Rasha Fawzi Kadi, Abeer Ahmed Madini

Abstract


It can be argued that the ultimate goal of ESL\EFL pedagogy is to enable students to have communicative competence. To achieve this, EFL teachers implement various techniques and strategies that aim to produce communicatively competent students. Nevertheless, one of the major challenges teachers encounter is that students are often passive, unresponsive and unwilling to speak in the classroom. Accordingly, the current study seeks to investigate the causes of Saudi students' unwillingness to communicate in the EFL classroom. A total of 136 Saudi female preparatory year students at the English Language Institute (ELI) in King Abdulaziz University (KAU) participated in this study. To gain a deeper understanding of the causes of this phenomenon, a mixed methods approach was adopted. Two data collection instruments were utilized in this study: an online questionnaire with 126 participants and semi-structured interviews with 10 participants. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data obtained from the questionnaire, and the qualitative data obtained from the interviews were analyzed thematically using NVivo. The findings of the study revealed that the unwillingness to communicate is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that can stem from multiple causes. The main causes reported by the participants were fear of making mistakes, low language proficiency, fear of negative evaluation, shyness, lack of self-confidence, inefficient school education, and teacher\classmates related factors. The study concluded by briefly stating some of the limitations, offering recommendations for future research, and providing valuable suggestions for English language practitioners and policymakers to enhance this communication obstacle


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijele.v7i1.14621

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