An Exploration of Causes of Saudi Students' Reluctance to Participate in the English Language Classroom

Arafat Hamouda


EFL learners’ reluctance to speak English in the classroom is a problem commonly found in a foreign language context. This study attempts to investigate the causes of the non- participation of students in EFL classrooms in a key university in Qassim, Saudi Arabia. One hundred, fifty-nine first-year non-English majors answered a 66-item questionnaire on reticence. The research findings indicate that a considerable number of students were reluctant to respond to the teacher and remained silent in oral English language classrooms due to many causes such as low English proficiency, fear of speaking in front of others, negative evaluation, shyness, lack of confidence and preparation, and fear of making mistakes. The study also indicated some strategies used by students to participate in the class such as rehearsing what they say and preparing the ideas and questions. Based on the findings, pedagogical implications are discussed with the aim of enhancing the teaching and learning of spoken English in foreign-language contexts.

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Copyright (c) 2012 Arafat Hamouda

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International Journal of English Language Education    E-mail:    Copyright © Macrothink Institute    ISSN 2325-0887

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