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LEARNING HOW TO SPEAK: RETICENCE IN THE ESL CLASSROOM

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Author(s): SHANE DONALD

Journal: Annual Review of Education, Communication and Language Sciences
ISSN 1743-159X

Volume: 7;
Start page: 41;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: reticence | error correction | extended wait-time | changes to practice

ABSTRACT
Student reticence in the English as a second language classroom is a phenomenon that occurs in all contexts, regardless of setting. This paper examines the issue of reticence from the perspective of both teacher and learner, taking into consideration the problematic nature of the condition; there are no unambiguous causes of reticence (Allwright and Bailey, 1991; Chaudron, 1988; Tsui, 1996). Rather, a range of factors such as cultural beliefs regarding learning and the role of the teacher, fear of being misunderstood on the part of the learner and the attendant fear of losing face, as well as comprehensibility of input all play a role in fostering learner reticence in the ESL classroom. A point of difference is the attention given to learners' perspectives on what causes reticence in terms of the practices employed by teachers. Modification to practices such as error correction and extended wait-time are suggested that may allow the practitioner to promote oral communication on the part of learners in the classroom.
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