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Volume 5 Number 4, Winter 2008, Pages 1-210   

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Towards a Pedagogical Framework for Participatory Learning in EAP

    John Trent

Participation of students in spoken activities within the classroom is an essential part of the aim of many English medium higher education institutions across Asia to enhance the English language proficiency of their undergraduate populations. However, while many researchers and teachers have discussed the alleged reticence of Asian learners, only limited attention has been given to understanding the process of how second language learners participate in oral activities within the undergraduate classroom. This paper draws on interviews, observational data and recordings of classroom interaction collected as part of a larger ethnographic study of Chinese-background undergraduates in an English medium of instruction university in Asia. The paper begins by exploring some of the assumptions about Chinese learners' participation in spoken activities and then reveals how the epistemological assumptions made within the English for academic purposes (EAP) classroom shaped one group of freshmen business and economics students' participation in spoken activities. A framework for promoting student participation in spoken activities is then outlined and implications for future research are discussed.

Keywords: classroom discourse, reticence, epistemology, English for Academic Purposes