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Volume 8 Number 1, Spring 2011, Pages 1-162   


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The Causes of Learners' Reticence and Passivity in English Classrooms in Taiwan

    Fang-yu Chang


This present study tries to find out the reasons why Taiwanese learners of English language behave passively in the classroom participation. A classroom-centered multiple-case approach was employed. Data were collected from a variety of sources: video-recorded classroom observation, interviewing with teachers and students, and a questionnaire to the students. In the data elicitation process, in order to obtain detailed information from learners, when interviewing with the subject students, the researcher used learners' answers on the questionnaire as prompts to ask for more explanations. This study identifies that learners' reticence can be explained by a variety of reasons including keeping group harmony, the fear of losing face, the fear of showing off, the teachers' intolerance of silence, and the insufficient wait-time. Based on these findings, suggestions are made for language teachers and educators to encourage more verbal contributions from learners.

Keywords: reticence, passivity, learner's verbal participation