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Volume 15 Number 3, Autumn 2018, Pages 566-899 PDF Download

Willingness to Communicate among Thai EFL Students: Does English Proficiency Matter?

    Kok Eng Tan & Ekkapon Phairot

Willingness to communicate (WTC) is a key concept in English language learning and communication. The literature has shown that WTC in a non-native English speaking environment is influenced by a multiplicity of factors, one of which is English proficiency. However, findings on its effect on WTC have been inconclusive. Therefore, this study investigated whether there was a statistically significant difference in WTC levels among students with different English proficiency levels and the ability of proficiency to predict WTC. The participants were 375 twelfth-grade Thai EFL students from two Southern Thailand government secondary schools. They responded to an adapted WTC scale which had been translated into the Thai language. The one-way ANOVA followed by a Tukey HSD test were used to analyse significant differences, while a simple linear regression assessed the ability of proficiency to predict WTC inside and outside the classroom. The results revealed that there were statistically significant differences in WTC between low, moderate and high proficiency students. It was also found that English proficiency could predict students' WTC inside and outside the English classroom, but it only accounted for a small percentage of the variance. Findings of the study have implications for English language teaching and WTC research.

Keywords: EFL, English proficiency, willingness to communicate