Research on the importance of students’ silence in Second Language Classroom


校园英语·下旬 2019年4期

【Abstract】It has been recognized that many reasons related to characteristic of Chinese students cause a cultural gap in L2 classroom. The gap then resulted in the classroom silence among Chinese international students.

【Key words】Classroom silence; L2 Classroom


Since the rapid development of the process of globalization, there are more and more non-English-speaking students around the world to the English speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, the US and Canada. Recently, the amount of international students from Mainland China to the UK has increased steadily. In the second language acquisition area, much attention has been paid to the reticence and silence among Chinese students in the English-speaking educational contexts (e.g. Flowerdew & Miller, 1995;). It has been recognized that two main factors are related to the silence one is that language communication competence the other is cultural differences from the foreign western society. The former one refers to these students English proficiency for academic speaking and listening. Jackson (2002) cited that as ‘foreign language classroom anxiety or ‘second language anxiety (e.g. Foss & Reitzel, 1991). Although in the past years, few studies of classroom anxiety of Asian learners have been conducted. Foreign language classroom anxiety has gradually become an interest to second language educators for decades. Multidimensional is the psychological construct of foreign language anxiety. Confucian Heritage Culture has also been cited by language educators and researchers for explaining the Chinese students reticence and silence in the language classroom (Flowerdew & Miller, 1995). Students under such culture are supposed to be quiet and less likely to question and challenge their teachers (Chan, 1999). Also, students lacking of confidence in speaking is another barrier lies in the classroom participation. In the language course, Students may not knowing what it means or how to respond to the teachers and similar problems have been recognized especially when Chinese EFL learners are mixed with students from different cultural backgrounds.

Therefore, Its significant to investigate Chinese learners silence in EFL classroom and why will silence happen in EFL classroom by analyzing and comparing students feedback of the occurrence of silence. To do this, interviewing some students (including Chinese students and other foreign country learners) in the EFL classroom in the University to find out the possible reasons resulted in students classroom silence. Analyzing whether and how the differences in historical, political, linguistic and cultural backgrounds play a role in the English-speaking setting. After that, some ideas would came out and that would help increase Chinese students degree of participation in second language education and this study aims to foster an awareness of existing practices and conventions. Also, it will propose us a new perspective on treating EFL classroom silence.


[1]Chan, S. The Chinese learners——a question of style[J]. Education and Training,1999,41:294-304.

[2]Flowerdew, J. & Miller, L. On the notion of culture in L2 lectures [J]. TESOL Quarterly,1995,29:345-373.?

[3]Foss, K. A. & Reitzel, A. A relational model for managing second language anxiety, in: E[J]. Horwitz & D. J. Young (Eds) Language anxiety from theory and research to classroom implication (Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Prentice-Hall),1991:129-140.

[4]Jackson, J. Reticence in second language case discussions: anxiety and aspirations[J]. System,2002,30:65-84.


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