Reticent Students in the ESL Classrooms

Soo R. S., Goh H. S.

Abstract


Reticence has always been regarded as a problematic phenomenon among students in the ESL classrooms. Many instructors have expressed their frustrations to decode the reticent behaviour and work out suitable strategies to help students with such behaviour. Whenever such students do not engage in the classroom discourse, they are usually regarded as not having the desire to learn or lacking in cooperation. These explanations seem simplistic, bias and stereotypical. Based on a larger project on students’ reticent behaviour, this study investigated the extent in which tertiary students majoring in English experience reticence in the classrooms, and examined the underlying factors of reticence. Data were obtained from 78 students utilizing the Reticence Scale-12 (RS-12) which measures the level of reticence along six dimensions: anxiety, knowledge, timing, organization, skills and memory. The findings reveal that reticent level is high among the students, and their major problems lie in affective-control and delivery. 


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