Reticence is a prominent and complex phenomenon
which occurs in foreign language classrooms and influences students’
oral passivity. The present study investigated the extent in which
students experience reticence in the EFL classrooms and explored the
underlying factors triggering reticence. The participants were 104
Iranian freshmen undergraduate male and female EFL students, who
enrolled in listening and speaking courses, all majoring in English
studying at Islamic Azad University Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch and
University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran. To collect the data, the Reticence
Scale-12 (RS-12) questionnaire which measures the level of reticence
consisting of six dimensions (anxiety, knowledge, timing,
organization, skills, and memory) was administered to the
participants. The statistical analyses showed that the reticent level
was high among the Iranian EFL undergraduate students, and their
major problems were feelings of anxiety and delivery skills.
Moreover, the results revealed that factors such as low English
proficiency, the teaching method, and lack of confidence contributed
to the students’ reticence in Iranian EFL classrooms. It can be
implied that language teachers’ awareness of learners’ reticence can
help them choose more appropriate activities and provide a friendly
environment enhancing hopefully more effective participation of EFL
learners. The findings can have implications for EFL teachers,
learners and policy makers.
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