Classroom Interactions in the Target Language: Learners’ Perceptions, Willingness to Communicate, and Communication Behavior

Abstract

Research has provided evidence in support of the importance of the predictive effect of the willingness to communicate (WTC) on interactions in the classroom and shed light on the predictive sources of WTC. However, few studies have investigated learners’ perceptions of classroom interaction in the target language (L2 PCI), and few have considered how these perceptions relate to L2 WTC and actual classroom interaction. Hence, the present study aims at examining the causal relationships between L2 PCI, L2 WTC, and interaction behavior. Based on a critical review of literature, a structural equation model theorizing the causal links among the three factors was proposed for empirical testing. Three hundred and twenty-nine university students participated in the study. The results suggested that learners’ perceptions of group interaction and interaction with the teacher significantly predicted L2 WTC and classroom communication in the target language. It was further argued that the research findings had pronounced implications for both language pedagogy and research.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

Notes

  1. 1.

    The ten major sources are desire to communicate with a specific person, state communicative self-confidence, interpersonal motivation, intergroup motivation, L2 self-confidence, intergroup attitudes, social situation, communicative competence, intergroup climate, and personality (MacIntyre et al. 1998, p. 547).

  2. 2.

    f2 = R2/1 – R2 (f2 = 0.02 indicates small effect, f2 = 0.15, medium effect, and f2 = 0.35, large effect.).

References

  1. Alemi, M., & Pahmforoosh, R. (2013). EFL learners’ willingness to communicate: The interplay between language learning anxiety and language proficiency. International Journal of English Linguistics,11(2), 23–34.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bentler, P. M., & Wu, E. (2006). EQS for Windows V6.1. Los Angeles, CA: Multivariate Software.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bollen, K. A. (1987). Total, direct, and indirect effects in structural equation models. Sociological Methodology,17, 37–69. https://doi.org/10.2307/271028.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Brown, A. V. (2009). Students’ and teachers’ perceptions of effective foreign language teaching: A comparison of ideals. Modern Language Journal,93(1), 46–60.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Byrne, B. M. (2010). Structural equation modeling with AMOS: Basic concepts, applications, and programming (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin,112, 155–159. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.112.1.155.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Dörnyei, Z., & Kormos, J. (2000). The role of individual and social variables in oral task performance. Language Teaching Research,4(3), 275–300.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Dörnyei, Z. (2005). The psychology of language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition. Mahwa, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Ellis, R., Tanaka, Y., & Yamazaki, A. (1994). Classroom interaction, comprehension, and the acquisition of L2 word meanings. Language Learning,44(3), 449–491.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error: Algebra and statistics. Journal of Marketing Research,18(3), 382–388. https://doi.org/10.2307/3150980.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Fushino, K. (2010). Causal relationships between communication confidence, beliefs about group work, and willingness to communicate in foreign language group work. TESOL Quarterly: A Journal For Teachers Of English To Speakers Of Other Languages And Of Standard English As A Second Dialect,44(4), 700–724.

    Google Scholar 

  12. George, D., & Mallery, P. (2001). SPSS for windows: A simple guide and reference. Needham Heights, MA: Pearson Education Company.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Hair, J. F., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., & Anderson, R. E. (2010). Multivariate data analysis (7th ed.). London: Pearson.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Hashimoto, Y. (2002). Motivation and willingness to communicate as predictors of reported L2 use: The Japanese ESL context. Second Language Studies,20(2), 29–70.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Hawkey, R. (2006). Teacher and learner perceptions of language learning activity. ELT Journal,60(3), 242–252. https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccl004.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Hymes, D. (1971). Competence and performance in linguistic theory. In R. Huxley & E. Ingram (Eds.), Language acquisition: Models and methods (pp. 3–24). London: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Khajavy, G. H., Ghonsooly, B., Hosseini Fatemi, A., & Choi, C. W. (2016). Willingness to communicate in english: A microsystem model in the Iranian EFL classroom context. TESOL Q,50, 154–180. https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.204.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Kline, R. B. (2011). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Kuhl, P. K., Tsao, F. M., & Liu, H. M. (2003). Foreign-language experience in infancy: Effects of short-term exposure and social interaction on phonetic learning. PNAS,100(15), 9096–9101.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Kuo, I. (2011). Student perceptions of student interaction in a British EFL setting. ELT Journal: English Language Teaching Journal,65(3), 281–290. https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccq063.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Lantolf, J., & Thorn, S. (2006). Sociocultural theory and the genesis of second language development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Long, M. H. (1996). The role of the linguistic environment in second language acquisition. In W. C. Ritchie & T. K. Bhatia (Eds.), Handbook of second language acquisition (pp. 413–468). New York, NY: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Lu, Y. W. (2010). Interaction, motivation, and effectiveness (Unpublished MA paper). Taiwan: Ming Chuan University.

    Google Scholar 

  24. MacIntyre, P. D., Baker, S. C., Clément, R., & Conrod, S. (2001). Willingness to communicate, social support, and language-learning orientations of immersion students. Studies in Second Language Acquisition,23(3), 369–388.

    Google Scholar 

  25. MacIntyre, P. D., Dörnyei, Z., Clément, R., & Noels, K. A. (1998). Conceptualizing willingness to communicate in a L2: A situational model of L2 confidence and affiliation. Modern Language Journal,82(4), 545–562. https://doi.org/10.2307/330224.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Mackey, A. (1999). Input, interaction, and second language development: An empirical study of question formation in ESL. Studies in Second Language Acquisition,21(4), 557–587.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Mackey, A. (2006). Feedback, noticing and instructed second language learning. Applied Linguistics,27(3), 405–430.

    Google Scholar 

  28. McCroskey, J. C. (1992). Reliability and validity of the willingness to communicate scale. Communication Quarterly,40(1), 16–25.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Peacock, M. (1998). The links between learner beliefs, teacher beliefs, and EFL proficiency. Perspectives: Working Papers,10(1), 125–159.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Peng, J., & Woodrow, L. (2010). Willingness to communicate in english: A model in the Chinese EFL Classroom Context. Language Learning,60, 834–876. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9922.2010.00576.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Peng, J. (2014). Willingness to communicate in the Chinese EFL university classroom: An ecological perspective. Tonawanda, NY: Multilingual Matters.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Polio, C. G., & Gass, S. M. (1997). Replication and reporting: A commentary. Studies in Second Language Acquisition,19(4), 499–508.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Polio, C. G., & Gass, S. M. (1998). The role of interaction on native speaker comprehension of nonnative speaker speech. The Modern Language Journal,82(3), 308–319.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Sun, Y. F. (2008). Motivation to speak: Perception and attitude of non-Englishmajor students in Taiwan (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation). Indiana University.

  35. Swain, M. (1985). Communicative competence: Some roles of comprehensible input and comprehensible output in its development. In S. Gass & C. Madden (Eds.), Input in second language acquisition (pp. 235–256). Newbury House: Rowley, MA.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Swain, M. (2000). The output hypothesis and beyond: Mediating acquisition through collaborative dialogue. In J. Lantolf (Ed.), Social cultural theory and second language learning (pp. 97–114). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Wang, C. (2017). Two affective variables and language learners’ perceptions of classroom interaction. The Journal of Asia TEFL, 14(1), 16–31. https://doi.org/10.18823/asiatefl.2017.14.1.2.16.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Zhou, N. (2015). Oral participation in EFL classroom: Perspectives from the administrator, teachers and learners at a Chinese university. System,53, 35–46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2015.06.007.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hsing-Fu Cheng.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Appendices

Appendix 1

Questionnaire Scales

PCIE

  1. 1.

    The opportunity to interact with my English teacher is important for my English language learning.

  2. 2.

    The opportunity to interact with my English teacher is an effective way to enhance my English communication skills.

  3. 3.

    I like group discussions in English.

  4. 4.

    Group discussions are important for my English language learning.

  5. 5.

    Group discussions are an effective way to enhance my English communication skills.

  6. 6.

    I like dyadic interaction in English.

  7. 7.

    Dyadic interaction/communication in English is important for my English language learning.

  8. 8.

    Dyadic interaction/communication in English is an effective way to enhance my English communication skills.

  9. 9.

    Listening to others using English in classroom interactions is important for my English language learning.

  10. 10.

    Listening to others using English in classroom interactions is an effective way to enhance my English communication skills.

Note: PCIEtea, items 1, 2; PCIEgp, items 3, 4, 5; PCIEpr, items 6, 7, 8; PCIEob, items 9, 10.

WTCE

Presume you have completely free choice. Indicate the percentage of times you would choose to communicate in English in each type of situation in the classroom. Indicate in the space at the left what percent of the time you would choose to communicate. Please use a percentage from 0 to 100%.

_____ 1 Talk with an acquaintance in English.

_____ 2 Talk in a small group of strangers in English.

_____ 3 Talk in a large meeting of acquaintances in English.

_____ 4 Talk in a small group of acquaintances in English.

_____ 5 Talk in a large meeting of strangers in English.

RCBE

Please indicate how frequent you believe you will communicate in an English classroom in each of the situations described below. Indicate by putting a number from 1 to 8 in the blank that best describes the extent of your estimate of your frequency of communication. 1 refers to ‘Never’ and 8 for ‘Many Many Times’

_____ 1 Talk with an acquaintance in English.

_____ 2 Talk in a small group of strangers in English.

_____ 3 Talk in a large meeting of acquaintances in English.

_____ 4 Talk in a small group of acquaintances in English.

_____ 5 Talk in a small group of friends in English.

Appendix 2

See Fig. 5.

Fig. 5
figure5

The normal probability plots with 95% limits of the six scales

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Wang, C., Tseng, WT., Chen, YL. et al. Classroom Interactions in the Target Language: Learners’ Perceptions, Willingness to Communicate, and Communication Behavior. Asia-Pacific Edu Res 29, 393–404 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40299-019-00492-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • Classroom interaction
  • L2 willingness to communicate
  • L2 communication behavior
  • Learners’ perceptions
  • SEM