Exploring the Factors Affecting Saudi University Students’ In-Class Willingness to Communicate in English
Keywords: communicative competence, EFL learners, L2 anxiety, L2 motivation, WTC in English, in-class WTC in English
This study explores the perceptions of Saudi university students about the factors that affect their in-class willingness to communicate (WTC) in English. The study is conducted using a qualitative research approach. The sample of the study comprises 30 EFL students enrolled in the Preparatory Year program at the Northern Border University (NBU) in Arar City, kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The data were collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews and then analyzed using thematic content analysis. The results revealed that there are 19 factors affecting the students’ in-class WTC in English which can be categorized into three main themes that are learner-related factors (e.g., self-perceived communication competence, fear of making mistakes, fear of being laughed at, feeling of shyness, lack of confidence, being afraid of public speaking, previous communication experience), affective factors (e.g., motivation, second language communicative anxiety, evaluation apprehension), and classroom environment factors (e.g., topic interest, topic familiarity, instructional methods, instructional materials, time, classroom apprehension, instructor, class size, classmates). The study concludes with some pedagogical implications for EFL practitioners about L2 learners’ in-class participation in the target language and provides some insights for improving the learning experience of English as a foreign language.