EFL Sınıflarında Öğrencilerin Akademik Katılımı: Sınıfta Katılım Şekli Olarak Sessizlik

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Year-Number: 2020-8.4
Yayımlanma Tarihi: 2020-12-14 09:30:15.0
Language : İngilizce
Konu : Uygulamalı Dilbilim
Number of pages: 92-100
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Sınıftaki sessizlik çoğunlukla öğrencilerin olumsuz ve istenmeyen bir davranışı olarak değerlendirilmektedir. Öğretmenler, öğrencilerinin sınıfta iletişim kurmalarını ve devam eden etkinliklere katılmasını ister çünkü öğrenci katılımı, öğrenme ve gelişimin en iyi belirtisi olarak kabul edilir. Aslında, son araştırmalar sessizlik ve öğrenme arasında bir ilişki olduğunu ve öğrencilerin sessizliği bir iletişim aracı olarak gördüğünü öne sürmektedir. Bu çalışma, bir grup EFL öğrencisinin sınıfta neden sessiz kaldığını ve sessizlik ile öğrenme arasındaki ilişkiye dair algılarını incelemeyi amaçlamaktadır. Bu amaçla, 117 lisans öğrencisine, öğrencilerin sınıfta katılım stillerine ilişkin çeşitli değişkenleri ele alan bir anket dağıtılmıştır. Bulgular incelendiğinde öğrencilerin sınıfta genelde sessiz olduğu ve katılım söz konusu olduğunda erkek ve kız öğrenciler arasında önemli farklılıkların olduğu ortaya çıkmıştır. Çalışmanın sonuçlarına göre sınıftaki sessizliğin gelebileceği anlamlar tam olarak anlaşıldığında öğretmenler farklı bakış açısına sahip olacak ve sınıfta katılımı sessizliği içerecek şekilde yeniden tanımlayabilecek.



Silence in classroom is mostly considered to be a negative and undesirable behavior of students. Teachers want their students to take part in the ongoing communication and activities in the classroom since student engagement is among the best predictors of learning and development. In fact, recent research has suggested a relationship between silence and learning, seeing it as a means of communication. The present study aims to investigate the perceptions of a group of EFL students about why they remain silent in the classroom and the relationship between silence and their learning. To this end, a questionnaire was distributed among 117 EFL undergraduate students which addressed several variables concerning the classroom engagement styles of students. Based on the interpretation of the results, it has been found that students are generally silent in the classroom and there is a significant difference between male and female students when it comes to participation. The study concludes that an understanding of the meanings of silence in the classroom may change a teacher’s perspective and help them redefine participation in classrooms to include silence.


  • Student engagement can be divided into two different categories: social engagement and academicengagement (Dunleavy and Milton, 2009). While social engagement refers to the actions of studentsout classroom such as student clubs, academic engagement indicates the behaviors of students in theclassroom, especially for this study. Student academic engagement is defined as comprising of allkinds of course-related actions or behaviors of students that they commit in the classroom. Andacademic engagement can be in two ways: silent way and oral way (Meyer, 2009). Academicengagement is generally accepted to be oral, and therefore, oral participation is considered to be agood indicator of the level of student academic engagement (Frymier and Houser, 2016). Even someinstructors may apply several incentives to support or increase oral participation in the EFLclassroom. Grading oral participation is one of these incentives because it is believed to increase thecommunication skills of students (MacKenzie, 2015). Nevertheless, grading participation may fail tosatisfy the expectations of instructors on oral participation because some students still remain silent (Juniati et al. (2018).

  • Because of the fact that silence is accepted as a problem in classrooms, studies tend to investigate thefactors behind or causing silence. In literature, the silence of students is generally considered to be anobstacle in front of teaching and learning (Min, 2016). This is why studies are generally focused on thereasons for student silence and solutions to these reasons such as Chang (2011), Juniati et al. (2018), Liand Liu (2011), and Min (2016). While there could be some reasons for silence linguistically, there arealso other problems covering lecturers` teaching style, classroom context, learning environment, etc. Astudy shows that students choose to be silent in the EFL classrooms because they feel tense andnervous while speaking, as well as having a lack of English competence (Baktash and Chalak, 2015). Inaddition to these reasons, Tatar (2005) has investigated the reasons for the silence of some Turkishgraduate students in the USA and found that some students may use silence strategically, forexample, to save face in front of their teacher or friends, to show their interest to others` thought and ideas, to express their respect to their teachers, and to convey their reactions to other comments.

  • Silence as a problem to be solved has been studied currently and authors like Zhouyuan (2016) andWang (2019) have tried to find some solutions and implications for both students and instructors. Yet,it is not the case always in line with a study supporting that communication or participation in theclassroom indicates more than oral contribution (Meyer, 2009). The silence of students should not beconsidered as a negative trait of students since silent students may be cognitively engaged and notshowing it orally (Hittleman, 1989). And, a study also indicates that some students are silent whileothers are more willing to participate orally and that this means students have different participationstyles and preferences in the classroom (Bista, 2012). But silence is not generally included inengagement or participation patterns of students, which makes it an area to be investigated deeply.Moreover, different engagement styles of students need further research as well as the genuinemeaning of the silence. The current study tried to fill the gap in reinterpreting the notoriety of silence in the EFL classroom in the relevant literature.

  • For the research, a quantitative approach was adopted to investigate the role of silence as anengagement style in the EFL classrooms. As Bryman (1988) claims, quantitative research makes itpossible for researchers to establish a causal relationship between concepts in question, to generalizethe findings to a larger population, and to treat individuals as the center of empirical studies. In thesame way, the quantitative research method enables researchers to reach a high number ofparticipants. Also, it is effective in saving time and gathering data in groups such as gender, class,language proficiency level, and education level. Similarly, Creswell (2017) also states that thequantitative approach is used to find or search for relationships between the variables of the relatedstudy. Lastly, Creswell (2019) adds that the quantitative approach has some advantages: it can reach ahuge number of participants, it enables the researcher to analyze the data productively, it investigatesrelationships and questions possible cause and effect relations, and it controls bias as well as itaddresses the numerical choices of people. These reasons were the driving force behind why it was adopted as a research approach for the current study.

  • To shed light on the aforementioned questions, a survey adapted from Meyer (2009) was utilized as adata collection tool. The questionnaire included 19 questions in addition to demographic data such asgender, GPA, and grade. These questions were provided under different scales: Global EngagementStyle Frequency, Global Engagement Style Preference, Ethics and Rights, and Learning and OralParticipation. The reliability of these scales was measured with Cronbach`s Alpha, and the valueswere, respectively: 0.888, 0.823, 0.604, and 0.846. Some of the survey items were reverse coded toincrease the reliability of the measurement. Demographic data was collected at the end of the surveydue to the fact that some participants may feel uncomfortable with some personal details such asgender, GPA, etc. The data gathered was analyzed on software called SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences).

  • Ethics should be taken into consideration while conducting research (Creswell, 2011). Ethical issueswere concerned during the application procedure of the questionnaire. The participants wereinformed that filling the questionnaire was voluntary and their personal information would not be revealed to any other third parties. In addition, their names were not asked in the survey.

  • Table 2 shows that the students do not enjoy participating orally in the classroom and hesitate whileproviding a comment. The reasons behind this hesitation of the students are another research subjectwhich should be investigated deeply since hesitation might be a problem in front of oral participationwhen it is necessary. Although students do not believe that they would appear unintelligent to neithertheir instructors nor classmates, they do remain silent. However, the fact that students may use silenceas a tool for saving face in front of their instructors or friends is a proved reason behind silence in the literature (Tatar, 2005).

  • Askari, N. and Moinzadeh, A. (2015). Iranian EFL faculty members` attitudes towards silent students, International journal of Research Studies in Education, 4(1), 55-64.

  • Bista, K. (2012). Silence in teaching and learning: perspectives of a Nepalese graduate students, College Teaching, 60(2), 76-82.

  • Bryman, A (1988). Quantity and quality in social research, ISBN: 0203410025, Routledge, New york.

  • Chang, F.(2011). The causes of learners` reticence and passivity in English classroom in Taiwan, The Journal of Asia TEFL, 8(1), 1-22.

  • Baktash, F. and Chalak, A. (2015). A micro ethnographic study on silence among Iranian universityEFL learners, International Journal of Biology, Pharmacy and Allied Sciences, 4(5), 2613-2622.Creswell, J. W. (2017). Araştırma deseni, Üçüncü Baskı, ISBN: 9786054757282, Eğiten Kitap, Ankara.

  • Creswell, J. W. (2019). Karma yöntem araştırmalarına giriş, İkinci Baskı, ISBN: 9786053184720, Pegem Akademi, Ankara.

  • Dunleavy, J. and Milton, P. (2009). What did you do in school today? Exploring the concept of studentengagement and its implications for teaching and learning in Canada, Canada Education Association, ISBN: 189666038X, Toronto.

  • Frymier, A. B. and Houser, M. (2016). The role of oral participation in student engagement, Communication Education, 65(1), 83-104.

  • Hittleman, D. R. (1989). Silent participants: Strategies for teaching non-oral students, Journal ofReading, Writing, and Learning Disabilities International: Overcoming Learning Difficulties, 5(4), 353-362.

  • Juniati, S. et al. (2018). Students` silence in the EFL speaking classroom, Amirullah Abduh, ChairilAnwar Korompot, Andi Anto Patak, and Muhammad Nur Ashar Asnur (Ed.), Proceedings ofThe 65th TEFLIN International Conference, Universitas Negeri Makassar, Indonesia 12-14 July2018: Sustainable Teacher Professional Development in English Language Education: Where Theory, Practice, and Policy Meet, Badan Penerbit Universitas, Makassar, 90-94.

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  • Meyer, K. R. (2009). Student classroom engagement: Rethinking participation grades and studentsilence, Unpublished Doctoral Thesis, Ohio University – the Scripps College of Communication.Quaye, S. and Harper, R. (2015). Student engagement in higher education: theoretical perspectives andpractical approaches for diverse populations, Second Edition, Routledge, ISBN: 9780415895101, London.

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