Perceptions of Willingness to Communicate Orally in English among Iranian PhD Students

Uranus Saadat, Jayakaran Mukundan


Willingness to Communicate (WTC) in second Language (L2) has received substantial consideration in modern language research and instruction. This study intends to investigate how oral L2 WTC of a group of EFL Iranian PhD students in a public university in Malaysia has changed during their stay in this country and what factors have resulted in their willingness to communicate. A qualitative case study method was implemented to obtain information from 8 participants through semi-structured interview as the main method, followed by focus group discussion and solicited journal diaries of the participants. The analyses of data derived from the first research question yielded five major themes: lack of exposure to L2 oral communication, cultural values, low L2 self-confidence, L2 extrinsic motivation, and enabling behaviors. Analysis of the second research question revealed six major themes as: raised awareness, cultural background, personality, exposure to L2 oral communication, extrinsic L2 motivation, and increased L2 self-confidence. The findings of the study concluded that rare exposure to English oral communication in Iran resulted in having little practice of English language in authentic settings that led to low L2 WTC among the respondents of the study before coming to Malaysia. Besides, the respondents suffered from lack of L2 WTC upon arrival to Malaysia. However, by understanding their deficiencies and importance of L2 oral communication, they gradually changed their attitude toward L2 oral communication and tried to improve it. This study also provides theoretical and practical implications for designing teaching methods to maximize language learners’ L2 WTC in the classroom that leads to their L2 oral communication improvement.


L2 Willingness to Communicate, Iranian Students, Perceptions, Malaysian Public University

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