Teacher Support and Student Willingness to Communicate: The Chinese Conext

  • Cao, Yiqian Cao
Keywords: willingness to communicate, teacher support, teacher immediacy, cultural awareness, classroom interaction


This article reports on a study that explored EFL teachers’ awareness of cultural influence on students’ willingness to communicate (WTC) in the Chinese context and investigated the strategies employed by the teachers to accommodate students’ culturally specific WTC. Twelve teachers and twelve classes participated in this study in a Sino-British university in China. Data were collected through video-taped classroom interactions, interviews with teachers and stimulated-recall interviews with students. The results show that the teachers are aware of the influence of the deeply-rooted Chinese culture on students’ communication behavior. They are equally aware of the influence from the student’s prior English learning experience in high school, and their tendency to submit to teacher authority in this specific Chinese sociocultural context. The findings suggest that teachers can use culturally accommodating strategies to promote students’ willingness to communicate in class.