Willingness To Communicate In English In The Turkish Efl Classroom Context
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Recently, communicative aspect of language learning and teaching has gained importance in line with the needs of the 21st century. So, different factors which influence the communicative ability of language learners has caught the attention of the researchers in second language learning area. The construct of "willingness to communicate" is one of these individual variables which affects the communicative ability of learners and various aspects of this construct are widely investigated in different language learning contexts. However, the number of studies in Turkish EFL context is limited. Thus, the main goal of the study was to investigate the willingness to communicate of English as a foreign language (EFL) learners in Turkey. Also, the study examined relationships among learners' willingness to communicate, their motivation, ideal L2 self, communication confidence, learner beliefs, classroom environment, and their vocabulary knowledge. The study was conducted at School of Foreign Languages at Hacettepe University at the end of the Fall Semester of the 2016-2017 Academic Year. A mixed-method approach was adopted in the study. Quantitative data of the study were collected from 746 preparatory school students at Hacettepe University. After the quantitative data were collected and descriptive statistics were carried out for WTC scale, interviews with 32 students who had already completed the questionnaire were conducted. English proficieny levels of the participants varied from elementary (ELE) to advanced (ADV) and proficiency levels of the participants were fairly distributed. In the study, quantitative data were collected by means of a questionnaire, a scale and vocabulary test, whereas qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews. As a first step, descriptive analysis of the questionnaire was carried out through Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and vocabulary scores of students were calculated. Then,Structural Equation Model (SEM) analysis was conducted through the Linear Structural Relations (LISREL) statistical program. A number of qualitative data analysis techniques were utilized for systematic analysis of qualitative data. The results revealed that participants in this study were moderately willing to communicate in English in a classroom setting. It was also found that participants in the study had moderate level of speaking anxiety and their perceived communication competence level was slightly over moderate. Students also had positive perceptions of their ideal L2 self-images and they especially emphasized the pragmatic use of English (extrinsic motives) rather than intrinsic motives. These students highly appreciate their language classrooms and they did not support the traditional claims about English learning and classroom communication behaviors.The results of the vocabulary levels test showed that the mean scores of the total vocabulary knowledge and each section were below the average. According to the results of the structural model, the relationships of classroom environment with both WTC in English and communication confidence were fully mediated by the three variables in the model, namely motivation to learn English, ideal L2 self, and learner beliefs. Moreover, the relationships of learner beliefs and ideal self with WTC in English were fully mediated by communication confidence. When it comes to the relationship between motivation to learn English and WTC in English, communication confidence did not operate as a mediator given that the relationship between motivation to learn and WTC had a strong and statistically significant relationship. Finally, there was an indirect relationship between willingness to communicate and vocabulary size through communication confidence.