Classroom learning motivators: Breaking esl Chinese university students' passivity in class discussion

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Conference Proceeding

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Chinese university students enrolled in overseas coursework and English as Medium of Instruction courses domestically have a reputation for classroom passivity as recognized internationally. Thus, the case study was employed to explore Wenzhou Kean University (WKU) students' 'willingness to communicate' based on motivation and attitude toward the classroom learning milieu. Purposive and convenience sampling techniques were used in the semi-structured interview of 75 informants during the focus group discussion. Thematic content analysis method was used to analyze qualitative data collected. Grounded theory was used for the generation of theories. Findings showed that ESL Chinese university students are motivated because of knowledge acquisition and English spoken ability improvement when they engage in class discussion. A relaxing classroom climate, instructor's personality and professional competence in designing the learning experiences contribute in shaping favorable learning attitudes necessary for active student participation in class discussion. Most WKU students intend to pursue graduate studies abroad and considers English speaking ability important in their future and career goals. This belief persistently motivates them to engage in class discussion. Besides, thinking skills development, self-confidence enhancement, leadership skills, team working and adaptability to new environment development heighten the importance of class discussion.

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International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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