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Silence behind the Veil: An Exploratory Investigation into the Reticence of Female Saudi Arabian Learners of English

journal contribution
posted on 2022-07-12, 09:04 authored by Shatha Talib Al‐Ahmadi, Jim King

This study explores the complexity of language learner silence in the female Saudi Arabian university English as a foreign language (EFL) classroom. To this end, a combination of two methodologies was used. First, a total of 296 students from 12 EFL classrooms were observed using the COPS structured observation scheme (King, 2013a, b) to measure the extent of silence and to identify relevant patterns of learner reticence. Second, to gain deeper insights into the participants' attitudes and feelings about silence in the EFL classroom, we used two complementary qualitative methods: semi-structured interviews and stimulated recall sessions. The results suggest the existence of three interrelated groups of factors associated learner silence in the study's research context —(i) factors related to prevailing EFL teaching styles in Saudi Arabia; (ii) socio-psychological factors; and (iii) underlying cultural factors associated with the value of silence and the role of women in Saudi society. The findings highlight the complexity of Saudi Arabian female students' silence and emphasize the need to view language learner silence as a multi-dimensional phenomenon.

History

Author affiliation

School of Arts, University of Leicester

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

TESOL Quarterly

Publisher

Wiley

issn

0039-8322

eissn

1545-7249

Acceptance date

2022-06-04

Copyright date

2022

Available date

2024-06-28

Language

en

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